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Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and…

Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade

by James Reston Jr.

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"James Reston, Jr., re-creates the collision of the Christian holy wars and the Muslim jihad at the end of the twelfth century. A dual biography of the legendary Richard the Lionheart and the Sultan Saladin, iconic hero of the Islamic world, Warriors of God recounts the life of each man and reveals the passions of the times that brought them face-to-face in the final battle of the Third Crusade." "Richard the Lionheart, commonly depicted as the romantic personification of chivalry, here emerges in his full complexity and contradiction as Reston examines the dark side of Richard's role as the leader of the blood-soaked Crusade and breaks new ground by openly discussing Richard's homosexuality. Reston's compelling portrait of Saladin brings to life the wise, highly cultured leader who realized an enduring Arab dream by uniting Egypt and Syria and whose conquest of Jerusalem not only sparked the Third Crusade but ignited the first jihad and turned Saladin into a hero of epic proportions. In riveting descriptions, Reston captures the fascinating clash of the two armies as they battled their way to the outskirts of Jerusalem. There, Saladin's brilliant maneuvers and Richard's sudden failure of nerve turned the tide. Sweeping readers into a mesmerizing period of history, Warriors of God is a provocative look at two towering leaders and the not always noble causes for which they fought."
  St-Johns-Episcopal | Jun 13, 2017 |
This is a lively Account of the Third Crusade, with additional biography. Sloppy writing and some errors of fact though. I wouldn't use this as my primary resource on the Crusade ( )
  DinadansFriend | Apr 6, 2015 |
A good account of history told in an easy to read style. Reston really breathes some life into his characters and this interesting period of history without taking too many liberties. Saladin appears more the gentleman than Richard who loses some of his lustre, is not perhaps the model hero, that the Lionheart suggests. I will be looking for more of Reston's work. ( )
2 vote bernsad | Dec 5, 2009 |
An unforgettable scene of Richard riding up and down a collumn of enemy Saracens, daring any to single combat, and none took him up on it. ( )
1 vote Cole_Hendron | Oct 8, 2009 |
This book is a highly readable popular history of the Third Crusade. The tone amazes me, so different it is from previous books I have read on the Crusades. What little I remember goes back to my high school reading, when crusaders were sort of high-minded people, and when the notion of conquering the Holy Land for Christ sort of made sense. Clearly it doesn’t today, and Reston is at some pains to point this out. He is also highly disrespectful to the Western leaders of the day, Richard the Lionheart and Philip Augustus, mythical creatures on a par with George Washington and Queen Elizabeth I. Reston depicts them as homosexual lovers whose affair gone wrong was the catalyst for much of the suffering and outrage that became the Third Crusade. Reston’s hero is clearly Saladin who is not only sexually straight, but largely high-minded and tolerant of religions that are not his own, at least tolerant of Christianity. An excellent addition to my library of books about the development of the Middle East and Islam. ( )
1 vote baobab | Jun 12, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Reston Jr.primary authorall editionscalculated
Genta Bonelli, F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santarrita, MarcosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Early in the twelfth century, in the city of Tovin in northern Armenia close to Georgia, there lived an eminent family of Kurds, the master of whose house was surnamed Najm ad-Din, which meant "excellent prince and star of religion."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This quote is from the WIKI article about the writer William Monahan commenting on his screenplay Kingdom of Heaven.

>>In 2005, author James Reston Jr. claimed Monahan's screenplay for Kingdom of Heaven violated the copyright of his 2001 novel Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade. Reston claimed he had previously offered Ridley Scott the book for a movie deal but was turned down. He alleged that the entire second half of Monahan's shooting script was based on the first 105 pages of his book, and noted that Kingdom of Heaven is the title of the second chapter in his book.[54] 20th Century Fox denied all of Reston's claims and Monahan, in an e-mail, commented, "There was no infringement, period. I've been familiar with the fall of the Latin Kingdom for thirty-odd years." Reston did not pursue the matter and never filed a lawsuit.[55]
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385495625, Paperback)

Throughout the medieval era, the Holy Land was a fiercely contested battlefield, fought over by huge Muslim and Christian armies, by zealots and assassins. The Third Crusade, spanning five years at the end of the 12th century, was, writes James Reston Jr. in this absorbing account, "Holy War at its most virulent," overseen by two great leaders, the Kurdish sultan Salah ad-Din, or Saladin, and the English king Richard, forevermore known as Lionheart.

Writing with a keen sense of historical detail and drama, Reston traces the complex path by which Saladin and Richard came to face each other on the field of battle. The Crusades, he observes, began "as a measure to redirect the energies of warring European barons from their bloody, local disputes into a 'noble' quest to reclaim the Holy Land from the 'infidel'." Of the five Crusades over 200 years, only the first was successful, to the extent that the Christian armies were able to conquer their objective of Jerusalem. The Third Crusade, as Reston ably shows, was complicated by fierce rivalries among the Christian leaders, by a chain of military disasters that led to the destruction of an invading German army and its emperor, and by the dedication of an opposing Islamic army that shared both a goal and a language.

Saladin, Reston writes, was a brilliant leader and a merciful victor, but capable of costly errors; Richard was extraordinarily skilled at combat, but his lack of resolve cost him many battles, and, ultimately, Jerusalem. Richard returned to Europe, Saladin to Damascus. Neither leader has long to live, and the peace they made would soon be broken. James Reston's splendid book does them both honor while examining a conflict that has never really ended. --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:38 -0400)

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