Armies of Heaven: The First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse

Jay Rubenstein. Basic, $35 (448p) ISBN 978-0-465-01929-8
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The years 1096-1099 marked a major turning point in the history of the Western world as Christian crusaders began their march toward Jerusalem in a quest to regain the holy city of Jerusalem from the Muslim invaders. Eight more crusades would follow, but this first effort left an indelible imprint on the historical record. Rubenstein, associate professor of medieval history at the University of Tennessee and a MacArthur Fellow “genius,” insists that students of the period miss its real essence when they apply the accepted historical method of stripping away the myths and focusing on empirically provable facts. The author instead gives us a rich harvest of legends and writings from the period, often apocalyptic in nature, that give us a keener insight into the minds of those who lived these tumultuous years. Rubenstein offers up a heady mix of soldiers and prophets, militants and supplicants, weaving it all into a wonderfully readable account that puts flesh on the story. A satisfying and highly recommended read in every respect. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/10/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 417 pages - 978-0-465-02748-4
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