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The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades (Oxford Illustrated Histories) Paperback – May 24, 2001


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The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades (Oxford Illustrated Histories) + The New Concise History of the Crusades (Critical Issues in World and International History) + The Crusades: A Reader (Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures)
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Illustrated Histories
  • Paperback: 470 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (May 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192854283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192854285
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.3 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In 1095 Pope Urban II granted absolutions to whomever would reclaim the Holy Land for Christendom. With that assurance began two centuries of Crusades, and the story, in contemporary chronicles, artwork, and castellated ruins, is well treated in this interpretation of the movement to take up the cross. The subject has stirred from historiographical dormancy, says editor Riley-Smith, who ably introduces the definitional questions--What is a Crusade? Who became a Crusader?--and then turns the chapters over to a dozen specialists. They analyze in detail the complex religious, economic, and military aspects, emphasizing the immediate instigation of one Crusade or another--often a Muslim counter-Crusade like Saladin's recapture of Jerusalem in 1187--while reiterating the profound piety and concern for salvation on which the whole process rested. It seems an odd combination of compassion and conquest, aptly expressed in knightly orders such as Hospitallers or the Teutonic Order, so elusive to the modern sensibility. These historians, though, dissolve that psychological barrier, interpreting what impelled the pilgrims, the Muslim reaction, and the political course of holy conflict up through the fall of the last Crusader polity--Malta--in 1798. Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review


"Fascinating...a comprehensive history of the wars."--History Today


"In 1095, Pope Urban II granted absolutions to whomever would reclaim the Holy Land for Christendom. With that assurance began two centuries of Crusades, and the story...is well treated in this interpretation of the movement to take up the cross."--Booklist


"In a series of finely crafted and admirably succinct essays, the contributors unravel a number of important medieval political and religious themes. This comprehensive approach adds a great deal to the book's interest and presents some of the best insights of modern Crusading scholarship....Excellent."--Tablet


"The great merit of Professor Riley-Smith's book is to follow the story down to the present day."--Church Times


"In 1095 Pope Urban II granted absolutions to whomever would reclaim the Holy Land for Christendom. With that assurance began two centuries of Crusades, and the story, in contemporary chronicles, artwork, and castellated ruins, is well treated in this interpretation of the movement to take up the cross."--Booklist



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Customer Reviews

The illustrations are very good and abundant.
Charles Poncet
A very good book in this region is "Arab Historians of the Crusades" (The Islamic World Series) by Francesco Gabrieli.
Chivu Ion
Definitely not worth buying for the general public as one of the first readings.
John Boomer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Charles Poncet on March 3, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
« The Oxford History of� » could suggest some grey bearded professors laboriously writing history nobody but them would understand, but far from it, Jonathan Riley-Smith has managed to edit the erudite contributions to this book into a pleasant and interesting format. Some pages, very few actually, are a little heavy going but most chapters are fascinating. They assume a reasonably smart reader � nobody buys a history of the Crusades if he or she is exclusively into hard rock or soccer � but for the average person with an interest in history and a probably bad recollection of the Crusades as they were taught to teenagers some decades ago, this a perfect book. It requires no more than a general idea of the who�s who at the time and even that is made very clear chapter after chapter. I particularly enjoyed the sections describing the Crusades from the point of view of the people who were at the receiving end. Yet the book is balanced and does not fall into the stereotype of picturing the crusaders as greedy bad guys, turned loose on the local populace by manipulative popes and clerics promising them that past and future sins would be forgiven, although there was quite a bit of that. The chapters on the military orders are great and the final chapter describes the later perception of the Crusades throughout history with plenty of surprises: who knows that Voltaire was scathingly contemptuous of the crusaders? Think of it, though, it fits the great man�s view of the world neatly. The illustrations are very good and abundant. Anyone with an interest in the Crusades should read this book.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By "archilaus" on December 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a great general history of the Crusades, edited by one of the most prominent living crusading historians. It covers all the important battles, but is also heavy on social history, the "East meets West" aspect of the Crusades, and it's rather good on the Crusader kingdoms as well. If you crave the details of the Mamluks' machinations or the rise and fall of Shagarrat al-Durr, it might be best to eke out Riley-Smith's history with a book by a historian who knows the Arabic sources. This volume also contains a lot of lovely illustrations, some of which are actually helpful.
You will find that this book encompasses the traditional Crusading period, but doesn't stop there. This is because there is some debate when the Crusades actually ENDED. Are fifteenth-century pogroms against European 'infidels' to be considered Crusades? What about the Albigensian Crusade? There are two scholarly armed camps on this issue: Riley-Smith and his students on the one hand, and, well, nearly everyone else on the other. Just be aware that it's a contentious issue.
For that quasi-mythical animal, the interested layperson, I would also recommend Maalouf's The Crusades through Arab Eyes, and almost anything by Steven Runciman.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By sandy807 VINE VOICE on January 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Heavy historian buffs may rate this book as a 5, because it is packed with all kinds of information one might never imagine about the Crusades. It certainly deserves credit for all the research that had to go into compiling the essays in this book which cover such areas as the music, poetry, art, architecture of the times, as well as the prevailing thought of the times, both Christian and Muslim.
I gave it a 4 because it didn't meet my own personal expectations. I wanted to know more about the Crusades, but delineated in a different way to make it easier to digest, perhaps in more readable chapters explaining succeeding Crusades: their journeys, missions, and results. I did glean useful information and insight, primarily that the Crusades were much more involved than what we generally perceive today as a simple-minded holy war against the infidel Muslims. I was surprised that the Crusades were also against heretics within Europe, and that there were some critics of the time who opposed killing for the sake of God. However, this book was overwhelming in its details about people, places, dates, and yet I am still left wanting to know...what exactly happened?
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By D. Wang on March 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
By:Jonathan Riley-Smith
Reviewed by:D. Wang
P.5
The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades is a book about you want and don't want to know about the crusades. The book's opening chapters aren't about the actual military action at all. It's about the minds of the crusaders, the songs of the time, the Latin East. It's not until chapter nine that military orders, movements, and actions are mentioned. The book concludes with a comparison of modern day events and the crusades.
I liked this book because of the sheer amount of information. on page 86 it says "Men and women, including elderly crusaders, came to Jerusalem to end their days. The charnel chambers in the Hospitallers' ruined twelfth-century cemetry-church at Alcheldamach, just outside Jersalem, are still filled with the bones of pious Christians." It is extremely doubtful you will find this variety of information in a textbook.
This book really took the effort to find all the information possible. An entire chapter of the book is devoted to songs about the crusade. There are not many books about a series of wars where an entire chapter is devouted to songs. The book puts a lot a information and visual material in 436 pages. It is very easy to be overwhelmed, and the authors should have made it easier to comprehend.
My favorite part of the book is the last chapter. "In a surprising development, however, the theology of force that underpinned crusading has been revived, especially in Latin America, by a militant wing of Christian Liberation." It is amzing how we humans fall from the same things over and over again, and this chapter previews of what might come. I like to compare our present to our past because it makes you realize how many times we've made the same mistake over and over again. Sometimes we just fail to take the past into consideration.
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