Academic journal article Military Review

Saladin: The Sultan Who Vanquished the Crusaders and Built an Islamic Empire

Academic journal article Military Review

Saladin: The Sultan Who Vanquished the Crusaders and Built an Islamic Empire

Article excerpt

SALADIN

The Sultan Who Vanquished the Crusaders and Built an Islamic Empire

John Man, Da Capo Press, Boston, 2016, 312 pages

John Man is a historian and travel writer. In Saladin: The Sultan Who Vanquished the Crusaders and Built an Islamic Empire, not only does he onicle the life of Saladin, the iconic hero of Islam, but also he provides a thorough historical context of the twelfth-century Middle East. Man examines the virtues of Saladin the individual, as well as the persona of his iconic status.

Man details Saladin's birth in Tikrit, his rise to power in Egypt, his anticrusader campaigns, and his pauper's death--constantly providing a holistic historical perspective. Man consistently illustrates the ideological and political differences between the Abbasid (Sunni) and Fatimid (Shi'a) caliphates while demonstrating how the Frankish Palestinian kingdoms and the Ismaili Assassins influenced the region. Man describes in detail Saladin's use of both hard and soft power to gain control and then to render insignificant the Fatimid Caliphate. The book continues with a description and analysis of Saladin's meteoric rise within the Abbasid Caliphate and his confrontations with the Frankish crusaders, especially his nemesis Reynald de Chatillon. …

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