"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Crusades: A Reader

As I have often noted, few events in history (apart, perhaps, from the sack of Constantinople in 1204, not unconnected to the Crusades) have been as consistently, tendentiously misinterpreted in our time as the Crusades. In April, the second edition of a book some years ago will help us understand the uses and abuses to which present politics subjects the Crusades: S.J. Allen, Emilie Ant, eds., The Crusades: A Reader, Second Edition (University of Toronto Press, 2014), 496pp.

About this new edition we are told:
Over ten years have passed since the first publication of The Crusades: A Reader. In that time, interest in the crusades has increased, fuelled in part by the global interactions of the Muslim world and Western nations. It could be argued that the crusades, more than any other medieval event, have become inextricably linked to present-day political and religious debates.This long-anticipated new edition of The Crusades: A Reader features a chapter that addresses the history of perceptions of the crusades in the modern period, from David Hume and William Wordsworth to World War I political cartoons and crusading rhetoric circulating after 9/11. New Islamic material includes Al-Sulami's The Book of Jihad, a record of Frederick II's visit to Jerusalem in 1229, and a selection of sources detailing the homecoming of those who had ventured to the Holy Land.

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