- Series: Critical Issues in World and International History
- Paperback: 280 pages
- Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; Updated Student Edition edition (November 10, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0742538230
- ISBN-13: 978-0742538238
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 73 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The New Concise History of the Crusades (Critical Issues in World and International History) Updated Student Edition Edition
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Praise for the first edition: Readers will be pleased that Thomas Madden has hit just the right note in his sweeping but concise account of the crusades. While he follows the development of crusading down to the period of the Protestant Reformation, and offers, in an afterword, speculations about the modern impact of the medieval crusade, he never fails to interest and inform. His prose is lucid. And to give the graphic point, he offers the reader fourteen clearly produced maps depicting the Mediterranean world about A.D. 1000, the routes of the main crusades, and the crusade plan of Maximilian I in 1518. The usefulness of these is reinforced by an index, a glossary, mainly of Islamic terms, a list of translated sources, and a select bibliography... (The Catholic Historical Review)
Madden's books are the best. (John F. Fink Criterion)
Exactly the right amount of information in just enough detail to hold the students' attention without overwhelming them. (Kimberly Rivers)
I love this book. It is clearly and artfully written, user-friendly, and well-organized, with excellent maps and an up-to-date suggested readings and sources in translation section. (Paul Cobb)
Praise for the first edition: This is a wonderful piece of work that will greatly add to the sum of crusade historiography. . . . It is brilliantly executed. . . . Madden's ability as a writer of gripping narrative shines through. This is a work that students will love, largely because it does not read like a textbook.... (Alfred Andrea)
Thomas Madden brings fresh understanding to these blemished, but at heart noble, efforts to defend the core of medieval European culture. (Rev. William H. Scarle Leader Times)
Praise for the first edition: This is a wonderful piece of work that will greatly add to the sum of crusade historiography. . . . It is brilliantly executed. . . . Madden's ability as a writer of gripping narrative shines through. This is a work that students will love, largely because it does not read like a textbook. (Alfred Andrea)
Praise for the first edition: Professor Madden has written a strong narrative of the crusades, focusing on the crusades to the East and on the major (or numbered) crusades. (James Powell)
Praise for the first edition: Much praise is due to the author for giving us such a clear, concise picture of an ever-changing area of scholarship. (Patrick J. Holt H-Net Reviews)
Praise for the first edition: A gripping narrative approach of the medieval social, economic, religious, and intellectual environments that gave birth to the Crusades and nurtured them for centuries. (Missiology: An International Review)
Praise for the first edition: Readers will be pleased that Thomas Madden has hit just the right note in his sweeping but concise account of the crusades. While he follows the development of crusading down to the period of the Protestant Reformation, and offers, in an afterword, speculations about the modern impact of the medieval crusade, he never fails to interest and inform. His prose is lucid. And to give the graphic point, he offers the reader fourteen clearly produced maps depicting the Mediterranean world about A.D. 1000, the routes of the main crusades, and the crusade plan of Maximilian I in 1518. The usefulness of these is reinforced by an index, a glossary, mainly of Islamic terms, a list of translated sources, and a select bibliography. (The Catholic Historical Review)
Praise for the first edition: Readers will owe Thomas Madden warm thanks for so clear an introductory account of so complex a phenomenon as a crusade. (The Historian)
Praise for the first edition: A brilliant text and handbook for students, teachers, and all readers taking interest in the history of the Crusades. (Byzantische Zeitschrift)
Praise for the first edition: It is clear handling of a complex subject that lets the facts speak for themselves. The book, moreover, lives up to its title. It is concise, but not overly simplified. It would serve as a fine text for undergraduate history students. (New Oxford Review)
Praise for the first edition: Lucid, interesting, and lively. It certainly deserves to be listed in the bibliography for all undergraduate and school courses on the Crusades. (Islam And Christian-Muslim Relations)
Praise for the first edition: In little more than 200 pages, in crystal-clear and economical prose, Madden does a superb job of exposition. As an introduction to the vast literature of the crusades, this is a jewel of a book. It has all one needs to understand the epic nature of the various mobilizations and invasions, who the important players were and how they operated, and why what was for centuries romanticized as chivalrous has today become odious. (James Reston Jr. Washington Post Book World)
This enjoyable book is an excellent introduction for anyone interested in the Crusades. (October 2007 World History Connected)
Madden's small, accessible book is comprehensive, judicious, and fair. It should be required reading for anyone presuming to discuss crusading, crusaders, and the Crusades. (Catholic Missourian)
About the Author
Thomas F. Madden is professor and chair of the Department of History at Saint Louis University. A widely recognized expert on the Crusades and Christian-Muslim conflict, he has written and spoken widely on the topic in such venues as the New York Times, National Public Radio, and PBS. He is the author of A Concise History of the Crusades, which was a Washington Post Book World Rave selection, Enrico Dandolo and the Rise of Venice and The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople, a History Book Club selection. He is the editor of Crusades: The Illustrated History and The Crusades: The Essential Readings. He resides in St. Louis, Missouri.
