Victory in the East

By John France,

Book cover of Victory in the East: A Military History of the First Crusade

Book description

The success of the First Crusade, and its capture of Jerusalem in 1099, has been conventionally explained in terms of its ideological and political motivation. This book looks at the First Crusade primarily as a military campaign and asks why it was so successful. Modern writing about the crusade has…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Victory in the East as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The subtitle gives it away—this is my (and, I’m guessing, most other medieval military historians’) go-to book for that most famous of crusades. France masterfully combines a captivating narrative with abundant historical detail, keen tactical/operational/strategic analyses, and expert interpretation. Each chapter is a delight, but not to be missed is France’s discussion of medieval generalship, his close study of army sizes, and especially the three full chapters on the fighting in and around Antioch in 1097-1098—which still constitute the best scholarly treatment of the events there. Despite a rash of newer works on the First Crusade over the last three…

From John's list on crusading warfare.

This book brought home to me just how much the victory of the crusaders on the First Crusade was an astonishing and unlikely military feat. John France shows how it was achieved stage by bloody stage, discussing strategy, tactics, leadership, battles, and sieges, while also focusing on the central role played by careful logistics. Throughout I was struck by the incredible tenacity of the crusaders and the terrible deprivations and losses that they had to endure. An absorbing and authoritative account of a truly epic campaign of loss and victory.

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