Full book review of "Saladin", by Geoffrey Hindley (Barnes and Noble, 1976), xv, 208. Review by Dr. Paul-Thomas Ferguson. In this review, Dr. Ferguson presents a detailed summary of the book and an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the author's arguments.
"Saladin", by Geoffrey Hindley (Barnes and Noble, 1976), xv, 208. Review by Dr. Paul-Thomas Ferguson
Geoffrey Hindley's "Saladin" is not the first biography of the legendary Muslim leader, and many more will likely be written before the subject is exhausted. Few Middle Eastern leaders have captured the imagination of Western minds like Saladin. A man of accomplishments and chivalric virtue, Saladin was admired and respected even by the intolerant 12th century Europeans who opposed him. Hindley continues a tradition of biographers who have sought to explain the tremendous success of the Kurdish ruler. With a bit of hero-worship in his words, Hindley offers a basically chronological story, drawn from the original chronicles of both European and Muslim contemporaries.
The result is an account which takes into consideration the pressures put upon Saladin by Frankish rulers and fellow Muslims, as well as the problems he faced in the wake of his own fears. It is insufficient to say that the author offers the reader a favorable impression of Saladin. To Hindley, Saladin was the greatest leader in Islamic history, a man able to consolidate the fractious Middle East under one ruler and unite the Muslim world against the crusader states. The author's stated goal is to show that Saladin was a strong, principled leader, who wanted the best for his state and its inhabitants. Without specifying an author, Hindley blasts a recent revisionist who, "...influenced perhaps by the almost mandatory requirement of our own age to denigrate those which the past has generally regarded as great and good, has tried manfully to blacken the name of this Islamic hero..." (xiv). Hindley's aim is clear. He believes Saladin was a great man and he sets out to prove as much.
The facts of the leader's life are presented in a chronological manner. Chapter 1 introduces Saladin in 1187 at the height of his power, on the eve of the conquest of Jerusalem. Then, in a lengthy aside, the author attempts to evaluate the religious importance of Jerusalem to the Islamic faith. With the help of a few ...
This book is assessed and summarized.