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A History of the Crusades: Volume II The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East, 1100-1187 Paperback – December 25, 1987

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Editorial Reviews


'I do not know when, in recent years, I have read a book which so enlarged my knowledge of and interest in a period of history ... It sets before us one of the formidable moral and romantic epics of our time, with scholarship and imagination worthy of it.' The Times Literary Supplement

'The three volumes ring with battle trumpets and drums, glitter with the splendor of noble parades, and are replete with true stories of bravery and cowardliness, rash daring and wily intrigue ... To the specialist (Runicman) offers a wealth of new interpretations ... To the layman, he tenders romance and suspense at nearly every page.' The Yale Review

' ... the best scholarly survey of the subject by a single author. It will always remain the first considerable work of its kind in the English language.' The English Historical Review

'One of the grand historical monuments of the twentieth century ... Written with imagination and based on immense scholarship, (the volumes) are filled with true stories of rash daring and wily intrigue as the flower of Western knighthood assaults the infidel East for God, gold and glory.' Washington Post Book World

Book Description

Sir Steven Runciman's, A History of the Crusades (volume 2), describes the Frankish states of Outremer from the accession of King Baldwin I to the re-conquest of Jerusalem by Saladin. This is one of the great classics of English historical writing and a great survey of the time.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 538 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (December 25, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521347718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521347716
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Juan Alberto Diaz Wiechers on April 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have read this Cambridge edition of Sir Steven Runciman's great three-volume "History of the Crusades". I can only say that the narrative is excelent, and that in my opinion it is difficult to find another book that describes so well, and in both detailed and concise ways, the two centuries of history of the Frankish states in Syria. The first volume comprises the whole first Crusade, from its origins to the establishment of the four Latin states: the Principality of Antioch, the counties of Edessa and Tripoli, and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The second volume tells the history of those princedoms for almost a century, including the fall of Edessa, until the great defeat of the first Kingdom of Jerusalem, that for a long time had been an established Christian power in Palestine, extending well beyond the Jordan river. The third volume speaks of the last century of Outremer, reduced only to coast defenses, no longer powerful, and always in peril, until the fall of (St. John of) Accre in 1291.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. C. Schmults on July 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
When I was young, the Crusades were portrayed as brief incursions -- not much more than prolonged raids. It was not until I read Runciman's 3 volume history that the duration of the kingdoms established by the crusades became clear. Runciman was a gifted historian -- combining scholarship with story telling -- and this is arguably his finest work. While I have heard opinions that these books are "dated" -- and this is probably true -- I think the average reader looking to get a compelling overview of the crusades could not any better than this and the 2 volumes that follow.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By James Paris on October 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Years ago, I had purchased this volume and Volume III in the old Harper Colophon paperback edition. I had to wait over 20 years before Volume I came back into print -- and then in one glorious summer I read all three volumes. (Just recently, I sprang for the deluxe Folio Society hardbound edition: I mean to re-read it some day.)
If you have any interest in the Middle Ages, or even in the pre-history of today's Middle East crises, this series is your starting point. The crusades bring together the best and worst of men, from Godfrey of Bouillon and Saladin on one hand, to the bickering kinglets of the later Crusades on the other.
The story of the Crusader Kingdoms is the subject of this volume. It is a long story of greed and attrition, leading to their extinction as the Saracens' power waxed and the Western monarchies' political will and religious zeal waned. The rise of nationalism in Western Europe sounded the death knell to the centuries'-long quest to regain the Holy Land.
Curiously, it was the Saracens who were tolerant to their subject peoples, and the Crusader Kingdoms who were not. The Jews and Christians had a much better time of it under Turkish rule than under the voracious princelings of the Kindgoms of Armenia, Edessa, Jerusalem, and so on. We have yet to learn our lessons from this conflict -- and we are still paying the price.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By W. Young on January 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
This second volume of Steven Runciman's three-volume history of the crusades is a masterful piece of scholarship and historiography. If all historians read Runciman's History of the Crusades and learned of his style, there would be fewer complaints from readers that histories are dry, crusty stories.
Indeed, Runciman artfully weaves several elements such as the rise and fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the zenith of Byzantium and the ascension of the Turkish power in the persons of Zenghi, Nur ed-din and Saladin powerful, gripping narrative that brings the rogues and heroes of the crusades to life. Runciman skillfully explains the court intrigues behind the scenes in the crusader kingdom and fiefdoms, the delicate balance of power between Byzantium and the Frankish east and the Turks and the rivalry between Turkish clans and leaders.
This second novel concerns the rise and fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, its place in the three-volume set is critical in that Runciman articulates a few of his his theories concerning the lessons learned from the crusades, and they are difficult to refute. Runciman of particular relevance to contemporary foreign policy in that region, Runciman notices that the politically fractious Turks discovered a unifying force in the presence of the alien Franks, which became a focal point in the development of a pan-Turkish/Muslin identity and a nexus for action. Also, Runciman argues that first-generation crusaders acclimated to local political and cultural customs and could have co-existed to some degree with the Turks and Muslims had it not been for the brash crusaders that arrived after the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and viewed the situation in more stark, black-and-white terms.
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