Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade” as Want to Read:
Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  1,510 Ratings  ·  107 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
ebook, 448 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Anchor (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Warriors of God, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Warriors of God

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 14, 2009 Denerick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 04, 2011 Grace Tjan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 21, 2013 Rachmanovic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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
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.
Dec 27, 2007 Leli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 24, 2011 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 22, 2007 Dominique rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
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
Jun 30, 2011 Ross rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Emily Ann Meyer
Jan 02, 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
Nov 16, 2009 Karyl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 05, 2008 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i don't why but i like Saladin
Gary Coon
Aug 19, 2009 Gary Coon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 26, 2017 Nicole-Rose rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: harlequin historians
Recommended to Nicole-Rose by: personal masochism
I tried to look past my anger and uncontrollable frustration with this book and consider the piece as a whole, despite its inexcusable flaws. Hence, the two-star rating instead of one.

None of this frustration is to say that Reston is a poor writer. In fact, his prose is quite engaging despite being a bit void of life at some points in the narrative. My most prominent concern is with his lack of citation throughout the text proper. Bibliographies are great. They really are. But if an author make
Dana Wilson
Jun 22, 2017 Dana Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly enjoyed this book. He made history and historical figures come alive. I have learned much about this time period through this book and learned a little more about how the early Christians viewed their world along with learning a little more about Muslims; learned about the eternal struggle for who controls Jerusalem. I was able to learn more about the key figures, the personalities, strengths, and weaknesses and how it affected both the war and the people around them. It is interesting ...more
This is an odd duck. Very engaging and exciting, and deeply informative about these two figures. It's remarkably balanced, and I learned a great deal about the political situation in the Middle East at the times. But it's also oddly dramatic and has sections where the writing drops into an odd almost narrative/fictional tone.

Still, worth a read, definitely

[Pardon the finish date, I'm just going through and clearing out a bunch of "currently reading" books from a long time ago]
Richard Deem
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
Dec 15, 2012 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
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
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
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
Jul 11, 2013 Kristie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 16, 2008 Art rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Elliott Bignell
Apr 08, 2015 Elliott Bignell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 24, 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
Christina Maria
Mar 14, 2015 Christina Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 03, 2009 Henry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jun 02, 2014 Ricardo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dave Mackey
Mar 13, 2011 Dave Mackey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople
  • Dungeon, Fire and Sword: The Knights Templar in the Crusades
  • The First Crusade: A New History
  • A History of the Crusades, Vol. II: The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East, 1100-1187
  • Arab Historians of the Crusades
  • Templars: The Dramatic History of the Knights Templar, the Most Powerful Military Order of the Crusades
  • The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades
  • The Crusades
  • 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West
  • The Hundred Years War: The English in France 1337-1453
  • Henry II
  • The New Concise History of the Crusades (Critical Issues in World and International History)
  • Chronicles of the Crusades
  • Sea of Faith: Islam and Christianity in the Medieval Mediterranean World
  • Armies of Heaven: The First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse
  • Becoming Charlemagne: Europe, Baghdad, and the Empires of A.D. 800
  • Robert the Bruce: King of Scots
  • The Conquering Family (The Plantagenets, #1)
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 about James Reston Jr....

Share This Book