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Monday, January 1, 2018

The Crusades

After the 9/11 attacks, George W Bush said: "This crusade… this war on terror is going to take a while." This misapplied comment was all Osama bin Laden needed to win over many new supporters. His often used phrase "Jewish/Crusader attackers of Islam " had a certain ring to it in the Muslim world. Thanks, George.
Thomas Asbridge, the author of the  The Crusades makes a similar point. Is it appropriate to use words about wars in the early middle ages in reference to current issues in the Middle East? Is their a real connection between the two eras? I wondered about that, and having limited knowledge about the crusades, I decided to find out. Meaning I checked my local library.
Asbridge concludes that the crusades are a potent, alarming and dangerous example of the "potential for history to be appropriated, misrepresented and manipulated" for political ends." Adding religious fanaticism to the potent force of unbridled nationalism, in any conflict in the modern world, is merely ugly at best. The world could well do without jihadist or crusader mentality.

Initially, the emotive words the author uses, as he details the origin and history of this long ago conflict, seemed inappropriate to a well written, researched and documented history. I changed my mind about that as I struggled through each horrifying chapter. Yes, horrifying. I use that word carefully. If you have the it. It's well worth your time. If not, take my plea to heart. "Oh God. Save us from the religious fanatics, of all stripes."
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@Barrie Summy


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

There are no words and, yes, these are very frightening times. History continually repeats itself.

Anvilcloud said...

Yes: "The world could well do without jihadist or crusader mentality."
Yes: "Oh God. Save us from the religious fanatics, of all stripes."

susan said...

This one sounds very good but will have to wait until I recover from reading The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk. Perhaps you've read it yourself since it isn't new but, if not, it's a history of 19th century British/Russian intrigue in Central Asia. With respect to Afganistan, the parallels to current American travails in that country are uncanny. Rather than a dull historical treatise Hopkirk tells the history through the medium of individual stories, many of which would make excellent, exciting movies (albeit, some of the gross).

Happy New Year, TB
Let the blogging continue!

Red said...

Religion has caused us to do absolutely loony things from time to time. I'll say no more! Sounds like you read a good book.

Anonymous said...

Very provocative review Sr T in more ways than one. I'm going to look for this book.

And of course they're still at it over there. Our government in our name is as we blog bombing and slaughtering people in seven countries who were just minding their own business. Just people like you and I trying to get by. Americans not really giving a damn is a tragedy, too, but not like what our government is doing with bombers and drones. Thanks for a timely review.

Arkansas Patti said...

Not sure I have the grit for it so I will take your word. I do fear religious wars the most. They never end.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Excellent review, Ray. What little I know about the Crusades is mostly brutal and horrifying, so I'm not sure I have the intestinal fortitude to read the book. I totally agree about us not needing crusader or jihadist rhetoric.

Jenn Jilks said...

Great review! I have been reading a lot by First Nations in the spirit of Truth & Reconciliation. We must read their stories. This is the same of slavery, in the US, as well as First Nation. So much harm has been done in the name of religion.

Sarah Laurence said...

The Crusades make me cringe with horror as do most of the tweets and words coming from our current president. I would like to think that mankind could learn to be less cruel. In my reading and writing, I often look for a happier escape lately, but I admire you for studying it. Religious wars are often the worst.

Stacy said...

No matter how well you know your history, and know the saying "History repeats," it's always shocking when it does just that. Great review as always.

Barrie said...

I love how you connect history to present-day events. You always write such thoughtful reviews. I do not know much about the Crusades, but shall rectify this! Thank you for reviewing. I hope the new year is treating you well.

sage said...

Well, our current President makes me long for Georgie Boy, as I used to refer to George W Bush. I never thought I would say that I miss him.

The Crusades were misguided adventures. THere’s a great line in the old classic movie, “The Seventh Seal” about the Crusades being so stupid that only an idealist could have dreamed it up.