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Crusader: By Horse to Jerusalem Paperback – June 30, 2001
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Tim Severin set out to demonstrate what was involved in his own imimical way, by doing it. Combining good historical research with practical archeology he set out to recreate the journey of the knights of the first crusade.
Follow him as he chooses his horses in Ireland and France, and sets out from the home of the very first King of the Crusader Kingdom of Jereusalem. You travel with him down the ancient Roman Roads of Europe, as he narrates how the Byzantine emperor called for help from Frankish knights in his war against the Turks, and how the response he got was not at all what he had planned.
Trace the route across the plain of Hungary, through Bulgaria and into what was the Byzantine Empire, as you learn of the horrors of the peoples crusade, the depravation, the cannibalism and the impalings.
In Turkey Severin meets friendly locals and impassable mountains and narrates the possible reasons for the success in battle of the Frankish knights.
This is a fascinating journey that will interest any Crusade follower, horse lovers, travellers and historians alike!
The cons: the author's starting lack of horse knowledge will appall any horse lovers out there. Not only does he assume that the modern "draft" version of the Ardennes horse is exactly what knights must have ridden "back then" (a common misconception) and that such a horse is built to travel thousands of miles, but he assumes both that the green, barely-broke specimen that he has purchased for the trip will "figure it out" along the way AND that he himself will "figure out" how to ride at the same time! Fortunately, he does obtain help before setting out as well as along the journey, but throughout, his lack of knowledge seems to have made him a bit oblivious to developing problems until they became critical. Equestrians will have plenty to cringe about along this journey.
Another con: the proofreading, or lack thereof. Many, many mistakes throughout, including copy/paste errors of whole paragraph chunks.