by Niall Christie
New York: Routledge, 2014. Pp. l, 186.
Illus., maps, chron., personae, stemma, gloss., biblio., index. $44.95. ISBN: 1138022748
Muslim Perspectives on the Crusades
Dr. Christie (Langara College) gives us a source book on the Crusades in the Levant as seen by Islamic scholars and historians. He opens with a short overview of previous works on Muslim views of the Crusades and offers a survey of Muslim sources on the period.
The selections begin with Muslim views of Western Christendom on the eve of the Crusades, and vary in nature. Some give the reader insights into the contemporary political and military events as seen from the Muslim side, others address local perspectives on trade, personalities, dynastic squabbling, and cultural differences. Few ever refer to the antecedent events that sparked the Crusades.
The volume concludes with some selections on the influence of the Crusades down to the present, particularly valuable given the role the Crusades play in Islamist ideology, as illustrated by a reading from Osama bin-Laden.
Christie commendably includes a great deal of supporting material, to help the reader identify people, define ideas, and so forth. The book’s chief limitation is the omission of the long struggle between Eastern Christendom, primarily the Byzantines, with Islam in Middle East, in the same period. This limitation aside, the book is useful for anyone interested in the subject seeking to learn more about the other side of the hill.
Note: Muslims and Crusaders is also available in paperback, $44.95, ISBN 978-1-1380-2274-4