A Brief History of the Crusades by Geoffrey Hindley

A Brief History of the Crusades by Geoffrey Hindley – Islam and Christianity in the Struggle for World Supremacy – is a good introduction into the complicated topic of crusades. As this book was written almost 20 years ago, I kept that in mind when I read it and now, when I am reviewing it. Hindley analyses briefly the reasons behind the successive Popes decided to pressure people into going to “liberate” Jerusalem. I was surprised to see that “crusade” is used by some in western Europe with positive connotations. I don’t get that, crusades meant sending men to kill, rape, loot, and destroy parts of the world, where, amazingly, Christians were allowed to go to pilgrimages too.

A Brief History of the Crusades by Geoffrey Hindley

I think a bit more emphasis could have been placed on the very different attitudes Muslims had, which were much more tolerant and less likely to kill indiscriminately, and Christian attitudes, who, at many times slaughtered without consideration, both combatants and non-combatants.

Besides this criticism, I think the book is good. He gives quotes from primary sources, such as letters and I think those give a more comprehensive view of the crusades. With a couple of hundred pages, this book does what it sets out to do in the title, offers a brief history of the crusades.

A Brief History of the Crusades by Geoffrey Hindley

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Robinson
Year it was published: 2004 (first published in 2003)
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): History
Pages: 300

About the author: Geoffrey Hindley (1935-2014), educated at Kingswood School, Bath and University College Oxford, was a lecturer and writer. He was three times an invited participant at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University; was visiting associate professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville; and lectured in Europe and America on European culture, medieval social history, and Magna Carta, and the history of music. From 1994 to 2000 he taught English civilization at the University of Le Havre. Right up until his death he was co-president of the Society for the History of Medieval Technology and Science of Oxford and London.
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4 thoughts on “A Brief History of the Crusades by Geoffrey Hindley”

  • When I check out any references to The Crusades, which are not really a particular interest of mine I have to admit, the articles generally focus on the religious aspects of the many separate Crusades embarked upon all around the world. I often read a one-line reference to the political aims of such wars, but that aspect never really gets expanded on in any great detail, so I think that is an area I would want to explore more fully!
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    • I am studying for an essay the relations between Christians and Muslims and it is so interesting to see how complex these were and not 100% related to religion as it is easy to assume with a religious war. I found some pretty incredible things about that period.

    • It is a fascinating topic because it appears in one way, especially with our western pre-conceptions, but in reality it was a very complex and layered conflict, spanning centuries. It is also interesting to see how much or how little religion played a role in crusading.

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