115 of 125 people found the following review helpful
An up to date review of the history of the Crusades,
This review is from: The Crusades: A Short History (Paperback)
The previous reviewer is far more interetested in anti-Catholic bigotry than in the current state of historical scholarship on the Crusades. Dr. Riley-Smith's book is up to date while the previous work of Runciman (and others) is considered passe by the professional historian. Unfortunately, people with an axe to grind rarely are interested in the facts when their cherished preconceptions are in jeopardy.
Dr. Riley-Smith's book covers not only the medieval Crusades but also other religious wars in the later historic times. He demonstrates the complex motivations of the major figures in these various conflicts and shows that their primary concern had been religious, not economic or imperialistic. There is no "cover up" of some of the darker aspects of the Crusades, but Riley-Smith has a better understanding of the 'sitz im leben' of the Medieval world than many previous writers on this subject. Dr. Riley Smith is careful not to judge people from another time by modern standards. He dispels a number of myths that men like Runciman have unfortunately perpetuated.
This is an excellent review book for the general topic of religious wars since the Middle Ages. For more information, see these books:
The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades
The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading (Middle Ages Series)
The First Crusaders, 1095-1131
What Were the Crusades? (Forthcoming)
The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 4, c. 1024 - c. 1198, Part 1 (Forthcoming)