Why this book?
As a historian, I pick books outside my area to read for pleasure, so can enjoy them without feeling like I need to take notes for my next academic project. I picked up Madden’s book in an airport bookstore before a long coast-to-coast flight. By the time we landed, I had finished this compelling story. Put aside what you think you know about the Crusades from Hollywood, novels, and school; this is the real story, of religious devotion, climactic battles, kings in conflict, and changing the world. The clash of Christianity and Islam during the Middle Ages made Europe and the Middle East, in ways that Madden helps us understand.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
What is the relationship between the medieval crusades and the problems of the modern Middle East? Were the crusades the Christian equivalent of Muslim jihad? In this sweeping yet crisp history, Thomas F. Madden offers a brilliant and compelling narrative of the crusades and their contemporary relevance. Placing all of the major crusades within their medieval social, economic, religious, and intellectual environments, Madden explores the uniquely medieval world that led untold thousands to leave their homes, families, and friends to march in Christ's name to distant lands. From Palestine and Europe's farthest reaches, each crusade is recounted in a clear,…