Monday, October 2, 2017

The Crusades Controversy (Beacon Publishing)

When you look back through history, there are certain events that still evoke a visceral response from people, events that people believe are a certain way and no matter how many facts you present them with, they'll never see it any other way. The biggest event I can think of that describes the previous sentence is The Crusades. If you asked a random person on the street, they would tell you that the Crusades were an atrocity by the Catholic Church. Islamic people certainly believe this, and that has led to terrorists like bin Laden, ISIS, etc. being formed and waging war against the Christian West? But what if I told you that those people were wrong? Medieval historian, Thomas F. Madden, recently penned a short book entitled The Crusades Controversy: Setting the Record Straight.The book is a mere 50 pages in length and is divided into the following chapters:

1. Are the Crusades to Blame?
2. The Real Crusaders
3. The First Crusade: A Lone Success
4. A New Age
5. The Muslim Memory
6. Today's Struggle Between Islamists and the West

The book begins with the question, "Are the Crusades to blame for the current tension between Islam and the West?" Madden explains that it was not the Christian West that sought out and attacked Islam trying to conquer them, but instead it was quite the opposite. Islam was of the opinion that you were Muslim or not. If you were not, you must be defeated. Therefore, the Crusades were the West's response to this Islamic conquest and attempt to survive. He then goes on to explain that the Crusaders did not get rich, but on the contrary 50% died and those that returned were worse off financially than when they left. The third chapter tells of the one successful crusade, but makes note that the success was short-lived. The remaining chapters talk about how recent memory has fueled the myth of the Crusades and given the Islamic terrorist groups an excuse to go to war with the West.

This short little book packs quite a punch in terms of history and correcting of misinformation. It was interesting to note that Islam apparently cared nothing of the Crusades until recent centuries. Before that, it was largely ignored by them, because frankly they won handily and Western Christendom was just another group of infidels that were conquered. This is a book that belongs in the hands of every Christian and belongs in every history classroom. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit with a certain agenda, so the people that need to read it will largely ignore it. I, however, highly recommend it!