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

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,360 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
Warriors of God is the rich and engaging account of the Third Crusade (1187-1192), a conflict that would shape world history for centuries and which can still be felt in the Middle East and throughout the world today. Acclaimed writer James Reston, Jr., offers a gripping narrative of the epic battle that left Jerusalem in Muslim hands until the twentieth century, bringing ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published May 14th 2002 by Anchor (first published 2001)
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Apr 14, 2009 Denerick rated it did not like it
To be perfectly frank, I don't understand why the author even bothered writing this book. Here are my reasons, which really do need to be structured in this way (Otherwise my rant will be an unstructured melee)

1) Richard the Lionheart is a helpless bugger, isn't he? Everything he does he does wrong or for fiendish reasons. On the other hand Saladin is a Saint guided only by justice, fairness and all the rest. He also takes at face value that he was gay, and most remarkably that he had a gay rela
Grace Tjan
Oct 15, 2011 Grace Tjan rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, medieval, 2011

A reasonably entertaining popular account of the Third Crusade, focusing on the storied relationship between Saladin and Richard Coeur de Lion, the fodder for so much romantic tales concocted by medieval troubadours. However, Reston seems to be unable to decide whether he wanted to write history or historical fiction, resulting in passages such as this:

“These affections were prophesied by no less a figure than Merlin the magician, who proclaimed that “the eagle of the broken covenant shall rejoi
Jul 21, 2013 Rachmanovic rated it it was amazing
Buku ini paling bagus pola pandangnya terhadap perseteruan perang Salib. James Reston Jr. benar2 berusaha berdiri di tengah-tengah dengan mengambil literatur secara adil dari dua belah pihak. Dibandingkan dengan kisah film Kingdom of Heaven buku ini paling jujur memandang seluruh detil kejadian di perang salib ke 3. Menggambarkan bagaimana kedua tokoh sentral antara Salahuddin al ayyubi dan Richard saling belajar dan saling mengkagumi. Yang paling menakjubkan saya dan mungkin dunia belum mengeta ...more
Jan 15, 2011 M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
قرأت هذا الكتاب قبل أكثر من سنوات، و ما زالت تحضرني الأوقات التي استمتعت فيها بقراءة كل صفحة من صفحاته. فالمؤلف اختار فترة الحرب الصليبية الثالثة لتكون أنموذجا يتناوله في كتابه عن الحروب الصليبية، و ذلك لأن تلك الفترة تحديدا جمعت اسمين عظيمين: صلاح الدين الأيوبي و ريتشارد قلب الأسد. و كم أحسن في كتابه الذي يتميز بروح الإنصاف. فهو عندما يتحدث عن الجانب الإسلامي يتحدث و كأنه واحد منهم، و عندما يتحدث عن الجانب الصليبي يتقمص هويتهم، فيصل القارئ إلى تصور واضح عن منطلقات كلا الطرفين. و هذه هي الميزة ...more
أشرف فقيه
Aug 01, 2010 أشرف فقيه rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
مكتوب بلغة سهلة ومغر بالقراءة. حافل بالتفاصيل المدهشة خاصة فيما يتعلق بحياة ريتشارد قلب الأسد.
Mar 13, 2013 Louise rated it it was amazing
James Reston makes history come alive. This is the third of his books that I've read. Each has held my interest and increased my understanding of its respective period.

What makes his work compelling is Reston's ability to draw character portraits. In this book he helps you to understand the issues from the perspectives of both Richard and Saladin. You understand what each is risking and what the rewards for each might be. Reston clearly likes both these leaders. He enjoys their interplay, their
Mar 24, 2011 Tony rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Reston, Jr., James. WARRIORS OF GOD: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade. (2001). ***. I should know better, but I fall into the same trap time after time. I find a book that deals with the Christian-Islamic conflict – in this case, the Third Crusade (1187-1192) – in hopes of better understanding the roots of this aged conflict, and soon find that I am bogged down in place names that I have mostly never heard of peopled by a huge cast of characters whose names – on the Arab si ...more
Jan 02, 2008 Leli rated it it was amazing
Seperti nonton turnamen catur kelas master.
Banyak strategi, diplomasi, perang fisik, perang mental. Catur improvisasi: pion bisa jadi bidak, kuda bisa jadi menteri, raja jadi ksatria, ratu jadi mentri, etc

Cara bercerita Reston enak banget, deskripstif, kronologis, analogi ayat2nya "masuk" ke kondisi saat itu (dan saat sekarang juga) dan berbunga-bunga. Agak lambat di bagian pertama, masuk ke bagian kedua.. ga bisa stop baca.
Waktu baca bagian perangnya, wah.. kaya lagi liat adegan perang di film
Jun 30, 2011 Ross rated it liked it
I'm really split about this book. On one hand, it's a very entertaining description of Richard the Lionhearted's adventures during the Third Crusade, and of Saladin's attempts to defend the Middle East. On the other hand, I feel like the author dramatizes the events far too much, to the point where I'm not sure whether I can trust him.

