Despite how dragged out some of the last books Jordan wrote were, Sanderson really revitalized this series and brought it to an exciting conclusion in...moreDespite how dragged out some of the last books Jordan wrote were, Sanderson really revitalized this series and brought it to an exciting conclusion in the last 3 books. There were parts of this where loose ends were tied rather quickly (view spoiler)[thinking Padan Fain's reappearance and Mat's quick handling of that (hide spoiler)], but overall an enjoyable experience.
I felt sadness when certain characters died (not really a spoiler that someone dies) and joy at some victories. I'll need more time to see if this calls to me the way Firefly did after it was done. Might re-read the series some day, but for now I am happy to have reached the end of this epic. ["br"]>["br"]>(less)
"The Crusades were not unprovoked. They were not the first round of European colonialism. They were not conducted for land, loot, or converts. The Cru...more"The Crusades were not unprovoked. They were not the first round of European colonialism. They were not conducted for land, loot, or converts. The Crusaders were not barbarians who victimized the cultivated Muslims. They sincerely believed they were serving in God's Battalions."
The conclusion of Stark's book drives home a point I do not disagree with, but the way he goes about getting to this conclusion is unbecoming of a historian.
The first few chapters of this book I enjoyed and found to be very interesting. Having studied the Crusades a few years ago, I was looking forward to revisiting some of those studies in a more narrative format. After he dismisses several Arab accounts of the Crusades and the way people have used them, he proceeds to do just the same with Western ones. The hypocrisy with which he broaches this subject had me screaming inside my head in the same vein used in my observation of US politicians. If this were on a news network the Daily Show would be right there with video of him previously condemning the very thing he is exploiting in his sources.
By taking the extreme opposite of the "prevailing" view of the Crusades, that Christians were mindless barbarians in search of wealth (among other things), he dismisses the significance of the slaughter of human beings in name of religion. He does not merely say the Crusades were unprovoked, one gets the sense he thought they were a thoroughly good thing. The apology by Pope John Paul II for the sacking of Constantinople during the 4th Crusade was ridiculed and he misses the entire point of the apology. I believe there is a Christian sentiment of "turn the other cheek?" Regardless of what extreme you take this to, saying you are sorry, even when you do not have to, is not necessarily a bad thing.
I found this book to be promising, but infuriating. In the writing of this I have decided to downgrade from 3, to 2, to 1 star. In reflection of my comments about Stark's work, I will revise this to a 2, because taking an extreme on this just to make it a point would be very hypocritical of me.
Although Martin doesn't pull punches and is not afraid to kill of some characters, this is falling into the Wheel of Time trap. At this point I don't...moreAlthough Martin doesn't pull punches and is not afraid to kill of some characters, this is falling into the Wheel of Time trap. At this point I don't really know what happened in a book by the end of it. A lot of scheming and plotting and angry words, but the story has not really moved forward much. Splitting this book from the last one didn't really help in my mind. Maybe it is my fault for listening to this over a month and just listening as opposed to reading in general.
Didn't dislike, but I'm not being pulled in to listen at every opportunity like I was with the first books.(less)