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God's War: A New History of the Crusades [Hardcover]

By Christopher Tyerman (Author)
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Item description for God's War: A New History of the Crusades by Christopher Tyerman...

God's War offers a sweeping new vision of one of history's most astounding events: the Crusades.

From 1096 to 1500, European Christians fought to recreate the Middle East, Muslim Spain, and the pagan Baltic in the image of their God. The Crusades are perhaps both the most familiar and most misunderstood phenomena of the medieval world, and here Christopher Tyerman seeks to recreate, from the ground up, the centuries of violence committed as an act of religious devotion.

The result is a stunning reinterpretation of the Crusades, revealed as both bloody political acts and a manifestation of a growing Christian communal identity. Tyerman uncovers a system of belief bound by aggression, paranoia, and wishful thinking, and a culture founded on war as an expression of worship, social discipline, and Christian charity.

This astonishing historical narrative is imbued with figures that have become legends--Saladin, Richard the Lionheart, Philip Augustus. But Tyerman also delves beyond these leaders to examine the thousands and thousands of Christian men--from Knights Templars to mercenaries to peasants--who, in the name of their Savior, abandoned their homes to conquer distant and alien lands, as well as the countless people who defended their soil and eventually turned these invaders back. With bold analysis, Tyerman explicates the contradictory mix of genuine piety, military ferocity, and plain greed that motivated generations of Crusaders. He also offers unique insight into the maturation of a militant Christianity that defined Europe's identity and that has forever influenced the cyclical antagonisms between the Christian and Muslim worlds.

Drawing on all of the most recent scholarship, and told with great verve and authority, God's War is the definitive account of a fascinating and horrifying story that continues to haunt our contemporary world.


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Item Specifications...

Studio: Belknap Press
Pages   1040
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.3" Width: 6.9" Height: 2.4"
Weight:   3.45 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 31, 2006
Publisher   Belknap Press
ISBN  0674023870  
ISBN13  9780674023871  

Availability  0 units.

More About Christopher Tyerman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Christopher Tyerman is a Fellow and Tutor in History at Hertford College, Oxford and Lecturer in Medieval History at New College Oxford. He has written extensively on the crusades, most recently God's War: A New History of the Crusades (2006) and The Debate on the Crusades (2011).

Christopher Tyerman has an academic affiliation as follows - Hertford College, Oxford Hertford College and New College, Oxford Hert.

Christopher Tyerman has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Penguin Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Middle East > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Middle East
3Books > Subjects > History > Military > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Military
5Books > Subjects > History > World > General
6Books > Subjects > History > World > Medieval
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

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Reviews - What do customers think about God's War: A New History of the Crusades?

really bad  Apr 26, 2008
I started this book last week and am only around page 100 but am not sure that I will continue. My problem is that the author is not a very good story teller and frankly last night I found myself rereading a sentence 4 times to understand what it was saying only to realize that it was nonsensical. I'm no brain scientist but I'm fairly adept at reading and I keep coming across such passages that are either so convoluted they confuse or are just poorly written. If I had the energy I would go upstairs to pull such a passage but alas carrying 1,000 pages of dullness does not inspire me.

I'm going to give it another try but I'd like some narrative to engage me.

Ok, I tried. This is simply poorly written. Multiple passages that are not even understandable English on top of the very flat way of stating fact upon fact without any compelling narrative. I rarely give up on a book and this is a topic I find fascinating but this is simply not worth the trouble.
Very satisfied  Mar 2, 2008
The book is very helpful in the historical studies I have engaged. It arrived in excellent condition and in a timely manner.
The best history on the Crusades as well as Medieval Europe  Dec 22, 2007
God's War is one of the best, and most in depth, histories I have ever read concerning not just the Crusades but also their influence on Medieval Europe. The Crusades were not only a series of wars but also a decisive point for European society on all levels. God's War explains how the Crusades, pushed by the Papacy but also by secular rulers for their own benefit, contributed not just to Islam's current state but also to the Europe we see today.

It should be noted that the Crusades not only targeted Muslims but also pagans in the Baltic as well as "heretics" in Southern France, Eastern Europe, and even the Holy Roman Empire itself. This fact alone cannot be ignored because too often the Crusades are regulated to a mere conflict between Christians and Muslims as if that were the only issue at stake during the centuries they were fought. While not going into quite as much depth as with the main offensives against the Holy Land, God's War gives a short but strong description of these smaller wars for the cross and their end results.

The most important aspect of this book is the social implication that the Crusades placed upon those who were either involved directly or indirectly. While the Crusades had an important impact on the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, and the Baltic, they also had an impact in regions such as France, England, Burgundy, Sicily, the Holy Roman Empire, and other regions that produced many of the Crusaders. The most important area would be in terms of faith itself and how Christianity was seen through both secular and Church rule. Also affected were more domestic issues such as how kings could rule their lands and how the common men and women found their own world being changed through a new dynamic of faith crossed with the sword.

I am not surprised that some will see this work as either too slow in reading or even biased. In the first area, I would have to agree that the reading it slow during some points and perhaps over detailed. In regards to the second, I believe the only real bias is held by those who still see the world in draconian religious world views that perhaps are not too different from the mentality that drove the crusades themselves. A sad fact that is especially being played out in both Christian and Muslims worlds even today and indeed perhaps some of those who are currently alive would fit quite well into the world of the original crusades.

In a Word: Thorough  Sep 29, 2007
Tyerman's "God's War" is, in a word, a massively thorough work that covers a huge range of time and a huge array of theatres of war. While, unlike some, I would recommend it as a very detail introduction, there are some warnings that go with it.

This book covers the entire gamut of Christian holy wars against a variety of enemies in a variety of geographic locations. Not only does it cover the events that shaped the Crusades, but it also details the evolution of thought and the planning that eventually went into them. The book gives the reader a good insight into the mindset of the grassroots Crusader.

While some may find the number of people and names bewildering, I would rather see this as an advantage to the work. It covers a large movement taht involved a huge number of people. The names will provide the new reader with a launching point to further reading about the people that specifically interest you.

While not an easy book to read, (much due to the sheer physical size of it), "God's War" is truly the definitive study on the subject of the Crusades in all their manifestations. If you only read one book on the subject, make it this one. I really enjoyed it and learnt a lot.
Good for what it is but not a comprehensive history  Aug 28, 2007
The review from OP Filmmaker says it best but those thoughts are worth repeating so that the glowing reviews do not mislead. This is not a "history" in the style of most history books. It is an examination of the European social, religious, and political contexts of the crusades. The spotlight is on Europe, not the middle east, and on ideas, not events. What actually happened in the Holy Land is described briefly, in passing (to illustrate some point that Tyerman is making about European events), or not at all. On the other hand, the usually-ignored Albigensian and Baltic crusades are essential to the thesis and are discussed at length.

This is also not a military history. A couple of sieges are describe in some detail but the conduct of war and battle is really not part of the story Tyerman is trying to tell.

That story is enlightening and the book is useful as a companion to some other work - Runciman, for example - that recounts the historical events, or for those already familiar with them. But by presenting this as a "new history" rather than as a specialized work, the publisher has done a disservice to the author and the public. The book will disappoint those who start the struggle through Tyerman's unfortunately tendentious and clumsy prose expecting to be told "what happened" and get instead 900 pages about the background of why it happened.


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