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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best atlas of the crusades
Twenty-one historians under the guidance of Jonathan Riley-Smith have provided us with an invaluable resource for the crusades. This atlas offers 150+ pages of beautiful maps punctuated with painstaking detail -- geographical features, historical dates, battle sites, travel routes, castles & fortresses, monasteries & holy sites, cities & towns -- all set against the...
Published on June 29, 1999 by Loren Rosson III

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful But With Significant Flaws
Riley-Smith and his co-authors have created a reference work that in many ways is very informative about the Crusades. The text is quite good, and there are fine illustrations along with visually striking maps. But three problems limit its utility. First, the maps -- the core of any atlas -- are not really satisfactory. Many are overly cluttered with detail from...
Published 4 months ago by Chimonsho


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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best atlas of the crusades, June 29, 1999
By 
Loren Rosson III (New Hampshire, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Atlas of the Crusades (Cultural Atlas of) (Hardcover)
Twenty-one historians under the guidance of Jonathan Riley-Smith have provided us with an invaluable resource for the crusades. This atlas offers 150+ pages of beautiful maps punctuated with painstaking detail -- geographical features, historical dates, battle sites, travel routes, castles & fortresses, monasteries & holy sites, cities & towns -- all set against the backdrop of splendid color plating. The expeditions to the holy lands (1095-1291 CE) are charted in great detail, as well as the campaigns in Spain and the Baltic region. This provides for a collective 500-year time period (1000's-1500's CE) of the crusades. One's knowledge of medieval Christendom and the Islamic world will be strengthened beyond measure by this handsome tome. It reflects highly specialized research and is a tool for students and professors alike. Definitely worth $40.00

Riley-Smith is today's top crusades historian whose works have rivaled even Runciman's three-volume classic. Four textual sections in the atlas briefly present Riley-Smith's newer theories which depict crusaders as zealous pilgrims (not colonial boors), motivated by ideology (more than land and booty). There were few rewards to be won in Palestine, people knew it, and the costs involved in embarking on a crusade were astronomical. We certainly don't accept the crusading world-view today, but we are obligated to understand it and describe it as accurately as we can. Riley-Smith has done so, and this atlas stands as a monument to his scholarship of the past three decades.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The maps are great, but this book has so much more!, December 25, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Atlas of the Crusades (Cultural Atlas of) (Hardcover)
The maps are wonderful. They are well-researched and provide an overview of the Crusades, along with all the peripheral things going on in the world of the Middle Ages. The text gives a good objective summary of events, which is difficult to find elsewhere in sources on the Crusades. Riley-Smith has chosen his topics well, including aspects of specific cultures of the time. He achieves a vivid picture of the political, economic, and social life of the time in all of the world's hot spots. This perhaps does not give the most comprehensive picture possible, since it does not take into account conflicting primary sources on the Crusades, but Riley-Smith achieves his goal. Readers looking for more information can easily find other sources; the Atlas of the Crusades is an excellent supplement to these and does a good job pulling them together.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Best, January 9, 2001
By 
John Hamer (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Atlas of the Crusades (Cultural Atlas of) (Hardcover)
"The Atlas of the Crusades" is one of my all time favorite books. While it's enormously helpful to the specialist, the book is also a perfect introduction to the Crusades -- visually describing this interesting historical phenomenon from beginning to end. Beyond the route maps which can be found in every atlas of the Middle Ages, this book has everything from birds-eye views of Acre and Constantinople to the layout of Crusader castles, churches, and villages, to a schematic diagram of the Mamluk Chain of Command. You can't go wrong adding this to your library.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extraordinary work!!!, September 18, 2003
This review is from: The Atlas of the Crusades (Cultural Atlas of) (Hardcover)
I 'borrowed' this book from my school library many years ago and have loved it ever since. It combines wonderful maps with insightful charts and symbols detailing every aspect of the crusades from weapons used to the political ranks of the Muslim rulers.
This book details every crusade, from the first in 1099 that captured Jerusalum, to the last ones that were foguth in places as distant as north Africa and even on crusade that only sucededed in capturing Byzantium.
There are other historical atlas's and even another atlas of the crusades but this is the superior volume. THis volume illimunate the crusades in a new way and help you understand the propoganda that claims they were wrong and for greed. In fact the crusades were a response to Islamic aggression whereby Christian chruchs were destroyed in the holy land and christians enslaved. The Crusades helped resuce the holy land and this book will help you understand the truth that during this time christians still lived in the middle east, like the Armenians.
This book will help you understand the claims christianity has to maintaining a presence in the holy land.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only crusade atlas worth buying, August 1, 2006
By 
Alfred J. Andrea (Burlington,, VT USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Atlas of the Crusades (Cultural Atlas of) (Hardcover)
The editor, Jonathan Riley-Smith, emeritus Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge University, is without a doubt the world's leading expert on the crusades, and this atlas reflects his mastery of the field. He chose first-rate historians as contributors, and his choice of topics for some of his chapters (e.g. "The Home Front" and "Settlers, Traders and Missionaries," "and "Crusading in a Changing World") reflect both his "pluralist" perspective (the crusades involved much more than the military campaigns in the Levant from 1096 to 1291) and his conviction that crusade history is so much more than campaigns, military strategy, and battlefield tactics. What is more, the maps and illustrations are first-rate. Do not waste your money on third-rate competition; buy this atlas. You will not be disappointed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful But With Significant Flaws, September 20, 2014
By 
Chimonsho (Turtle Island) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Atlas of the Crusades (Cultural Atlas of) (Hardcover)
Riley-Smith and his co-authors have created a reference work that in many ways is very informative about the Crusades. The text is quite good, and there are fine illustrations along with visually striking maps. But three problems limit its utility. First, the maps -- the core of any atlas -- are not really satisfactory. Many are overly cluttered with detail from presenting excess data. Much of the shading of territory is dark enough to interfere with the labeling, in itself often too small to read easily; the same is true for many diagrams. A magnifying glass will help somewhat, but aesthetics apparently loomed too large in designing the maps. Less forgivably, almost no maps have a scale of miles/kilometers, which severely restricts understanding the distances involved.