For example he told a fanciful and eye-opening account of Richard's homosexuality and relationship with Philip of France. I later did some independent research an
Dec 12, 2007 Dominique rated it did not like it
My biggest concern about this book is the argument that the author presents Richard the Lionheart as a homosexual and hee and Philip II of France were lovers. What evidence does the author have of this? My concern there is that how people, especially men, express their emotions has changed over the years; what people said then, we might translate as something only two people in love would say. And I question the research this author has done based on the one passage in the book concerning Robin ...more
Emily Ann Meyer
Aug 19, 2009 Emily Ann Meyer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, 2009
Had I not read Alison Weir's book first, I may not have been quite so turned off by this one, but in contrast to Weir's honest, direct, and balanced historicism, it was clear that Reston had an agenda and his omission of facts (including the fact of Eleanor and his affianced traveling to Italy so he could be married) in order to support that agenda--which boiled down to "Richard was gay, isn't that scandalous, whisper-whisper, nudge-nudge" really turned me off, and made me pretty much unwilling ...more
Richard Deem
Jun 24, 2015 Richard Deem rated it liked it
This book is "popular history" with a strong emphasis on the "popular". One critical reviewer is very right when they point out Reston's inattention sources, wild assumptions/exaggerations, dramatization, and of course his adherence to the "great man theory" of history. I am less in agreement with the common attack on this book that it is somehow unfairly critical of the European invaders and too praising of Saladin, who by modern secular/liberal morality, was indeed the "better" of these two le ...more
Elliott Bignell
Apr 08, 2015 Elliott Bignell rated it it was amazing
This is a very entertaining piece of popular history. As usual for such work, it may be of less interest to the serious and well-informed student of history, but I would recommend it anyway just for the fun it will give you. The author manages to make the events exciting and draw the reader in, but not without the occasional hint of farce. At the same time, by keeping you reading the book brings across just how differently thought was structured in the Middle Ages. Richard's Crusade was ultimate ...more
Nov 28, 2009 Karyl rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I couldn't even finish this book. I made it page 206, but could go no further. Every once in a while, the action would pick up and I would be interested once more, but in general this book was far too plodding to engage me. I have better books to spend my time on than ones I have to force myself to read.
Feb 03, 2015 Shane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I wavered for a long time between "4" and "3", but I've decided to be generous. "Warriors of God" was a very engaging read. I already had an interest in the subject and timeframe (I'm currently playing Assassins' Creed, after all) and Reston did not disappoint: he kept the tale moving quickly and interestingly. The book is obviously very well-researched, although sometimes Reston makes claims without really backing them up particularly well. Also, there are a few side narratives that didn't real ...more
Gary Coon
May 09, 2010 Gary Coon rated it liked it
Shelves: favorites
A good historical review of the 3rd crusade. The mix of olde style grammar and new slang was weird. Added bonus about Robin Hood thrown in at the end.
Al-Haitham Al-Sanie
May 16, 2014 Al-Haitham Al-Sanie rated it really liked it

Goo to reads the other part of the story ,

conflict that would shape world history for centuries and which can still be felt in the Middle East and throughout the world today. Acclaimed writer James Reston, Jr., offers a gripping narrative of the epic battle that left Jerusalem in Muslim hands until the twentieth century, bringing an objective perspective to the gallantry, greed, and religious fervor that fueled the bloody clash between Christians and Muslims.

its a very grate interesting book, go
Jul 05, 2008 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i don't why but i like Saladin
Eddie van Rensburg
Dec 12, 2010 Eddie van Rensburg rated it really liked it
I started reading this book as a result of watching Ridley Scott's Robin Hood with Russel Crowe. The movie opens with Richard fighting his way back across France, bankrupt and returning to England. In the movie Richard is killed laying the foundation of the plot for the legend of Robin Hood.

This is not how it happened.

The book is great and entertaining reading and I think the author attempts to create Richard and Saladin as they may have been and what they could have thought through the time of
Jul 19, 2013 Kristie rated it really liked it
I initially picked up this book to gain a bit more insight on Richard I's life leading up to the Third Crusade. I quickly found that Reston was able to pull me in with the tales of Saladin. My educational background is Eurocentric with very little perspective of the Islamic experience in any of the Crusades. This book reads as a tit or tat account of how both men found themselves pitted against each other for every reason except religion. The primary source material is a bit scarce as it pertain ...more
Aug 20, 2013 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book for several reasons, one of which is my fascination with crusader history.

