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The Templars: The Dramatic History of the Knights Templar, the Most Powerful Military Order of the Crusades

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,364 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Examines the history and legacy of the warrior monks, discussing their successful capture of the city of Jerusalem during the Crusades, and their eventual demise.
Paperback, 353 pages
Published March 14th 2006 by Perseus Books Group (first published 1999)
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3.59  · 
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 ·  1,364 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in July 2001.

In Eco's novel Foucault's Pendulum, every conspiracy theory, every mad story about secret societies, all of them involve the Templars. Their dramatic downfall and the bizarre accusations made against them tend to overshadow the rest of their two centuries of history and the purpose for which they worked.

Read aims to set out something of the true history of the Templars, avoiding the sort of speculation that Eco was talking about. His book is aime
Though this book is primarily about the Templars, it's also a history of the crusades. I actually learned more about the crusades from this relatively small book than I did from one 4 times its size. I guess the only part that irritated me a bit was I felt like the author spent more time than necessary pointing out anything that would justify the crusades. Otherwise 4 stars.
Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You
i always found the history and mystery and conspiracy surrounding the Templars to be fascinating... this book doesn't cover any new ground, at least not for me, but it does further explain some aspects of the legacy... just enough unseemliness and oddity to be a worthwhile read... seems there will always be unknowns and unanswerable questions...
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Accurate, detailed, professional, yet a real joy to read!
Oct 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

This is a rather exhaustive account not only of the Templars, but of the Crusades and the interactions between Popes and Kings during that period. That’s not a bad thing, though I had expected something a little more focused on the Templars as a group, and maybe more discussion of individual Templars as examples. Instead, there was a lot about individual kings and their reactions — fair enough, there’s probably more material available on them, but I still found it
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
I expected more from Read, as he is a tremendous writer. However, he used too many pages to describe relationships rather than the Templar knights themselves. I wanted to know more about their tactics, how they came into their wealth, their contributions to international banking, and the ideas they brought back with them from The Holy Land. Also disappointing to me was Read's need to anglicize French names. There's no need to do that, especially considering the preponderance of books on the subj ...more
David Melbie
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hsitory buffs
Recommended to David by: Bought it at a book sale.
The perfect book for learning the fascinating story of The Knights Templar. Separates the fantasies regarding them from the facts. Published in 1999, it precedes 9/11 enough to recognize how this story of humankind, both Christians and Muslims, at war constantly, and the perceived valor, honor, and glory of that which they consider holy warfare by both sides, is still being played out in the world today.
Thomas Jacob Jr.
Apr 25, 2017 marked it as to-read
I am very interested in learning more about the Crusades, but with only a cursory knowledge of this time period of European history, I found the entire first part of this book to go way over my head. Piers Paul Read takes several centuries worth of religion fanaticism and violence and runs through it at breakneck speed, with dozens upon dozens of names, figures, and places dropped and passed by in a blink of an eye. Without a firmer grounding on the subject, I am afraid this book is of little va ...more
Steve Cran
1099 the first crusade commences. saint Bernard clairvaux encourages people to take the cross and liberate Christian lands. Antioch a city near Antolia falls to muslim forces. The crusade reaches Jerusalem and in time Crusader Kingdoms are established. Political rule is hardly secure and pilgrims are not only harrassed but they are robbed, murdered and kidnapped. Hugh D'payens decides that a military order needs to be created in order to protect Christian pilgrims. Hugh convinces the pope and th ...more
Devin Hicks
Oct 05, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Templars, by Piers Paul Read, is an historical book of the Crusades. It tells of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic history, with many deaths and births. This three part text is informational and well written. It tells of the Temples and the Orders, the kings and the queens, the land and the sea, spanning all over Europe. It tells of treachery and truce, love and loss, and the ways of the medieval people. Also included is the separation of the sexes, the ways of the knights, and the punishment ...more
I gave this book only two stars because it was not the book I thought it was going to be. After reading the title and description I was basically expecting a biography on the The Templars. Instead what I got was a history of the crusades. It was overly detailed at times and I felt that the author sometimes jumped around on the time line so I was very confused in parts. Overall it was an interesting but if you are wanting to learn more about the Templars, this is not the book to read.
Nov 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An in-depth historical account of the creation, life and destruction of the Order of the Knights Templars. While the research and information being presented appears to be very good, the book was a hard read and took a while to get into.
Mehmet Dönmez
Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: tarih
Glad to eventually finish the book that has creeped for entire summer. I would not be that stubborn if I had not been trying to write a short story on templars...

