God's War
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God's War : A New History of the Crusades

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The story of how a group of warriors, driven by faith, greed and wanderlust, carved out new Christian-ruled states in the Middle East is one of the most extraordinary of all epics. The crusaders' stunning initial success started a sequence of great Crusades, each with its own story, that fundamentally shaped the Christian and Muslim worlds for two centuries, until the last Crusader castles were finally expunged. The energy and commitment that sent army after army into the eastern Mediterranean also led to the invasion and conversion of Central and Baltic Europe, Spain, Portugal, the destruction of the Cathars in Provence and the settlement of America. Told with great verve and authority, God's War is the definitive account of a fascinating but also horrifying story.

`We are still living with the images and legends of the crusades...Tyerman tells us how the Church set about preaching the crusades, exploiting the perennial pessimism and guilt of the European nobility of the Middle Ages. He shows how crusading ideology penetrated the religious sensibility of the period, as well as its secular fiction and poetry...Of all the modern histories of the crusades it is the shrewdest, the most reliable and the most complete.' - The Spectator
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Product details

  • Paperback | 1040 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 44mm | 728g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 16 Colour Inset
  • 0140269800
  • 9780140269802
  • 111,141

Review quote

legacy for Muslim-Christian relations to this day. Tyerman offers a sane, informed, and gripping account of one of the most characteristic and most extraordinary manifestations of the Christian Middle Ages. and human sympathy: one of the achievements of the year. different, and our capacity to entertain the differences is morally crucial. the crusading impulse. This is a marvelously conceived, written, and supported book. history written with the support of a formidable scholarly background, and it deserves to reach a wide audience. Christendom made war to wrest the Holy Lands from Muslim hands. As we all know, this isn't considered ancient history in the Middle East. This strikingly effective book explains the vicious brutality and the serious Christian altruism so intimately intertwined in the crusading experience Ages. Hefty, encyclopedic and a darn good read, Tyerman's book has the rarest of virtues among myriad treatments of the subject: It doesn't bend history to preconceptions. broader scope of crusading, including Spain, the Balkans, and the Baltic. Most importantly for historians, the author sees nothing in the Crusades than can inform modem politics. Combines vigorous argument and nuanced analysis in this deeply learned chronicle of the Crusades...the best single-volume treatment of this still-controversial and fraught subject. This is likely to replace Steven Runciman's 50-year-old "History of the Crusades" as the standard work. Tyerman, lecturer in medieval history at Oxford University, demolishes our simplistic misconceptions about that series of ferocious campaigns in the Middle East, Muslim Spain and the pagan Baltic between 1096 and 1500..."God's War" is that very rare thing: a readable and vivid history written with the support of a formidable scholarly background, and it deserves to reach a wide audience. Christopher Tyerman's "God's War: A New History of the Crusades" is a doorstop of a book, a mammoth effort to retell, based on modern scholarship, the story of how Western Christendom made war to wrest the Holy Lands from Muslim hands. As we all know, this isn't considered ancient history in the Middle East.--Fritz Lanham "Houston Chronicle " Christopher Tyerman's "God's War" is comprehensive, fascinating, and timely. It deflates comparisons of current U.S. strategies with the Crusades. True, the participation of religious in battle (like Odo on the Bayeux Tapestry) is noteworthy, but so is Tyerman's questioning of the cliche 'Age of Faith.' Indeed, while these books make the Middle Ages seem real, they also make it seem different, and our capacity to entertain the differences is morally crucial.--Tom D'Evelyn "Providence Journal " With rekindled controversy about Western invasions of the Middle East, the Crusades of the late Middle Ages take on unanticipated relevance. It is thus a real boon for this strikingly effective book to appear at this time. The key to Tyerman's signal success is his ability to explain both the vicious brutality and the serious Christian altruism that were so intimately intertwined in the crusading experience and that have left such a tangled legacy for Muslim-Christian relations to this day.