Looking into the past, the Crusades seem incomprehensible. What combination of religious fervor, hatred of people of different faiths, and gall led Europeans of AD 1100 to make their way thousands of miles to conquer the Holy Land? Why did they continue for 200 years? How did the Crusades change the world?
The intriguing story is peppered with colorful characters. Over the centuries, this well-researched and written book argues, crusaders saw - and participated in - the evolution of warfare and the transformation of society from feudal fiefdoms to nations and empires. The story of the Crusades is a reminder, too, of the horrors wrought in the name of religion. The Crusades are seen by many Christians today as an exercise in fanaticism, an episode in which the teachings of Christ were used to justify the horrors perpetrated on innocents. That judgment is accurate, but not the whole story.