The book’s English is too advanced for me, I know it’s not the writer’s fault but my lack of vocabulary... Don’t think I’ll read sth in English literature for some while, because it was very decelerating to read it with a translator in my hand. The book is not written in an academic format and contrary to what’s been written on the tit
Pedro Pascoe
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent read on the Knights Templar, from inception to their famous trials and beyond, free from the florid 'mythologizing' of the order, while acknowledging the conspiracy theories and pseudo-histories in a chapter towards the end of the book. The focus is sqaurely on the order, but, during the chapters on the Crusades, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a standard history of the Crusades that occasionally mention the Templars, rather than a Templar-focused history, which I found a litt ...more
George Stenger
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading "Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors," a book I finished inside 3 days. Highly compelling, page turning tale of the Uruguayan rugby team and their incredible tale of survival after their plane crash lands in the Chilean Andes. This was a more difficult read. A more compelling historical recounting of probably the Catholic Church's most famous monastic military order. However, this was a more labored book to finish due to what I believe was the author's attempt to nail every ...more
Robert Hepple
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1999, The Templars looks at the history of The Knights Templar. In putting this in context, quite a few pages are spent describing, in an objective way, the creation and spread of Christianity and the consequent creation of the Catholic Church, and the church's part in instigating the crusades to reclaim parts of the Holy Land from the spread of Islam. The Knights Templar were the most prominent of a number of monastic orders of Knights taking part in the crusades, and the book look ...more
Paul Skelding
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a good book about the Templars however it focuses heavily on relationships between the primary players in Templar history. The beginning and closing chapters I found the most useful following the establishment, Islam's origins, Templar Code and life, and finally the fall of the order. I felt that the most important battles of the order's history should have been included and more detail about some of the political maneuverings of kings, Masters of the Order and some of the Popes involved ...more
Oct 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was expecting a detailed history of Templars and what I received was a book that focuses on crusades. Last couple of chapters about the decline and end of Templars are more interesting since the focus is on them. This book would have been much more interesting if similiar level of explaining was there about the rise of Templars as well. I found it really confusing (and boring)when lot of names, titles, relationships and places are thrown in randomly. It is a slow and dry read and I really stru ...more
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Blood soaked account of a fascinating historical period. Piers Paul Read never gets carried away by the more outrageous legends surrounding the Templars and yet the story, when finished, is so startling it almost seems as if it took place on a different planet.
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I remember that this was a fascinating look at the life and times and tragic end of the Templars. What a absolutely cool monastic/warrior order. Infinitely interesting and will read again very soon
Sherry Cooper
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Read for our trip to Malta. On our way now.
I is too sopisticated. I stopped reading it
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read and a vocabulary stretcher.
Euan Pollock
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good history of the knights templar, and the major crusades that they aided with. Well-researched, and sifts the fact from fiction about the collapse of the order well.
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pretty good read, but a lot of information. It was a little tough to read.
Yve Stone-chase
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this but I found it boring. However I will put it up for a while and read something else. I’ll give it another try again in the future.
Matthew Hyde
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book! Kept to the facts and did not go into some mystic mysterious cult group theory.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it
A serviceable history of the Templars. A wee bit dry, but you get the gist.
Curtis Seven
Jan 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
OK having finished up this read I'd say that it's a good book as a basic starting point and it connects the past to the present in some respects but it's not really the ambition of the author to write a seminal ground changing work here. The Templars are important to understand in the sense that they were an important organization at the time when Europeans were just beginning to emerge into the modern era.

They operated at a time before banks, before factories, before voting, before common folks
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Phuong phap thiet ke nha theo phong cach moi la 1 1 Apr 04, 2019 08:29PM  

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British novelist and non-fiction writer. Educated at the Benedictines' Ampleforth College, and subsequently entered St John's College, University of Cambridge where he received his BA and MA (history). Artist-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation in Berlin (1963-4), Harkness Fellow, Commonwealth Fund, New York (1967-8), member of the Council of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (1971-5), member of ...more
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