--Mark A. Noll"Christian Century" (10/17/2006) Anyone who likes knights, castles and battles as much as I do will enjoy Christopher Tyerman's masterpiece "God's War", a history of the Crusades written with great breadth, clarity and human sympathy: one of the achievements of the year.--Dominic Sandbrook"Daily Telegraph" (12/09/2006) Christopher Tyerman...has written a tome that...draws on the most recent scholarship and offers fresh insights, demolishing myths galore.--A. G. Noorani"Frontline" (05/04/2007) A magisterial work...it is a shoo-in to become this generation's definitive history of the original Crusades, a series of military expeditions that temporarily returned the Holy Land to Christian rule in the Middle Ages. Hefty, encyclopedic and a darn good read, Tyerman's book has the rarest of virtues among myriad treatments of the subject: It doesn't bend history to preconceptions.--Ron Grossman"Chicago Tribune" (10/29/2006) Christopher Tyerman, who teaches medieval history in Oxford, offers in his new and massive study of the Crusades as a whole a welcome synthesis for the general reader...Full of fascinating detail..."God's War" is a first-rate, scholarly, up-to-date, and highly readable survey of the entire crusading movement...In the gullible age of "The Da Vinci Code", Tyerman offers a sane, informed, and gripping account of one of the most characteristic and most extraordinary manifestations of the Christian Middle Ages.--Eamon Duffy"New York Review of Books" (10/19/2006) Tyerman, an Oxford scholar, combines vigorous argument and nuanced analysis in this deeply learned chronicle of the Crusades...It's the best single-volume treatment of this still-controversial and fraught subject.--Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz"The Atlantic" (11/01/2006) This thick book compares favorably to Sir Steven Runciman's three-volume "A History of the Crusades" (1951-54), but where Runciman, writing a half century ago, saw the Crusades as Christianity's moral failure, Tyerman sees a violent era: neither Christians nor Moslems were peaceful, and both faced dangerous enemies...In addition to persuasive revisionist interpretations of individual crusades, Tyerman treats the broader scope of crusading, including Spain, the Balkans, and the Baltic. Most importantly for historians, the author sees nothing in the Crusades than can inform modem politics.--W. L. Urban"Choice" (03/01/2007) "God's War" is a long but highly readable account of this extensive back-and-forth struggle. It is an impressive achievement, a work that manages to tie together an extraordinary number of threads across nearly half a millennium of European history. Although it can be taken as a response to Pope Benedict XVI's comments at Regensburg, it is more properly read as an extended rejoinder to Steven Runciman's classic three-volume "History of the Crusades," published in the early 1950s, a long and colorful account that is nonetheless studded with judgments that now seem prejudiced and amateurish. Tyerman, by contrast, is never amateurish. His knowledge of the period is encyclopedic, and his judgments are sharp, astute, and fair--which is to say unsparing--to both camps. He neither vilifies Islam nor engages in the easy Euro-bashing that is the obverse of Islamophobia. With so many people succumbing to subjectivism these days, it is bracing to come across a historian who remains resolutely abo Challenging traditional conceptions of the Crusades, e.g., the failure to retain Jerusalem, Tyerman believes that it was the weakening of papal power and the rise of secular governments in Europe that finally doomed the crusading impulse. This is a marvelously conceived, written, and supported book.--Robert J. Andrews"Library Journal" (09/15/2006) "God's War" is the new standard in the field...Adjectives for [it] almost fail. "Comprehensive," "monumental," and "epic" come to mind, and they are appropriate but scarcely adequate. In brief, this is a work by a master historian.--Alfred J. Andrea"CT Review" (07/01/2007)
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About Christopher Tyerman

Christopher Tyerman is a Fellow in History at Hertfod College, Oxford, and a Lecturer in Medieval History at New College, Oxford. He is the author of England and the Crusades.
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Rating details

644 ratings
3.95 out of 5 stars
5 31% (197)
4 43% (277)
3 20% (128)
2 5% (29)
1 2% (13)
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