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The Siege of Jerusalem
Crusade and Conquest in 1099
by Conor Kostick
Publisher:Continuum - A Bloomsbury Company
Books on military history usually confuse me as they usually contain complex narratives on battle details which I never follow. This book, however, while covering the actual battles, neither confuses nor bores me, as the narrative is both fast paced and informative. The siege itself only took place after three years of travel across Europe and the Holy Land by nobility, clergy, knights and thousands of peasants who saw it as a pilgrimage rather than a military campaign. This was the first crusade against the occupation of Jerusalem to rescue the city from Muslim occupation. I am still convinced that the crusades, despite the call for them coming from the Popes, were just a land grab, as a European ended up as ‘King of Jerusalem’. There is a vast amount of background information which adds to not only an understanding of the undertaking itself, but points the way to an understanding also of later events in history up to the present day. For example, the massacre of Jews in the Rhineland by Germanic crusaders en route to their destination, and the conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims in the Middle East. The author, who is an academic and also a writer of fantasy novels, strikes a good balance between writing in a compelling fashion and giving the historic evidence. His appendix on sources is an interesting account on the approach to historical writing.
Reviewer: Carole Burrows (22/02/12)