"The Age of the Crusades: The Near East from the Eleventh Century to 1517", by P.M. Holt (Longman, 1986), xiii, 250. Review by Dr. Paul-Thomas Ferguson.
In his review, Dr. Ferguson addresses the material covered in the work and analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the author's approach.
The first significant period of hostility between Christian Europe and the Muslim Near East came during the age of the Crusades. This 400-year time span is perhaps the most written about, yet most misunderstood, series of events in the early history of European/Near Eastern relations. Most studies of the Crusades have proceeded from the standpoint of the descendants of Europe. English, French, Italian, and German historians have endeavored over the years to explain, justify, or condemn the actions of the knights and clergymen who acted against Muslim-held cities. While there are several good compilations and translations of contemporary Muslim accounts of the Crusades, few modern historians have attempted full-scale analyses of this period of conflict from the Near Eastern point of view. On the surface, P.M. Holt's "The Age of the Crusades", the second volume in the Holt-edited "A History of the Near East" series, seems intended to fill this historiographic gap. Despite excellent scholarship and outstanding knowledge of the source materials, Holt's volume falls short of this goal, though it excels in other areas.
Holt is clearly a Near Eastern scholar of the highest rank. General editor of the "Near East" series, he has an intimate personal knowledge of the relevant Muslim documents, and indeed often cites his own translations of these sources in this study. Few scholars could boast such admirable familiarity. As such, it is apparent that Holt's intention is to give the reader the full story, plain and unencumbered by questionable or controversial analyses; this is meant to be ...
"The Age of the Crusades: The Near East from the Eleventh Century to 1517" is reviewed.