The New Concise History of the Crusades by Thomas F. Madden (Book Review)

3 Responses

  1. What did you perceive as Madden’s “social commentary on contemporary Christian/Islamic relations”? I find that all scholars tend to be driven by a motive to “show” something they think is relevant for a contemporary culture, but as long as you can discern these concerns you can judge with more caution the merit of argument apart from the social concern.

    • davemackey says:

      On the one hand I felt like he was attempting to say that the crusades were not nearly as simple and straightforward as they are often portrayed – which I think is correct. He highlighted the atrocities committed by both sides as well as how to sometimes the sides would align with each other against common enemies – oftentimes Muslim and Christian versus Christian or Christian and Muslim versus Muslim.

      Madden also emphasized the religious (“pure”) motivations for the crusades by both sides, but with a preponderance on the Christian side…but didn’t do enough, imho, to explain what these religious opinions were and whether sincere faith is a justifiable reason for action.

      Finally, Madden made some significant sweeping judgments against “common” thought on the crusades (e.g. motivations, imperialism/colonialism, the effect of the crusades on Muslims) with what I felt was a tremendous lack of supporting evidence…the judgments felt like a late appendage to the book, and not something which the book itself had undertaken to explain (especially the idea that the crusades are a ‘recent memory’ for Muslims…whether this is true or not – I do not know – I would have liked to have seen more substantiation of the idea).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: