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The Crusades Through Arab Eyes Hardcover – Dec 1 1984


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Al Saqi (December 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0863561136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863561139
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15 2004
Format: Paperback
The arguments against this book are surprisingly vehement, but they seem to ignore one very large and glaring detail about it: the title. This book is not meant to paint an objective, all-encompassing view of the struggle between Islam and Christianity from the eighth-century onward. It is merely painting a picture of contemporary responses to the Crusades in the Muslim world of the time. Does it endorse them? No. Does it use them on some kind of attack of Christianity? No. As was stated before, the author is a Christian. So that little attack collapses rather easily, doesn't it?
We have a wealth of information the Christian response to Islam's rise. Look at the thousands upon thousands of volumes on Byzantium, the Papacy, and the Frankish Empire. In fact, we're so used to having the picture painted as 'evil Islam attacks defenseless Europe' that the Crusades almost axiomatically become 'justice' rather than what they were, which was an exercise in barbarity. And that isn't just barbarity against Muslims. It was barbarity against EVERYONE different. Crusaders murdered countless numbers of Jewish people on their march to the east, and even eventually ended up sacking and destroying the Orthodox Byzantine Empire in 1204 (Fourth Crusade). At the behest of the scheming Venetians, no less, who wanted a Latin Emperor. Muslim civilization counted among its strong points an extremely refined and advanced culture that was shocked by the unbelievable animal cruelty of the Crusaders. I am not attacking Christianity nor defending the invasions of Islam into Europe. But it is hardly fair to compare the Muslim rule in Spain, which was one of the most advanced and tolerant nations on the face of the planet, with the butchery of the Crusades.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "wfrick13" on May 10 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is well described by its title. Amin Maalouf provides the historical perspective of the Crusades from the point of view of Arabs. Maalouf begins with the arrival of the Franj ("a word which is used in colloquial Arabic even today to designate Westerners, and the French in particular") and chronicles the conflict, ending with the conflict with the Mongols.
Maalouf utilizes the perspective of Arab historians of the day in order to give the book a high degree of legitimacy. This analysis based of primary sources is the reason that I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history, and of course anyone who wishes to fully understand the Crusades.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark Billows on Feb. 12 2004
Format: Paperback
After reading four books on the crusades, and feeling exhausted on the subject, I read this book and not only was it good in its own right, but it pieced together many of the other books I read. I wouldsuggest reading this after you have read at least one book on the crusades.
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By A Customer on Aug. 27 2003
Format: Paperback
Some reviewers criticize this book as not being objective but it was never meant to be. This book is an attempt to approach the crusades from an Arab perspective by relying on Arab historians of the period. Maalouf does a magnificent job at making a historical narrative very entertaining and easy to read.
Maalouf, a Christian Lebanese who grew up in a country torn by religious war, presents a vivid desciption of the horrors of the Crusades.
This book is very useful to understanding the Middle East today in its relationship with the West.
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Format: Paperback
Having read several books about the crusades, I think this one is pretty much objective although viewed from a different viewpoint than the one westerners have been used to. Although Maalouf describes in details the horrors of the crusades, he is not complacent with the "local" people. We understand better the complexity of the middle east both in terms of ethnics and religions. Crusades have basically shapped the region and many issues date back from this period, so before formulating any judgement about the situation today, a careful study of history is strongly recommended and this book is very helpful in that respect.
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By A Customer on March 26 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a great guide to understanding of the current conflicts in Middle East.It is a meticulously prepared documentary.You will read in the book how barbaric the crusaders were when they were massacring the muslims,the jews on their way.The even performed a canniballistic party when they roasted and ate their foes in Ma-ara,Syria!Their aim was to retake the Holy Land.But they brought terror with no peers in stead.And you'll also read how the Arabs betrayed each other and made alliances with the enemy.By the way, you'll be astonished how deep rooted the terrorism was in MidEast as the elusive terrorist leader Hassan Sabbah(he was the head of Hashhasiuns-Assasins-) was organizing his men in the hideouts of northern Iranian mountains.It looks as if that little had changed to this day.
But those were the times when the elite of Europe were speaking Arabic-which they shun today-.And those were the glorious times when the science and medicine in Muslim world was far more superior than those of Christian west.
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By A Customer on Feb. 16 2003
Format: Paperback
Finally, someone with the courage and knowledge was brave enough to illuminate readers about a much misunderstood and little debated period. The period of time of the Crusades probably did more to shape the views of the West and the Middle East about each other for centuries to come and the view is still in existence today.
Amin Maalouf is a powerful writer, full of knowledge and authority on the subject. People of all faiths and views can enjoy and learn from this great book.
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