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

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,088 ratings  ·  90 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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Denerick
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...more
أشرف فقيه
مكتوب بلغة سهلة ومغر بالقراءة. حافل بالتفاصيل المدهشة خاصة فيما يتعلق بحياة ريتشارد قلب الأسد.
Grace Tjan

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...more
Louise
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...more
Tony
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
Rachmanovic
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
Leli
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...more
Ross
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...more
Dominique
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
M
قرأت هذا الكتاب قبل أكثر من ٥ 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
Rich


This is a book that I had been meaning to read for a long time. It did a good job of capturing the personalities and characters of Richard the Lionhearted and Saladin. I now have a better sense of how Richard and his father Henry II fit into British history, and a better chronological sense of British history and the monarchy. The book really did a good job fleshing out the context of Richard and his world and the internecine struggles going on within the monarchy and between Britain and France...more
Emily Ann Meyer
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
Michelle
Often when I read history books, I discover that the place and time described is not a time when I would have wanted to live. With the Saladin tax (3 year tax of one tenth of each subject's earnings which could be avoided by joining the Crusades), the rampant antiseminitism in England and the way that religion and government were not really separate entities, England under the rule of Richard the Lion Hearted is another example of this.

I found intriguing that when a compromise was proposed by S...more
Karyl
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.
Gary Coon
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

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...more
Eddie van Rensburg
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...more
Kristie
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
Jonathan
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...more
Callista
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...more
Jennie
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...more
Glenn Robinson
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
Art
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
Ricardo
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...more
Paul
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...more
Henry
Good book about the history of the Third Crusade. It's a very nice read that doesn't uses the tone you will find in other history books. My only complain is that at some points the author seems to mock the men he is talking about. For example, he tells the tale of an European noble prisoner that greatly impressed Saladin's court. His own people were begging him for the release of this prisoner. Saladin decided to take a ride on his horse to think about it, but in his ride he came upon the Crusad...more
Chris Allsop
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it's narrative telling of the Third Crusade and the relationship between Richard and Saladin. I did find myself frustrated at times by the author's lack of citations and references, which I found caused me to wonder what was a primary source and what was his own conjecture. Other than that, great book!
Dave Mackey
I really enjoyed this book. Reston brings to life a time period with so many lead characters that it is difficult to follow and does so with an artist and novelists touch. The vibrant picture of Richard the Lionheart and Saladin is especially fascinating. Unfortunately, I found myself at times pondering some of the ideas Reston makes throughout the book - his ideology seems to be determinedly liberal and at times one wonders if this is informing some of his perceptions. Still, overall, the work...more
Arieltsmith
This book was so good that my husband stole it from me. *Before* I got to finish it. In his double biography of Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, balances the reality and romance of these two men during the 3rd Crusade. Although the book is weighted a little heavier on the Richards side (I'd say it's 60% Richard, 40% Saladin), you come away feeling like both men have been explored fairly. Saladin is a formidable opponent, and a better king and diplomat who shows decidedly more compassion than C...more
Bill Bennett
Aug 20, 2014 Bill Bennett rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Bill by: i read about it in another book
an epic story of religious conflict in the 12th century. As it is today apparently God was on both sides. While some previous reviews thought the author was more sympathetic to Saladin I didn't pick up on that. Neither monarch was portrayed as "the hero" or "the villain". Both were noble in their own right and fought valiantly for their own beliefs. An excellant read for the history buff.
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5696301
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...more
More about James Reston Jr....
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