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The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (Saqi Essentials)
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History To Repeat & Some To Not
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Top Customer Reviews
The first encounter between Muslim and Crusader is told from the perspective of Kilij Arslan, a seventeen-year-old sultan who would go on to become a legendary name in the struggle of the Islamic people. The "Franj", as the invaders were called, were pouring into his country by the tens of thousands. A skilled military leader, Arslan carefully withdrew his forces into a defensive position, only to be startled by his first glimpse of this "army": ragged, untrained peasants with strips of cloth pinned to their tunics in the shape of the cross. Reluctantly forced into battle, Arslan easily smashed the Crusader legion into bits, considering the matter settled. He had no way of knowing that what he had seen was only the rumor of war, not the war itself.
What may be most surprising to Western readers, such as myself, was that the majority of the Islamic struggle during the Crusader period, 1100-1300 AD, was not against Europeans, but against other Muslim leaders. The "empire" of Islam was sharply divided, and the question of rule was always at issue.Read more ›
Amin Maalouf specifically disavows any intention to write a "history book" in his preface. His background is in journalism, and sure enough, he shows evidence of a journalist's ear and eye for the great story... for the gripping and/or galvanizing detail... for the telling gesture that provides the key to a character's persona. Furthermore, he makes it plain that he is not out to write a balanced account, any more than Western authors have historically been interested in providing balanced accounts of the Crusades. This really is presented from the Arab point of view... That said, it might be worth balancing your reading of this book with a concurrent reading of a western account, or you might get a little lost. It isn't easy to read a long book with so few familiar points of reference. Admit it -- unless you are a major history buff, you probably don't know much about this period even from the Western point of view! I think especially as Americans, there is a tendency to feel that this period in history is not very relevant to our country's history. After all, the events of this book took place long before nationalism, before (clearly) freedom of religion or of speech, mostly even before the Magna Carta was a glimmer in anyone's eye.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I gave this book a look because I have read a lot about the Crusades but always from a Western perspective. The topic was intriguing, and the book didn't disappoint. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Tyler Langdon
this book does a very good job of covering the historical events of th Crusades, and indeed it is focused on th Arab side of that history. and as history it is well written. Read morePublished 1 month ago by spinnerknitter
Good book. Read God's Battalions before this book but wanted to know more from the perspective of the other half. It was an extremely easy and entertaining read. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Christian Martinez
This book fulfills its promise of an alternative perspective on the crusades based on the surviving Eastern primary source material. Read morePublished 2 months ago by J
Amin Maalouf tells us of the first Crusade when the Franks were initially resisted by oriental Arabs, Muslims, Jews and Christians. Read morePublished 2 months ago by William Haddad
Took me a while to really get into this book, but once I did, it was fascinating. I suppose I should read the story from the European's point of view, but what is the point? Read morePublished 4 months ago by paul m. fitzpatrick jr.