Fighting for Christendom

Fighting for Christendom : Holy War and the Crusades

3.57 (38 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Crusading fervour gripped Europe for over 200 years, creating one of the most extraordinary, vivid periods in world history. Whether the Crusades are regarded as the most romantic of Christian expeditions, or the last of the barbarian invasions, they have fascinated generations ever since, and their legacy of ideas and imagery has resonated through the centuries, inspiring Hollywood movies and great works of literature. Even today, to invoke the Crusades is to stir deep cultural myths, assumptions and prejudices. Yet despite their powerful hold on our imaginations, our knowledge of them remains obscured and distorted by time. Were the Crusaders motivated by spiritual rewards, or by greed for the power and booty to be captured in the east? Was the papacy imposing uniformity from within, or defending itself from the infidel enemy without? Were the Crusades an experiment in European colonialism, or a manifestation of religious love? How were they organized and founded? Christopher Tyerman picks his way through the many debates to present a clear and lively discussion of the Crusades; bringing together issues of colonialism, cultural exchange, economic exploitation, and the relationship between past and present.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • 132 x 200 x 30mm | 381.02g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • numerous line drawings & maps
  • 0192803255
  • 9780192803252
  • 2,001,730

About Christopher Tyerman

Christopher Tyerman is Lecturer in Medieval History at Hertford College and New College, Oxford. A fellow of the Royal Historical Society, he has published extensively on crusading History, including The Invention of the Crusades and England and the Crusades.show more

Table of contents

PREFACE; ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS; LIST OF MAPS; LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS; INTRODUCTION; 1. Definition and Scope; 2. Sources and Perspectives; 3. Holy War; 4. Holy lands; 5. The Business of the Cross; CONCLUSION; FURTHER READINGshow more

Review Text

Tales concerning knights have always carried an undeniable whiff of romance about them. Crusader knights even more so. As depicted by novels and Hollywood movies alike, they were dashing fellows who marched off bravely to the Holy Land intent on liberating it from the hands of the godless infidel hoards. That image is overdue a reassessment in the modern age, when holy war has once again become an unpleasant reality. This is the task that has been undertaken by Oxford historian Christopher Tyerman. He chops away ruthlessly at the myth to uncover the nuggets of truth at its core. The Crusades could have been an extreme act of religious faith. Alternatively they may have simply been a symptom of European colonialism. Whatever else they were, the Crusades symbolise what fear of the unknown can do to the most rational of societies. A classic case of the "Them and Us" syndrome. (Kirkus UK)show more

Review quote

The author has provided us with a thought-provoking perceptive and relevant analysis. The English Historical Review An excellent outline of current historical thinking Sunday Timesshow more

Rating details

38 ratings
3.57 out of 5 stars
5 18% (7)
4 32% (12)
3 39% (15)
2 11% (4)
1 0% (0)
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