What Were the Crusades? (4th edition)

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Few attempts had been made to define 'the crusade' before this book was first published in 1977. Since then, a number of historians have built on Jonathan Riley-Smith's original conclusions. Now in its fourth edition, this classic starting point for the study of the crusading movement has been updated to take into account the latest developments in the field.

What Were the Crusades?

  • elucidates key ideas and institutions which have been neglected in the past
  • demonstrates, through the analysis of European campaigns, that the movement was not confined to expeditions launched to recover the Holy Land - or to defend the Christian presence there - and shows that it continued, in one form or another, into the eighteenth century and perhaps beyond
  • draws attention to the increasing interest of historians in the motivation of crusaders
  • now includes material on a child crusader and concludes with a short discussion of the current effects of aggressive Pan-Islamism
  • features a new map illustrating the different theatres of war

    Original in its conception, this essential guide is a contribution of major importance to crusading scholarship. In its clear and concise treatment of the issues, it remains an unequalled introduction to the subject for students and general readers alike.

  • Jonathan Riley-Smith

    Jonathan Riley-Smith, one of the foremost crusading scholars and author of several works on the Crusades, is Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

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    "An indispensable short introduction to a vast subject."
    —Thomas Madden, St. Louis University

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