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The Crusades: The World's Debate [Paperback]

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Item Number 127196  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   250
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.74" Width: 4.96" Height: 0.54"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 3, 1992
Publisher   T A N Books & Publishers
ISBN  0895554674  
EAN  9780895554673  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Belloc shows that the Crusades were a titanic struggle between Christian civilization and "the Turk," savage Mongols who had embraced Islam. He explains the practical reasons why the Crusaders initially succeeded and why they ultimately failed then he predicts the re-emergence of Islam, since Christendom failed to destroy it in the 12th century. Makes history come alive and gives a rare, true appreciation of Christendom and of our Catholic forefathers!

Buy The Crusades: The World's Debate by Hilaire Belloc from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780895554673 & 0895554674

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More About Hilaire Belloc

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Hilaire Belloc was born at St. Cloud, France, in 1870. He and his family moved to England upon his father s death, where he took first-class honors in history at Balliol College in Oxford, graduating in 1895. It has been stated that his desire was to rewrite the Catholic history of both France and England. He wrote hundreds of books on the subjects of history, economics, and military science, as well as novels and poetry. His works include The Great Heresies, Europe and the Faith, Survivals and New Arrivals, The Path to Rome, Characters of the Reformation, and How the Reformation Happened.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Good and thorough  Jan 2, 2004
This book is a very good and thorough examination of the Crusades and why Europe lost by explaining in an almost scene by scene replay of the event. Belloc was suportive of the Crusades and believed even back when he wrote this (at least 80 years ago) that the Muslims would retaliate once more and look who was right! Brilliant but at times it begins to drag.
Extremely relevant in light of current events  Mar 29, 2002
First of all, though the title of this book is The Crusades (plural), it deals predominantly with the 1st Crusade - the only one to successfully restore Jerusalem and the holy places to Christian rule. Belloc dismisses the succession of further crusading efforts as failed attempts to regain what was lost at Hattin in 1187 AD. His analysis of why the original Crusade succeeded in setting up a Christian kingdom in Palestine for nearly 100 years is spot on. His opinion on why the kingdom eventually failed is fairly perceptive as well. He hammers the point that if the Crusaders had only succeeded in capturing Damascus, the effort may not have crumbled at all. The main weakness in Belloc's thesis is his acceptance of social Darwinist theories that today seem rather antiquated.

Yet this does not take away from the perceptive and often prophetic observations he makes on the relationship between the Christian West and the Muslim East. To whet your appetite, here's a quote that's amazingly relevant, considering the recent atrocities:

"There is with us [in the West] a complete chaos in religious doctrine.... We worship ourselves, we worship the nation; or we worship (some few of us) a particular economic arrangement believed to be the satisfaction of social justice....Islam has not suffered this spiritual decline; and in the contrast between [our religious chaos and] the religious certitudes still strong throughout the Mohammedan world ... lies our peril."

The book is an excellent place to start for anyone looking to brush up on their history of this often misunderstood era. If you love this sort of stuff, might I suggest that you also give Angels in Iron by Nicholas Prata a shot. It's a historical fiction account of the other end of the crusading era - the Great Siege of Malta of 1565.
Review from the Publisher  Mar 7, 2001
Belloc shows that the Crusades were a titanic struggle between Christian civilization (threatened both in the Holy Land and in Europe itself) and "the Turk," savage Mongols who had embraced Islam. He explains the practical reasons why the Crusaders initially succeeded and why they ultimately failed--then he predicts the re-emergence of Islam, since Christendom failed to destroy it in the 12th century. Makes history come alive and gives a rare, true appreciation of Christendom and of our Catholic forefathers!
Clarifying a misunderstood period of history  May 4, 2000
The Crusades are one the most misunderstood events of history with the common 20th century perception placing them among such infamous incidents as the Holocaust. But Belloc offers here a new view of the Crusades, and specifically the First Crusade, trying to convey to the reader an understanding of the 12th century mindset that propelled the epic quest.

If the reader is seeking a comprehensive review of all four Crusades (or more depending on the historian doing the counting), he would do better looking for another tome, because Belloc concentrates his efforts on the First Crusade, which was arguably the most successful since the result was the capture of a majority of the Holy Land and Jerusalem for nearly a century, a feat never later repeated.

Writing in 1937, Belloc manages a prescient guess at the import of the events he relates, warning that Islam would once again rise to confront the European, Christian states. This was before the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the 1970s, before the end of Europe's domination of the Arabic world through colonization, and a decade before Israel was carved out of Palestine after the end of World War II.

Belloc's first achievement is to describe the state of feudal Europe at the beginning of the second millennium of Christ, showing the tenuous hold of the various kings over their nominal subjects and describing how the real secular powers, the feudal dukes and counts, had become so after inheriting their domains through the centuries from the former Roman governors who held the lands as the empire crumbled.

The feudal mindset was crucial to the initial success and eventual failure of the crusades to accomplish their goal of holding the Holy Lands and denying them to Islam. The inability to coordinate militarily with others of near-equal rank, the jockeying for power, and the lack of a strategic view all eventually came to mean the loss of Jerusalem. Belloc takes great pains to describe how various military decisions contributed to both wins and losses for the Crusaders and shows how the decision not to take Damascus when it was available at the start of the Crusade eventually resulted in the final defeat at Hattin.

Contrary to current myths, the Crusades were not a simple bloody campaign by Christian knights against the peaceful Muslims of the Middle East. The truth is always more complex than the one-sentence explanation. Rather, the Crusades were an attempt to stop the marauding attacks on unarmed pilgrims making religious visits to the Holy Land. It also shored up the Byzantine Empire after the terrible defeat at Manzikert in 1071 at the hands of the Asian Muslim "Turks". The Crusades freed native Christians of the Middle East from their oppressive Muslim masters.

Did the Crusaders do things that would seem un-Christian to us? Does the seeming bloodthirstiness of both sides make us uneasy? Yes to both questions, but Belloc's gift is to make his readers understand that not everything can be judged fairly through 20th century eyes. We must understand the people of the time and their thinking to understand the why's and how's.

Bottom Line : The Crusades is a good book. I was surprised at its emphasis on military and political matters over the religious issues, but it was a pleasant surprise, because the topics became fascinating. I do wish the book contained more maps and diagrams, especially of the battles since my ability to diagram the events in my mind is limited. And the unflattering references to Islam and Muslims by Belloc sometimes made me cringe as I imagine how they would play in these politically correct times. But overall, the book accomplishes its goal of explaining the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the First Crusade.

A superb analysis of the 1st crusade.  Jan 24, 1997
Belloc published this book in 1937, when he was in his late 60s. He had obviously mastered a great wealth of historical material, and wrote clearly and succinctly. His fundamental point was that the first crusade had no clear strategy other than to recapture Jerusalem for Christendom, and failed to see the overarching strategic importance of taking and holding Damascus. Once this was realized, the bulk of the crusaders had returned to Europe and the manpower to accomplish it was no longer available. This led to the crucial defeat at Hattin in 1187, and the following crusades failed to improve the situation with efforts too little, too late. Careful estimates of armed strength in the first crusade, and penetrating analysis of events add to the splendid character of a first-rate work of historical analysis.

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