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The Atlas of the Crusades by Jonathan…
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The Atlas of the Crusades (original 1991; edition 1991)

by Jonathan Riley-smith

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130192,561 (3.71)None
Member:RandyStafford
Title:The Atlas of the Crusades
Authors:Jonathan Riley-smith
Info:Times Books (1991), Edition: 1st US Printin, Hardcover, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Crusades

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The Atlas of the Crusades by Jonathan Riley-Smith (1991)

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My reaction to reading this book in 1991.

I was amazed at the amount of information in 171 pages, everything from Mamluk and Catholic Church organizational structure to detailed reconstructions of the Christian conquest of the Baltics and Spain. This book, amongst other things, puts to lie the notion of the Crusades I was taught in school: that they were motivated by economic conquests. Actually they were quite expensive undertakings despite some 1950s cynical historians’ pronouncements. (Although, the peception of the Knights Templar mooching off crusading zeal via their European land holdings and banking may have led to their downfall.)

I was led to a couple of thoughts reading the text and staring at the maps depicting decades. One, came while reading about the Holy Land between the First and Second Crusades -- that, staring at these century spanning maps, you had to realize a man could have been born and lived in the Crusader states all of a very long life. It’s sometimes hard to remember the humans behind the dates or that the Crusader states were home to many as well as destination. The others were the what-ifs of the Crusades; in particular, what would have happened if St. John of Capistrano and János Hunyadi had successfully defended Belgrade. It’s hard to remember the actions of individual crusaders may have had a real, if ultimately unknowable, impact on Western history.

The book also had a nice section on Crusading’s legacy today. I was interested to note the Knights Hospitaller still exist today. ( )
  RandyStafford | Nov 11, 2012 |
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