Item description for Crusader Castles by Hugh Kennedy...
This is a general account of the history and architecture of Crusader castles in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, County of Tripoli and Principality of Antioch between 1099 and 1291, the years during which the Crusaders had a permanent presence on the Levantine coast. Extensive use is made of contemporary chronicles to show the reasons why castles were built and how they were used in peace and war. The book is fully illustrated by photographs, drawings and plans, and contains a comprehensive bibliography.
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Studio: Cambridge University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.7" Width: 6.8" Height: 0.6" Weight: 1.24 lbs.
Release Date Sep 22, 2014
Publisher Cambridge University Press
ISBN 0521799139 ISBN13 9780521799133
Availability 67 units. Availability accurate as of Mar 25, 2017 07:52.
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More About Hugh Kennedy
Hugh Kennedy has taught in the Department of Mediaeval History at the University of St. Andrews since 1972. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2000. Professor Kennedy lives in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Hugh Kennedy was born in 1977 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Department of the Languages and Cultures of Near and Middle East Schoo.
Reviews - What do customers think about Crusader Castles?
Beyond Krak des Chevaliers Oct 22, 2002
This book successfully pulls off the difficult trick of being both a serious scholarly text and an enormously engaging introduction to the history and architecture of Crusader castles for the lay reader. The book is an obvious labor of love, which helps to account for its great charm. You first get a sense of this on the dedication page - "For Xana, with love, to remind her of Syrian days" - whereby Kennedy expresses his appreciation for his daughter's companionship on his rovings around Syria. (In his "Acknowledgements," he also credits his daughter with persuading him "to complete the climb to Bourzey when the spirit was willing but the flesh was getting a bit weak.")
If you needed any further confirmation that Kennedy is a scholar with a puckish sense of humor and a droll wit, you get it at the beginning of his "Note on Names," where he wryly observes that, "Like the naming of cats, the naming of Crusader castles is a complicated problem." Kennedy's writing voice conjures to mind images of a cozy library in some great English country house, where your host relaxes in a satin smoking jacket while both of you swirl brandy in your snifters and discourse about the comparative merits of crumbling castles on the western fringes of Asia. The book's first chapter - a survey of the development of Crusader castle studies from the mid-nineteenth century to the present - beautifully encapsulates Kennedy's discursive style and story-telling skills. "[Emmanuel Guillaume] Rey's life is something of a mystery," he muses, and you want to lean forward from your chair on the opposite side of the fireplace and say, "Tell me more." And he does, with an notable eye for the memorable quote, such as T.E. Lawrence's ironic complaint, while traveling around the Levant in 1909, that he was unable to reach Amman owing to "the unthinking activity of some local Bedawin in tearing up the Hejaz railway."
In form, the book consists of a generally chronological survey of the development of the Crusader castle, with individual chapters on siege warfare and the special features of (respectively) the castles of Templars, Teutonic knights, Hospitallers, and the Muslim princes. Another sign of Kennedy's passionate engagement with this project is the fact that he took all of the 90-some color and black-and-white photographs that illustrate the book himself. (There are also another two dozen plans, sketches, and prints illustrating the text.)
The photographs, together with Kennedy's text, cover not only the well-known structures like Krak des Chevaliers, Belvoir, Saone, and Montfort, but will also introduce you to a fascinating collection of lesser-known castles. Among these are the great Hospitaller citadel of Marqat, near the Syrian coast; the two castles overlooking ancient Petra; and - most curious of all - the cave-castle of al-Halbis Jaldak overlooking the Yarmuk River valley, the subject of a siege memorably described by the twelfth-century historian William of Tyre (which Kennedy helpfully quotes in its entirety). Kennedy's enthusiasm also extends to the humbler fortified towers of the lesser Latin nobility.
Kennedy's secret is plainly that he is both a scholar and a romantic - as anyone who wishes to write effectively about the Crusades should probably be. Let me close this review by quoting his own explanation for his enterprise in producing this book:
"There is something fascinating and frequently moving about forlorn and failed enterprises, those `old, forgotten far-off things and battles long ago,' however perverse they may now seem. It is impossible for me to stand on the windswept battlements of Crac des Cevaliers, climb to the remote crags of the fortress overlooking Petra or explore the magical stillness of the deserted valley by Bourzey, without feeling a potent mixture of admiration and nostalgia which breathes excitement and emotional commitment into scholarship."
This book can be enthusiastically recommended to history buffs and armchair travelers, as well as to those with a more scholarly basis for their interest.