Robert's Reviews > God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades

God's Battalions by Rodney Stark
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's review
Oct 07, 2011

it was amazing
Read from September 30 to October 07, 2011

I found this book to be very informative on a controversial period of European history. Stark explained the events of the crusades in an accessible way while filling in the details that provided a deeper understanding of the people and the times.

The "Case for the Crusades" aspect of the book was not an attempt at exonerating the violent legacy of the Crusades. It was an explanation of context and history that made the crusades a rational response to a genuine threat.

Stark used numerous statistics and examples to make his argument that the European crusaders were not intent on conquering the Holy Land for material gain or to establish early "colonies". Crusading was extremely expensive, dangerous (in terms of both travel to the region and combat), controversial in its own time, and ultimately unsustainable both strategically and financially.

The original thesis of this book seems more than tenable given the sheer amount of support Stark is able to cite. It was a truly eye-opening re-examination of the Crusades that calls into question the modern bias that interprets these undertakings as an exercise in European greed and aggression.

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