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I did not realise that this book is supposed to be a text book with some little exercises for essay writing.
I was not disappointed. This is a well balanced book for someone who wants to know the background of crusades. My experience with this kind of book is that the skill of the writer makes a whole lot of difference. I have read books on "black death" "The grand turks" and they were dry and boring. Madden on the other hand has done an excellent job.
But Madden does not just repeat what has already been written, he also throws in his own scholarly interpretation of events, positioning the Crusades into the causes and effects of their era while removing them as a flashpoint for contemporary Moslem terrorism. This interpretation is refreshing. Madden shows that Europeans had moved beyond crusader mentality after the Reformation, and as for the Moslems...well their cultures may not have assigned as much importance to the Crusades as westerners have thought, that is, until contemporary Moslem zealots reinvented them for propaganda purposes.
There were heroes on both sides in Madden's view, but these heroes were overwhelmed by centuries of in-fighting, self aggrandizement and avarice among Christians and Moslems alike, demonstrating that human nature does not change between religions, only that religion has provided a particular focus for events that are consistent throughout history whenever cultures have collided.
The picture of the Crusades that unfolds is a far cry from an organized and unified enterprise bent on greed and colonialism, or sweeping wars with forced conversions imposed on captives and enemies. While there certainly were many instances where more "noble" motives caved into greed, and in rarer off-shoots of the Crusades there were attempts at forced conversions, this is not at all the general character of the Crusades. Rather they were highly fragmented events that ranged from being moderately successful to disastrous failures.
The leadership of the Crusades was in constant fluctuation, from Counts and Kings and occasionally clergy striving for headship and trying to assert their power over often poorly trained crews of peasants who marched alongside knights. One of the most surprising things about the Crusades was that the Christians quite often were not consistently allied with one another, nor were the Muslims! In the mix of constantly shifting alliances, political interests, and the convoluted succession of various lines of royalty, the Crusaders quite often made war against other Christians, the Muslims waged war against other Muslims, and the Christians and Muslims often made temporary alliances with one another. And in Jerusalem and other key cities that changes hands frequently in those centuries, there were often Christians, Muslims and Jews that lived together at least somewhat peacefully during intervening periods.
The Crusaders were not really interested in converting the Muslims, but in regaining the lands that had formerly been possessed by Christians and Jews in Israel, Syria, Asia Minor, Spain and elsewhere, but had been taken captive during Muslim conquests. Thus Madden argues, the Crusades were initially (and to a certain degree afterward) a series of defensive wars to stop the advances of the Muslim empires and to push back the borders that they had expanded through earlier conquests. He believes they were moderately successful in doing so, but at a tremendous cost to Europe, economically and in terms of sheer manpower. At many points in the later history of Europe, it seemed as though the whole continent of Europe was teetering on the edge of being entirely overthrown. Far from being a profitable enterprise, the Crusades were often disastrously expensive for the individuals and kings who engaged in them, and few ever returned home. Madden explains the religious motivations that moved the Crusaders to take on the crusading vow.
The book is filled with many heroes and many scoundrels, and there were colorful characters on both sides of the conflicts, such as Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. The history of the Templar orders is covered in brief, the origin of various Crusades that were not aimed at the Holy Land, as well as various unofficial crusading activities that arose, such as the misnamed "Children's Crusade." Madden also concludes the book with eye-opening reflections on how the history of the Crusades has passed (often inaccurately) into the modern imagination.
Overall the book was far more interesting than I would have expected, and much to my surprise made me interested in reading further on many of the points that he was unable to develop more fully in this concise volume. One will find that the Crusades are a far more complex phenomenon than they might have expected. And while I think they were greatly misguided from a theological point of view, they had a significant impact in the history of the Middle East and Europe. This book is an excellent place to begin your study of the Crusades, or even if its the only book you read.