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Arab Historians of the Crusades (Islamic World series) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0520052246 ISBN-10: 0520052242

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Frequently Bought Together

Arab Historians of the Crusades (Islamic World series) + Chronicles of the Crusades (Penguin Classics) + The First Crusade: "The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres" and Other Source Materials (The Middle Ages Series)
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Product Details

  • Series: Islamic World
  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (June 18, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520052242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520052246
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Professor Gabrieli has been completely successful in presenting a precise, vivid and impartial picture of these two centuries of relations between the Arabic-speaking world of the Middle East and the Christian world of Europe' - Asian Affairs --This text refers to the Digital edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, Italian, Arabic (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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And the snarky footnotes can be delicious!
Tim Bray
Same story in the Balkans and Anatolia with the Seljuk and Ottoman Turk invasions of those Christian lands.
C. Silva
An essential accompliment to anyone's book collection who is intersted in crusader history.
Sebastian Lopez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on March 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book for a class on the Crusades. This is an extremely informative book that provides a different viewpoint on the European invasions of Palestine and Egypt from 1098-1303. Gabrieli includes excerpts from several Islamic historians who wrote copiously on this topic, and the information they provide gives the reader a different view of the fight for the Holy Land.
This book reads quite fast, as the excerpts for the most part are very short. The best section of the book has to be the detailed information on Saladin, the Arab general and sultan who dealt the Christians a punishing blow at Hittin in 1187, and who eventually retook Jerusalem. Lots of stories provide an interesting character study of this Islamic hero. We read about his military heroism, his religious piety, his sense of justice and honor, and his relationship with the Christians. There is the interesting story of how Saladin helped a Christian woman recover her child. The child was seized and was almost sold into slavery until Saladin intervened on her behalf and returned the child to its mother. The other sections of the book deal with the initial campaigns of the Christians during the First Crusade, such as the taking of Antioch and the legend of the Holy Lance, a ridiculous story that the Arab historians rightly perceive as total bunk. The last part of the book deals with the Egyptian campaigns of Louis IX and the eventual collapse of the Christian occupation in Palestine.
Most of these writings are pretty interesting, but there are a few drawbacks. Many of these accounts are propaganda meant to paint the Muslims in the best possible light. Also, this would be a useless review unless I mentioned the amazingly horrible writings of Imad ad-Din, who served as a close official to Saladin.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Sebastian Lopez on August 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
Gabrieli must be congratulated on condensing the mass of Islamic sorce material for the covered period, into one condense book that fairly reflects the Islamic view on events all well known to the armchair historian from the Christian chronicles.

Not only is it a great work of selection, editing and translation, but it is an enthralling read throughout. Always intersting, sometimes shocking and humourous.

An essential accompliment to anyone's book collection who is intersted in crusader history.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dominick Bruno Jr. on July 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
As other reviewers have noted, this book is an engrossing, highly informative text, that is (generally) quite an easy read. It can be gory and propagandistic at times, as some have noted. Overall, it's a very good digest of Muslim narratives of several key events.

The main drawback is that I would not consider this a stand-alone book, particularly on a lot of the convoluted political arrangements - I'd suggest Wasserman's "Templars & the Assassins: The Militia of Heaven" for that - and I really don't think one can get the full understanding of the Muslim mentality in fighting the Crusaders from it. For that I'd suggest al-Sulami's "Way of Sufi Chivalry" (for those on a budget) or preferably Sabzawari's "Royal Book of Spiritual Chivalry" (for those who aren't) to get into the mindset of the Muslim warriors. For while "Arab Historians" includes a lot personal commentary from the authors, these last two books were written as guides for the emirs and warriors, and once reading them one gets the feeling that "Arab Historians" was written by some military public relations officer.

Still a highly recommended, enjoyable read, though.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tim Bray on March 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
Once you've read the popular histories of the Crusades, and your appetite for the original source materials has been whetted by the excerpts in Payne, Runciman, etc., you will want this book. It's THE source reader for the Arab perspectives, better in many ways than The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (Maalouf). You get the flavor of the culture as well as their particular slant on the events and personalities. And the snarky footnotes can be delicious!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
A very good source, especially for those who have read about the Crusades and understand the context of the writings. This book is not an overview of the crusades or of a single crusade; it is selections from the writings of Arabic historians placed in a chronological order. Easy to read, detailed and engrossing; both useful and enjoyable.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gogol on June 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book as a number of other reviewers have pointed out is a collection of Muslim (The author presents them as Arabs though thats another matter) accounts of the Crusades. While there have been quite a number of other similar books written in recent yeas (Maalouf "The crusades through Arab eyes") For example which is written largely based upon ibn Athir's "Complete history" There is little (Especially at an affordable price) Translated into English from the original historians themselves.

The book itself is divided into chapters or rather chunks of translation from a number of contemporary Muslim historians who wrote about significant events of the crusades. The conquest of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, the rise of Saladin, the Seljuks of Anatolia, the battles in Palestine, the re-capture of Jerusalem and the rise of the Mamluks which resulted in the final expulsion of the Crusaders from the holy land. The translator uses not only ibn Athir but also ibn Munqidh (Also translated by Philip Hitti amongst others)

One problem with this method of translation is that in parts it can become quite confusing. For example, the translator will translate accounts of the conquest of Jerusalem by one author, move onto another event then translate something by another author returning back to the conquest of Jerusalem. In another words, the book appears quite disjointed and doesn't really have much of a flow to it. You will often find yourself reading the same event written by a different historian which isn't really a problem if you give all the accounts in the same place but the translator tends to just translate one large chunk of a book at a time without any real effort to make it chronological.
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