Beyond these technical flaws there are interpretive and stylistic concerns. The content faithfully reflects the "pluralist" view of the Crusades that R-S has done so much to advance. Fair enough; Crusades pluralism -- looking beyond the Levant to encompass wars in northern Europe, Spain, against heretics or papal enemies -- is now part of accepted wisdom. But many historians endorse it and also (I think rightly) believe that expeditions to recover the Holy Land were central to crusading, especially considering the primacy of liberating Jerusalem. Numerous readers will note the relative dearth of coverage on the eastern Crusades, an omission not necessary to maintain a pluralist perspective.

Finally, for whatever reason, R-S routinely seems averse to providing a fully-developed narrative history. While his books contain many arresting tales, their organization is strongly thematic even when chronologically-ordered. Perhaps narrative is a personal preference, and it's less important for this reference work, but that is why his work has never truly supplanted Steven Runciman's magisterial trilogy. As Al Andrea notes in two reviews, this is the best atlas on the subject. But sorry to say, given the high level of expertise and accuracy, it's also something of a missed opportunity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars He says it is the best book he has and he wishes he could find ..., January 7, 2015
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This review is from: The Atlas of the Crusades (Cultural Atlas of) (Hardcover)
I ordered this for my husband who is very interested in this period. He says it is the best book he has and he wishes he could find another one with additional information.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended if you can get your hands on one, December 18, 2014
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This review is from: The Atlas of the Crusades (Cultural Atlas of) (Hardcover)
A one of a kind resource. Highly recommended if you can get your hands on one.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, June 3, 2013
By 
bernard gallagher (dublin, dublin, IE) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Atlas of the Crusades (Cultural Atlas of) (Hardcover)
very well set out.context easy to follow by way of very clear maps.this book will be passed to many of my friends
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Returninh, February 23, 2014
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This review is from: The Atlas of the Crusades (Cultural Atlas of) (Hardcover)
The bible was not bond leather. The first pages were shoddily attached to the binding--already coming out in spots. This one is going back.
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The Atlas of the Crusades (Cultural Atlas of)
The Atlas of the Crusades (Cultural Atlas of) by Jonathan Riley-Smith (Hardcover - Nov. 1990)
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