Friday, August 12, 2016

The Glory of the Crusades (Catholic Answers Press)

The Crusades is still a hotly contested subject worldwide, even centuries after it occurred. Depending on which side of history you are on, depends on who is most at fault. Catholics, Orthodox, and Muslims all have different sides of this debate, and all of them involve pointing fingers and taking none of the blame. Today, I am reviewing The Glory of the Crusades from Catholic Answers Press. The aim of the book is to refute the following seven misconceptions:

1. The Crusades were wars of unprovoked aggression.
2. The Crusades were motivated primarily by greed and the prospect for plunder and riches.
3. When Jerusalem was liberated in 1099, the Crusaders killed all the inhabitants of the city - so much blood was spilled it ran ankle deep.
4. The Crusades were colonial enterprises.
5. The Crusades were also wars against the Jews and should be seen as the first Holocaust.
6. The Crusades were wars of conversion.
7. The Crusades are the source of modern tension between Islam and the West.

The book then begins by explaining how and why the Crusades began and where the term Crusades actually came from. The book then walks us through six centuries of this warfare. It starts with Jerusalem and moves to the Second Crusade and warrior-monks. We see Saladin and then are explained the failure which was the Fourth Crusade. The book then ends with a modern viewing of the Crusades. The book is chock full of history and contains numerous endnotes at the end of the book that are worth investigating and referencing. However, what makes this book special is the author's way of presenting this history to us. Instead, of giving us a dry telling of names, facts, and events, this book is told like a story, an epic even. This makes the history come alive and is more likely to be remembered.

Before reading this book, I had a lot of ideas and misconceptions about what the Crusades were, who was at fault, and what they were about. This book cleared up a lot of things and proved to be a real eye-opener. With all those positives though, I fear many will only see this book as Catholic-slanted and not give it a fair read. I say this, not as a criticism, but as an observation. I believe this is a book that all Catholics should read, if for nothing more than to understand the Crusades better and perhaps have some sort of defense if ever confronted with anti-Catholics who try to blame the Crusades on us. You and even sadly, this book, will probably not convince them of the truth, but at least you will know it.

This book was provided to me for free by Catholic Answers Press. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!