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Chronicles of the Crusades (Penguin Classics) Paperback – March 31, 2009

4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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About the Author

Dr. Caroline Smith is a teacher, permaculturist and organic farmer who was born in England and lived for some years in South Africa. Caroline is passionate about local food production and operates an organic box scheme with her husband Aidan in the Dandenong Ranges just outside Melbourne. Caroline has worked as an agricultural scientist, secondary teacher and teacher educator, and currently teaches at the National Centre for Sustainability, Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. She is also a member of the editorial committee of "EarthSong" journal. Caroline has published widely in the area of sustainability education, and her PhD thesis explored personal empowerment through learning permaculture. She has two grown-up children, a cat and a horse.

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; 1 edition (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140449981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449983
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Glenn McDorman on January 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
These two accounts are highly readable, and it is wonderful to have them packaged together like this. Geoffrey's chronicle of the 4th Crusade (the one that sacked Constantinople) is an awesome perspective on an often-maligned event. Jean's account of the 7th Crusade and the life of St. Louis is even better. With Jean we catch a rare glimpse of a sensitive warrior fully capable of expressing a wide range of moods and emotions. Both chronicles are well worth reading and will provide the historian and the non-historian alike with hours of enjoyment.
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Format: Paperback
The two accounts in _Chronicles of the Crusades_ provide readers with fascinating accounts of the 4th and 7th crusades. Villehardoun's observations of the sack of Constantinople leave some questions regarding whether it was a conspiracy to destroy the city or not; ultimately it is up to the reader to decide... It does, however, provide a window into 12th century warfare and politics.

Joinville's chronicle of the 7th crusade into the Holy Land was similarly fascinating, providing more information about a European's impressions of the Near East and Christian-Islamic conflict than Villehardoun. I much preferred Joinville for this reason. Together, both accounts provide a well-rounded history of the time and place - a tremendously interesting read for professional and armchair historians alike.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent read about the 4th Crusade, it is well worth reading for anyone interested in this part of our history. I learned things I had really never thought about, and I'm a young 80 years old. I Purchased this through my Kindle which I am seldom without.
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By A Customer on April 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
These are both excellent accounts of the crusades. Villehardouin proves insightful in what he does not say. A small army of crusaders faces unbelievable odds in Constantinople and yet somehow they conquer and hold this territory. It brings up the question of whether the conquest was an accident or a conspiracy, and a reader can answer that question through careful reading. There are other books wholly committed to this argument of conspiracy vs. accident.
Joinville gives an equally appreciable account of a crusade, this time a failed attempt in Egypt by Saint Louis. Joinville is an author that gives a huge amount of information. The integrity of Louis is apparent as well as the mistakes made by the crusaders (Joinville rarely places direct blame of any failure on Louis, noting instead Louis's brother and his failures.)
This is a well introduced book and is not difficult to read in my opinion.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Unlike so many histories,this book tells us what were the impressions,views,and experiences of those who were actually there. The best history of the crusaders' experiences I have read. The author's notes helped give those narratives context.
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Format: Paperback
This book includes two chronicles about the crusades translated by Margaret Shaw. Geoffrey of Villehardouin's chronicle The Conquest of Constantinople covers the period of 1199 to 1207 from the planning on the "fourth crusade" to death of Boniface the Marquis de Montferrat. Jean of Joinville's chronicle Life of Saint Louis is about King Louis IX of France. It tells the tale of how King Louis ascended to the throne and Jean of Joinville's firsthand account of their adventures during the seventh crusade. The style and content of the chronicles is very different.

Villehardouin at the beginning of The Conquest of Constantinople was the Marshall of Champagne under Thibault the Count of Champagne who took the cross initiating the Fourth Crusade along with a couple of his cousins Louis the Count of Blois and Baldwin (Baudouin) Count of Flanders and Hainault. Villehardouin was one of the principal players in the "fourth crusade" often representing the crusaders in negotiations (including negotiating transport of the crusaders with the Venetians) and participated in numerous battles. He was definitely in a position to provide a complete history of the crusade and its aftermath. Indeed Villehardouin's account often is referenced and cited by modern historians.

Yet in reading Villehardouin's chronicle I often found that he was distorting the politics and affixing blame on others to deflect the immorality of his actions and the other leaders of the crusaders. His chronicle often protects the characters of Boniface the Marquis de Montferrat and Enrico Dandolo the Doge of Venice. The Marquis at the end of Villehardouin's chronicle offers a grant of land to Villehardouin and it was Villehardouin who recommended the Marquis to lead the crusade after Thibault's death.
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Format: Paperback
Originally I skimmed through this book almost a decade ago in preparation for my Senior History Oral Exam and only focused on the overall theme questions listed in my study guide at the time. However this past week while actually reading Chronicles of the Crusades and found thanks to the excellent translation, a easy read and very informative on its subject matters. Of the two chroniclers, I found Jean de Joinville the easier to read because of his style of writing. Most likely the spread and evolution of romantic literature influenced Joinville's style of being more down-to-earth and slightly easier to read when compared to Geoffrey of Villehardouin, who was more matter-of-fact and somewhat "stiff." However, just because Geoffrey's style is a little "stiffer" doesn't mean it's not easy to read nor informative about the establish and early years of the Latin Empire of Constantinople. If you're interested about first-hand accounts of the Crusades, specifically the 4th and 7th, this is the book for you.
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