The Crusades and the Soldiers of the Cross: The 10 Most Important Crusaders, From German Emperors to Charismatic Hermits, Child Armies, and Warrior Lepers by Michael Rank
'The Crusades and the
Soldiers of the Cross' is an exciting new book by best-selling author
and historian Michael Rank about the quest to retake the Holy Land. It
looks at the lives and times of the 10 most important people in one of
the most interesting times in history, covering 1095 to 1212.
it is Peter the Hermit raising an army of 100,000 peasants to fight in
the Holy Land with nothing but pitchforks or Baldwin IV personally
leading his forces against Saladin despite having terminal leprosy,
these larger-than-life figures were all drawn to the Holy Land and
compelled to forsake their vast land holdings while embarking on a
dangerous adventure against a superior enemy.
This book will
look at the reasons for these 10 figures joining the crusade. Perhaps it
was for glory in battle, as was the case for Richard the Lionheart. For
others it was simple curiosity, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, who added
dramatic panache to the whole affair and brought along 300 female
servants donned in decorative armor and carrying lances while on the
march to Jerusalem. For many it was a simple faith conviction, such as
the thousands of child crusades, who legend has it marched to the
Mediterranean sea and expected it to open for them as the Red Sea had
done for Moses.
Whatever their background, these 10 crusaders
demonstrate that a person willing to brave the enormously dangerous
journey -- traveling to to a different continent over land no less --
had a personality fitting for the fascinating time in which they lived.
of the coldness of the writing I never felt any connection to the
historical figures and didn't really care how they fared.
have some knowledge of the medieval period, but I am by no means a
historical buff, still I found myself knowing a lot about what I was
reading and a lot of the information in here is probably well known.
a few of the ten chapters overlapped and information in one could be
read about in another. Also some of the crusades in this book were very
similar to others and even if there were some differences it felt too
similar and I would have preferred to have read about a more varied
Because each chapter was short, the information on each crusade was limited and I felt I was missing out on a lot.
this was an okay read, perhaps a nice afternoon read if you fancy an
easy historical read even if it wasn't particularly exciting.
In full disclosure I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.