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Concise History of the Crusades the Madden Thomas- for free


Any historian who attempts to explain the Crusades must first come to terms with the length, breadth, and complexity of the subject. What was the Crusade? When did it begin and when did it end? What were the important milestones of the movement? Who were crusaders and who were not?

Traditionally, authors have defined the scope of the Crusades in terms of expeditions to the Holy Land. In this respect, they have followed the structure of medieval sources such as the Gestadeiper Francos.

Thus, the Crusades begin with the convocation of Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095. The poles of such a study are the major expeditions to the East (i.e., the” numbered” crusades) and the history of the crusader states in Syria and Palestine. The narrative thread then weaves between the situation in the Levant and the situation in Europe, linking the two together in the events of the crusading expedition.

From this perspective, the Crusades would end with the disappearance of the crusader states in 1291. Thus, the movement is well organized and packaged with in the time frame of two centuries.

About the Book

When the first edition of this book was published in 1999, the world was a different place. At the time, the Crusades were a distant concept, a strange series of events in a distant and uncertain medieval past. For citizens of modern secular civilization, religious wars seemed almost irrelevant. That changed: the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States and the subsequent terrorist attacks in Europe and the Middle East reminded us that there are people in the world who are willing to kill or be killed for their religion.

Since then, radical Muslims, known as Islamists, have continued to call on their fellow citizens to join them in a global jihad against those in the West that Muslims often refer to as “crusaders.” Western nations fear that their actions may actually resemble medieval crusades. For example, American and European troops are stationed in the Middle East. And Israel, which enjoys great support from the West, is planted on land that was once the kingdom of medieval crusaders. Western diplomats and politicians are careful to avoid mentioning medieval crusades around Muslim leaders.

Unfortunately, these sentiments and approaches are fostered on both sides by a very poor understanding of the actual crusades and the medieval world in which they flourished. The result is that decisions-sometimes tragic decisions-are made based on deeply flawed historical concepts. This book seeks to illuminate the complex relationship between past and present by explaining what the Crusades were and were not.

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