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Jones wrote the scripts for each 50-minute presentation in the four volumes of The Crusades, which originally aired on The History Channel. His narration is not without an occasional sardonic air, almost of the roll-your-eyes type, which not only lends a skeptical perspective to a frequently misunderstood era in Western Europe, but also quite frequently editorializes the events that occurred between Pope Urban II's call for liberation of Jerusalem from the "infidels" of Islam and the embarrassing moment when officers of the fourth Crusade are conned out of its divine calling by the Venetians. While Jones's reconnaissance is sometimes oversimplified by casually not mentioning several Crusade sorties after the fourth (there were several, but by the 13th century they had become redolent of ennui and misguided commercial adventure), the technical ingenuity of the production and Jones's use of anecdote backed by academicians and preserved eyewitness accounts cinches a viewer's interest. Medieval "siege machines" are re-created to test their mettle against legends of famous battles, Jones dons real 11th- and 12th-century armor to demonstrate the outlandish appearance of Crusaders in the lands of Mohammed, mosaics come to life with body-painted characters of medieval fable, and computer graphics are deployed to re-create the interior of the great cathedral at Cluny.
All these elements are contrasted with intermezzos of contemporary European and Middle Eastern society and a moving original soundtrack to make The Crusades a thoroughly engaging documentary of the bloodletting of medieval Christian conquests and the ultimate result of Islamic fanaticism born from its crimson tide. In Jones's own words at the end of Volume IV: "It took 200 years for the Crusaders to create [this] Muslim fanaticism. It was the exact imitation of Christian intolerance." To understand the effects of the Crusades is to understand much of today's religious geography, and Mr. Jones and company can fairly lay claim to having helped set the record straight. --Jamie Friddle
I got the dvd on time and in good shape and it works fine. I love the dvd because terry jones is a genius who presents history as it can be understood by all and with a tongue in... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Margaret Doheny
This presentation by Terry Jones is from 2001 so it is newer than what I learned in school yet still missing a decade or so of anything found sense then. Read morePublished 15 months ago by bernie
Very enjoyable and informative. Leaves you wanting more.
Love the shot of T. Jones walking on the beach in a speedo and talking about the importance of washerwomen with mock... Read more
Lacks a comprehensive perspective and is way too long. You don't leave the show feeling you quite understand what happened at a big picture level.Published 18 months ago by Emanuel Perdis
If you like history and humor then this is an ok series to watch. Not to heavy on facts and dates but gives you a basic understanding what the holy crusades were about. Read morePublished 24 months ago by C. Stalmer
Terry Jones of Monty Python may be a comedian but he is hardly an historian. His presentation is manipulative, omits several key factors, and does a disservice to Western... Read morePublished on April 29, 2013 by Mark
My wife who is from England turned me on to these and they are fantastic, very informative, educational and entertaining. Buy them all we did and couldn't be happier....Published on April 22, 2013 by compton
It is funny, very well researched and beautifully written. To look back at the Crusades which cost a lot of lives, one often has to take a very impersonal, even cynical view of the... Read morePublished on September 30, 2012 by iankur
I became interested in the Crusades and wanted to learn about them without reading a book. So I looked into the History Channel's offerings. Read morePublished on August 11, 2012 by James Gerofsky