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The Crusaders Paperback – October 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898709490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898709490
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,175,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Gregory on February 13, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a wonderful corrective for two sets of people: (1) Those who idealize the Crusades, the crusaders, and the culture which surrounded and informed them; (2) Those who uncritically villify everything that the folks in the first category idealize.
Pernoud presents the Crusades in all their considerable glory and all their considerable shame. For example, an entire chapter is devoted to the character of St. Louis, the "perfect crusader", who so well embodied everything that was good in the crusader mentality. Juxtaposed to that, we hear of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, the "crusader without faith" who broke into the Thirteenth Century like a walking talking preview of the less gentle times to come -- a herald of Machiavelli, Napolean, and LBJ. As an admirer of the Middle Ages, I had always viewed Frederick II was an aberration -- like an intruder from another planet. But no. Pernoud shows (without a soapbox) that it should not be surprising that a Frederick II should arise -- even in the most civilized of centuries.
Pernoud makes these points, as I said, without a soapbox. He writes sober history -- Jack Webb style. And this sober recital of facts is just what ideologues on my side and on the opposite side really need.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By otro lector mas on June 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book uses the Crusades and the Crusaders to illustrate how feudal society lived and how feudal man thought. This book is not a narrative of the Crusades proper and does assume the reader has some knowledge of the events.

I found surprising that the culture of "Truce of God" (the restrictions on warfare imposed by the Church and observed by most European combatants) was such an obstacle to raising a Crusading army. Also since the Crusades were not a war of conquest, most Crusaders left when they felt they had fulfilled their vow. For example after the 1st Crusade less than 2500 Crusaders remained in the Holy Land. When you add logistic difficulties, Byzantine treachery, and internal rivalries it is amazing the Crusaders accomplished as much as they did. Most important, though she doesn't gloss over when atrocities were committed, she makes irrefutably evident that, overall, the Crusaders made a positive contribution to life in the region: something you are not likely to read about the Crusades from modern American writers.

Regine Pernoud was a historian unlike any I have read. Her ability to present what it was like to live in medieval society and to think like a medieval person in a manner that a modern reader can relate to is nothing short of wondrous. Her description of places and events is almost poetic. Her historical insight is literally jaw-dropping. If, like me, you imagined that it must have been horrible to live in the Middle Ages this book will give you a different picture.

Her translators also need to be congratulated since they have done a great job transmitting her words of genius.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
In The Crusaders: The Struggle For The Holy Land, renowned French archivist and historian Regine Pernoud focuses upon the human aspect by presenting profiles of those who undertook the Crusades ranging from the kings, to the barons, clerks, women, merchants, and paupers. Whether driven by faith, conquest, or greed, their individual and collective perspectives are vividly described, and providing contemporary readers with a detailed and lasting impression of the shock of Christian perspectives created when introduced to the Muslim world. A thoughtful and unforgettable trip through history that virtually puts the reader in this long-ago era, The Crusaders is an ideal introduction for non-specialist general readers.
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