lynne naranek's Reviews > The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam

The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam by Jonathan Riley-Smith
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's review
Dec 28, 08

bookshelves: 2008
Read in December, 2008

It took me about 6 weeks to finally finish this book. I'd read a few pages, and find my eyelids drooping, so I'd close it, and pick it up a few days later, only for the same thing to happen again... over and over and over.

A big reason for this was the first two chapters. Okay, so each chapter was essentially a lecture that the author had given on the topic of the Crusades. But the first two were really, really dry, and swimming in names and dates that made my eyes glaze over really really quickly. I suppose the talks were delivered to an audience who knew their history. I ain't one of them. I had a tough time.

But I persevered. I saw how the crusades might have started as a true opportunity for penitence, and how with the fall of Jerusalem to the Muslims, the church upped the rhetoric and started condoning, encouraging, religious violence.

Then came chapter three: where in the 1800's, countries started majorly expanding and colonising other nations in Africa and elsewhere, using Crusade rhetoric to justify what was essentially their imperialistic intentions.

And chapter four: where the victims of chapter three (many of them Muslims) are now fighting against what they perceive to be a continued crusade against them, and folks of the Western world have no real idea what they are talking about, because for the most part, as far as they know, the crusades are something from the way-back-when, and something that they'd rather not think about, a blot in their history.

I'm not really sure what to think of the book or its contents, mainly because I'm not sure how much of it I actually absorbed. If nothing else, pick it up for Chapters 3 & 4, and if you want to know more, then move on to Chapters 1 & 2.


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