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The First Crusade

2460 Pages · 2015 · 6.94 MB · English

  • The First Crusade


    ‘Throughout his book,


    Asbridge resists the


    temptation to provide a


    simple, seamless narrative.


    Instead, he builds up his


    account of critical moments


    by leading the reader through


    the various (sometimes


    contradictory) layers of


    contemporary evidence . . . If


    this approach provides the text with a vivid directness,


    so too does the author’s (for


    once, literally) foot-slogging


    research. Asbridge has


    walked large tracts of the


    crusader’s route through


    Syria and Palestine, and his


    sensitivity to topographical


    detail – and its tactical


    importance to the campaign –


    gives his account the tightly


    focused immediacy of


    travelogue’


    John Adamson, Sunday Telegraph


    ‘[A] substantial book, [in


    which] there is plenty to


    discover . . . Asbridge [tells]


    of astonishing heroism,


    together with rapidly


    escalating sadism and atrocity


    . . . His pace is tremendous,


    and he has a remarkable feel


    for place. It certainly helps


    that, like so many Crusaders


    nine centuries ago, Asbridge


    has himself walked 350 miles from Antioch towards


    Jerusalem: his book is all the


    better for it’


    Diarmaid MacCulloch,


    Guardian


    ‘Nuanced and sophisticated . .


    . The first, very considerable,


    merit of [this] book . . . is that


    Thomas Asbridge, while fully


    aware of the modern


    perspectives, presents the


    story to us from the point of


    view, principally, of the Crusaders themselves . . .


    Thoroughly documented and


    academically respectable, [it


    is an] admirable example of


    narrative history written with


    the general reader in mind.


    Nobody can read [The First


    Crusade] without acquiring a


    better understanding of the


    Middle Ages and the


    medieval mind; nor, I would


    think, without developing an


    admiration for the courage,


    tenacity, and even the idealism of the Crusaders. To


    that extent, [it] may be called


    revisionist history’


    Allan Massie, Literary


    Review


    ‘Salutary reading . . . the first


    book on the subject to get us


    close to the way the crusaders


    thought and felt, when they


    mistook massacre for charity


    and bloodshed for penance’


    Felipe Fernández Armesto,


    The Times ‘Asbridge’s outstanding new


    history eyes with


    understanding and


    unsqueamishness the mixed


    motives of the Crusaders . . .


    The savagery of the


    triumphant Christian warriors


    seemed to shock and delight


    contemporary commentators


    in equal measure. It is this


    duality of passion, religious


    and murderous, that Asbridge


    analyses with such skill . . .


    Asbridge’s tactful and sympathetic approach to the


    fragmentary and partial


    nature of the primary sources,


    his ability to sustain a


    gripping narrative, to develop


    the personalities of the


    principals, to inspire both


    admiration and regret for the


    achievements of these


    medieval adventurers, all


    combine to make this one of


    the most distinguished books


    yet launched on the current


    wave of enthusiasm for history’


    Graham Anderson, Oxford


    Times


    ‘Although well-researched,


    the book wears its scholarship


    lightly and reads like a work


    of fiction, complete with


    vivid characters such as


    Stephen of Blois and Godfrey


    of Bouillon. This will, no


    doubt, become required


    reading on many a


    university’s history course,


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