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Fighting for the Cross: Crusading to the Holy Land [Hardcover]

By Norman Housley (Author)
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Item description for Fighting for the Cross: Crusading to the Holy Land by Norman Housley...

In a series of massive military undertakings that stretched from 1095 to 1291, Christendom's armies won, defended, and lost the sacred sites of the Holy Land. Many books have been written about the Crusades, but until now none has described in detail what is was like to take part in medieval Europe's most ambitious wars. This vividly written book draws on extensive research and on a wealth of surviving contemporary accounts to recreate the full experience of crusading, from the elation of taking up the cross to the difficult adjustments at home when the war was over. Distinguished historian Norman Housley explores the staggering logistical challenges of raising, equipping, and transporting thousands of Christian combatants from Europe to the East as well as the complications that non-combatant pilgrims presented. He describes the ordinary crusader's prolonged years of difficult military tasks, risk of starvation and disease, trial of religious faith, death of friends, and the specter of heavy debt or stolen homelands upon arriving home. Creating an unprecedented sense of immediacy, Housley brings to light the extent of crusaders' sacrifices and the religious commitment that enabled them to endure.

From Publishers Weekly
Narrative histories of the Crusades tend toward bloody accounts of a particular Crusade. This imaginative thematic treatment draws on all the Crusades to portray them coherently as a centuries-long institution of armed pilgrimage, with its own religious ideology, economic imperatives, social dynamics and folkways. After a lucid synopsis of the seven major Crusades from 1096 to 1291, British historian Housley (University of Leicester) offers a topical survey of the crusader experience, drawn from letters, songs and other primary sources. He covers the recruitment of crusaders by superstar preachers; the horrific journeys by sea (with terrifying storms and wormy food) or land (with Turkish attacks and no food at all); protocols for plundering cities; attitudes toward the Muslim foe; commoners resentment for their overlords; and the occasionally triumphant but often dejected homecoming. The chapter on crusader warfare, which corrects the usual overemphasis on knightly cavalry, is especially good. Throughout, Housley focuses on crusading as a sincere, if easily misdirected, expression of Catholic belief, a march toward personal salvation through the collective recovery of the Holy Land. This rich, multifaceted study imparts a deeper understanding of why and how medieval Christendom went to war. Photos, maps. (Sept.)Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Fighting for the Cross: Crusading to the Holy Land by Norman Housley has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christian Century - 08/24/2010 page 38
  • Publishers Weekly - 07/21/2008 page 152
  • Library Journal - 09/01/2008 page 142
  • Choice - 11/01/2009

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Yale University Press
Pages   357
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.44" Width: 6.58" Height: 1.35"
Weight:   1.75 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 11, 2008
Publisher   Yale University Press
ISBN  0300118880  
ISBN13  9780300118889  

Availability  0 units.

More About Norman Housley

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Norman Housley is professor of history and Head of the School of Historical Studies, University of Leicester. He is a world authority on the Middle Ages and on the Crusades in particular. He lives in Leicester, UK.

Norman Housley has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Leicester Professor of History, University of Leicester.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Europe
3Books > Subjects > History > Military > Weapons & Warfare
4Books > Subjects > History > World > Medieval
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology

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Reviews - What do customers think about Fighting for the Cross: Crusading to the Holy Land?

Solid introduction to a complicated field  Apr 21, 2009
Norman Housley has been a major figure in Crusading scholarship for decades, and his reputation for thoroughness and evocative writing is well-deserved. This book is perfect for the undergraduate or lay reader looking for a carefully constructed introduction to the mentality of the Crusades. Professor Housley's interest has often focused on the men and women who participated in the Crusades, and here he attempts to shed light on their emotional responses to the ideas and actualities of crusading. This is a vivid, wide-ranging book that personalizes the various experiences of Western Europeans who marched off to Jerusalem. Even for specialists in the field, this book is a refreshing and human look at what is often examined through battle statistics and contemporary political evocations. Really attuned to the "why" of crusading, Housley explores the various reactions to and notions of Crusade over two hundred years, and asks many fascinating questions along the way.

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