A vivid and original history of the Crusades - from the middle ages to the present day.
Jonathan Phillips is Professor of Crusading History at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of The Second Crusade- Extending the Frontiers of Christianity (Yale University Press, 2007); The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople (Jonathan Cape, 2004, also translated into Spanish, Russian, Greek and Japanese and nominated for the Hessell-Tiltman PEN Literary Prize); The Crusades, 1095-1197 (Longman, 2002); Defenders of the Holy Land, 1119-1187 (Oxford University Press, 1996) and the co-editor of three academic essay collections on the Crusades. Phillips is the co-editor of the academic journal Crusades and writes regularly for BBC History and History Today. He has made numerous radio and television appearances, including- Boris Johnson and the Dream of Rome (BBC2); The Crusades (with Rageh Omaar) in the Christianity series on Channel 4, and The Crescent and the Cross (History Channel).
University of London historian and History Channel contributor Phillips (The Second Crusade) superbly condenses the four centuries of the Crusades into a single, easily accessible volume. Islamic as well as Western sources are utilized to demonstrate the similarities between jihad and crusading. The narrative weaves a tragic tapestry, beginning with the bloodily successful First Crusade, through the establishment of the Crusader states, to the failure of subsequent Crusades, the victories of the Muslim "counter-Crusade," and the continuing legacy of religious and cultural hatred that permeates the Holy Land. Individuals such as the "charismatic" Queen Melisende of Jerusalem; the "Leper King," Baldwin IV; the Muslim warriors Nur ad-Din and Saladin; England's Richard the Lionheart; and many others play major and minor roles in the creation of a past that still lives today. Episodes including the "breathtaking naivete" of the Children's Crusade and the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula are effectively described. Concluding chapters examine the impact of the Crusades since the 15th century. Regrettably, little attention is given to the crusading spirit resurrected by the 1571 Battle of Lepanto. But this is an outstanding summary of centuries of religious strife, the effects of which are with us still. 8 pages of b&w photos, 5 maps. (Mar.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Written for general rather than academic readers, this work is centered more on character than on chronology. Though Phillips (Crusading history, Royal Holloway, Univ. of London) follows the overall time line of the Crusades, his narrative often pauses to provide extensive sketches of figures and events not part of most popular histories of the Crusades. Phillips also continues past the ostensible "end" of the Crusading era in 1291, exploring some of the later Christian-Muslim battles that occurred outside the Middle East and analyzing how the cultural idea of Crusading developed as both action and metaphor from the medieval era to the modern day. Though somewhat brief considering the vast amount of history it covers, this work succeeds in providing a vivid and engaging narrative for a general audience while demonstrating excellent scholarship and a balanced presentation of Christian and Muslim viewpoints.-KM Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
"Holy Warriors is not only very readable. Its skilful and detailed use of source material serves as a showcase of what is being done in this, the most intensively studied area of medieval historiography" -- Robert Irwin * Literary Review * "Elegant storytelling... Phillips delivers an excellent, compelling, flamboyant and refreshing history of the crusades and wonderful character sketches" -- Simon Sebag Montefiore * Financial Times * "Totally absorbing and magnificent history" * Mail on Sunday, Boris Johnson * "[An] engaging and sprightly book... Each chapter is telegenic, tele-visual even. We get vivid re-creations of places, personalities and events" -- CJ Tyerman * Times Literary Supplement * "He [Phillips] has a real gift for highlighting the picturesque and for bringing the past alive." "With its crisp management, accessible style and deft characterisation, this book stakes a strong claim to be the most appealing narrative account of the Crusades for a general audience." * BBC History Magazine *