That said, this book is what it promises. It focuses specifically on the relationships, experiences, lives, and interactions of Richard coeur de lion and Saladin. It does spend quite a bit of time analyzing the state of Richard's kingdom in Europe, as well as the importance of Eleanor of Aquitaine, but all of this feeds into Richard's character and mythos, and establishes that he was working with a time l
Feb 12, 2016 Nicole rated it it was ok
A very informative book. I learned a lot about medieval politics and warfare. It's amazing how much ego was involved in the Third Crusade on all sides, despite the claims of acting in the name of faith.
I have some quibbles with the way the material was presented, though. The author seemed to be trying to liven up the material with cheeky or gossipy remarks and random quotes. While Richard's strengths and faults were explored, the author's depictions of King Philip of France and Saladin felt one
Reston's history of the 3rd Crusade (starring none other than Saladin and Richard I) reads like an adventure novel, with larger-than-life personalities, interpersonal conflicts, and brilliant battle scenes. Unlike most history books, I sped through this as if it were a work of fiction.

Don't be fooled by the cover blurbs' claims of an unbiased narrative, however. I felt it was definitely biased, just not in the "Europeans good, Arabs bad" story arcs we've sadly become accustomed to. I had the dis
Glenn Robinson
Jul 02, 2014 Glenn Robinson rated it really liked it
Excellent coverage of the Third Crusade and the two leaders, Richard the Lion-Hearted and Saladin, along with many of the lesser leaders. An unforgiving era for all. This went into the history of the Third Crusade, the goals, the battles and the aftermaths. More intrigue and battles were fought among the Christians than with the Muslims. It is amazing that any battles were fought at all. Saladin truly was a excellent leader. Richard hard core. Both died of wounds to their limbs, lacking medicine ...more
Andrew Lord
Nov 17, 2015 Andrew Lord rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful breakdown of the Third Crusade. In one corner, you have Saladin, one of the greatest and most honorable leaders in world history. In the other corner, Richard the Lionheart, an unstoppable force - the epitome of bravery and military leadership - who struck fear into the entire Muslim world with a swing of his sword. How the history of the Middle East and Europe would have changed, had Richard stayed true to his cause (practically the only time he didn't live up to his name). Gre ...more
David Pierdomenico
Mar 19, 2016 David Pierdomenico rated it really liked it
Reston's book is an excellent resource of the Third Crusade. The book itself jumps back and forth between the perspectives of Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, thus giving a well rounded account of the event. It paints them not as bitter enemies, but respected adversaries, who might have been good friends had they been of the same side or religion. This is an important read, especially in light of the all the similar conflict in the world today.
Mar 16, 2008 Art rated it liked it
The authors skill at the narrative style made this book a pleasure to read. While the writing style is the works greatest strength it is also its greatest weakness. By personalizing the third crusade in the actions of King Richard and Saladin the reader is drawn into the story. The book is not weighed down by the verbose language of a heavy academic work. Unfortunately the book lacks the intellectual weight to make up for its clean writing. At times I felt like I was reading a screenplay vice a ...more
Sep 27, 2014 Ricardo rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
The book accompanies both leaders in parallel throughout the period which encompassed the third crusade .
Although having as background the Third Crusade, this book provides a detailed portrayal of two iconic figures in world history. We see that Richard is not the typical Chivalry Knight we're used to seeing from romances and movies and Saladin is not the middle-eastern ruler religiously-blind as the Occident tends to see Arabs.
What I found most interesting it's the reason why Saladin was succes
Christina Maria
May 04, 2015 Christina Maria rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who want a readable history
Reston definitely plays up the drama and has no qualms about interpreting historical figures as he sees fit. I wish he had talked more about his sources, especially considering he presents most of the information he finds as undisputed fact and seems to cherry pick the narratives he prefers.

The whole thing seems blatantly biased in certain areas after having read other works on the same period, people and places. He seems to idealize some people while maligning others, and I don't trust this bo
Jul 10, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid and engaging history of the ill-fated 3rd Crusade. It's nice that Reston had a bit more from the Islamic side than his later books, where the Christians take center stage. It does bring up the possibility that Rich Coeur de Lion might have been gay, but it isn't brought up as often as other reviewers seem to think it was and really says more about them than the book. More surprising was that he barely spoke any English!

Much of the book reflects somewhat badly on the Crusaders, for obviou
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James Reston Jr. (born 1941, New York City) is an American author and journalist. His father was the American journalist James Reston.

Reston was raised in Washington, D.C. He earned his BA in philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) while on a Morehead Scholarship. At UNC, he was an All-South soccer player, and retains the single game scoring record for the university (5
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