The Knights Templar remain the most glamorous, but also the most mysterious, of all religious organizations. Romanticized by Walter Scott in his novel Ivanhoe and by Wagner in his opera Parsifal, the Templars have been both celebrated as ascetic martyrs, dying for the greater good of Christianity, and condemned as deviant heretics, thieves, and sodomites who sold the Holy Land out to the Muslim Infidels. In his carefully researched study The Templars, the acclaimed novelist Piers Paul Read investigates the truth behind the myth. Placing his account of the rise of the Templars within a wider historical and political context, Read argues that "The Templars were a multinational force engaged in the defence of the Christian concept of a world order: and their demise marks the point when the pursuit of the common good within Christendom became subordinate to the interests of the nation state."
This approach takes Read back into the Dark Ages and the context for the first Christian Crusade, which culminated in the capture of Jerusalem in 1099. In an attempt to hold on to Jerusalem and one of the holiest sites in Christendom, the Temple of Solomon, the Templars were formed as a strict religious-military order, committed to poverty, chastity, and the protection of pilgrims en route to the Holy Land. Read charts their rise to political and financial power and influence throughout Europe and the Holy Land, and their bloody (and ultimately unsuccessful) conflict with the forces of Islam over the subsequent two centuries. Read's account is painstakingly recounted, but often lacks the verve and pace demanded by the colorful cast of characters, including Saladin and Richard the Lionheart. The best sections of the book deal with the shockingly cynical destruction of the Order by Pope Clement V and King Philip the Fair in 1312, preceded by the torture and death of hundreds of Templars who had already fought bravely for the cross in the Holy Land. The Templars are fascinating, but in his attempt to avoid the more colorful and conspiratorial stories associated with the Order, Read's book may strike some as a little turgid, despite its admirable historical detail. --Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The Knights Templar are not very well known today; but many of those who know them consider them as a corrupt order of monks who administered a citadel in Jerusalem during the Crusades. Arguing that the Templars deserve a better reputation than this, Read's balanced study judiciously synthesizes the history of this important religious movement. Formed in the aftermath of the First Crusade, the Templars were members of a monastic order who helped protect Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. Although similar to military orders like the Teutonic Knights and the Hospitalers, the Templars weren't, for the most part, warriors. When Christian forces held the Holy Land, most Templars aided them by managing the European estates that supported the military activities of the order. After the fall of the Crusader states, the Templars lost their military importanceAbut because their economic importance continued to grow, the pope and the king of France engineered their downfall through what Read considers to have been a miscarriage of justice. Templar leaders confessed, under torture, to all manner of sinful behavior and the order was destroyed. Best known for Alive (his best-selling account of cannibalistic survivors of a plane crash in the Andes), Read uses his keen eye for detail and facility with language to good effect here. Though he draws mostly from secondary sources, he enlivens his account with visual details; as he considers the larger political and religious significance of the Templars, he also describes the conditions of the monks' lives what they ate, where they lived, how they resisted sexual temptation, etc. But more compellingly, as he considers the rise and fall of this order Read tries to make their stories resonate in our own age (for instance, he notes that "the attitudes of many Muslims in the Middle East to the modern state of Israel is very like that of their ancestors to the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem)Aand he occasionally succeeds. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is a poor book about the Templars. Its a better book about the Crusades. if you are looking for a book about the Templars don't waste your money on this book. Read morePublished 18 days ago by cjr
by far the most engaging and well documented history of these messengers of religious insanity. a must read for all those who believe they are the only ones with god's ear.Published 5 months ago by Old cat guy
This is a pretty good book on the medieval Knights Templar.Published 5 months ago by Joseph Johnson
Excellent read, learned many things I had not known about Tmplar history.Published 6 months ago by Joe Lawhorn
The Knights Templar were a contingent of men who responded to the Pope’s call to restore Jerusalem to Christendom. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Eileen Shaw
I thought this was a really well-written, thoughtful and balanced book on the Templar legends. Its a subject that has attracted a lot of writings - and this is one of the best! Read morePublished 9 months ago by Vijay Crishna
This book furthered my knowledge of the crusades and the religious orders that helped fight them. Intensive research and hard work produced an excellent and readable volume. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Matthew J. Brennan
This book was a gift for someone, so I actually didn't read it, myself. It was in beautiful condition, however, and the recipient is happy with itPublished 10 months ago by Cheryl Barker