Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Crusades: The Essential Readings

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Crusades: The Essential Readings

Article excerpt

The Crusades: The Essential Readings. Edited by Thomas F. Madden. [Blackwell Essential Readings in History.] (Williston, Vermont: Blackwell Publishing. 2002. Pp. xii, 276; 2 maps. $62.95 hardback; $26.95 paperback.)

This volume is part of Blackwell's series "Essential Readings in History," which reprints significant articles about a specific topic for student use. This volume could easily complement Madden's earlier A Concise History of the Crusades (Rowan and Littlefield, 1999). Most of Madden's selections were published within the past twenty years. They reflect the traditional interpretation of the crusades that places Jerusalem at the focal point of the movement and assumes that the crusades ended by 1300. All but three articles are written by English scholars, and most focus on French participation in the crusades. The Spanish Reconquest is represented by R. A. Fletcher, the Byzantine empire by the late Steven Runciman, and Nikita Elisseeff and Benjamin Kedar write about the Muslim populations.

The articles are organized into three sections. Part I asks, "What were the Crusades? "This section examines the origins of the movement and the early development of the crusade idea. Part II asks, "Who were the Crusaders? …

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