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Seven Myths of the Crusades


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About the Author

Alfred J. Andrea is emeritus professor of medieval history, the University of Vermont.

Andrew Holt is associate professor of history, Florida State College at Jacksonville.


"Crusade historians frequently lament the wide gulf that separates modern scholarship from popular beliefs regarding the holy wars of the Middle Ages. In this lively book a group of those scholars tackle seven of the most intractable myths that obscure our view of the crusades. With erudition, energy, and a dose of humility this book makes the case that solid historical research brings us ever closer to historical accuracy--and that matters. The myths of the crusades may be legion, but breaking down seven of them is an excellent place to start." --Thomas F. Madden, St. Louis University
" Seven Myths of the Crusades is an important intervention in the popular and scholarly discourse about the Crusades. The myths are well chosen because they are commonplace and misleading at best, pernicious at worst. The authors' engagement with the myths is vigorous, erudite, and accessible to all readers, whatever their previous knowledge of the Crusades." --Philip Daileader, The College of William and Mary
"Few historical labels carry such an emotional charge as that of 'crusade'. It is a word used both thoughtlessly and polemically, often by public figures with little understanding of the events or by those with a vested interest in the misrepresentation of both motives and outcomes. Professional historians have a duty to redress the balance, and the essays collected in this important book tackle fundamental issues ranging from the place of the crusades in relations between Islam and the West to their long-term influence on the development of anti-Semitism." --Malcolm Barber, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Reading, UK.
"As the dividing line between popular misconception and serious research is not always clear-cut, the volume repeatedly challenges the reader to arrive at his own conclusions." --Benjamin Kedar, Emeritus, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
"Andrea and Holt's timely, readable, and informative book will hopefully go a long way towards combating some of the myths of the crusades that still circulate in the twenty-first century. . . . [Their] introduction is a real gem and one might wish that more books on the crusades for popular audiences had introductions so useful for situating readers. . . . The contributions strike a balance between presenting the complexity and messiness of the historical material with giving readable and coherent accounts. . . . This is an excellent and useful volume." Lucas McMahon, Princeton University, in Comitatus
" Seven Myths of the Crusades ' rebuttal of the persistent and multifarious misconceptions associated with topics including the First Crusade, anti-Judaism and the Crusades, the crusader states, the Children's Crusade, the Templars and past and present Islamic-Christian relations proves, once and for all, that real history is far more fascinating than conspiracy theories, pseudo-history and myth-mongering. This book is a powerful witness to the dangers of the misappropriation and misinterpretation of the past and the false parallels so often drawn between the crusades and later historical events ranging from nineteenth-century colonialism to the protest movements of the 1960s to the events of 9/11. This volume's authors have venerable track records in teaching and researching the crusading movement, and anyone curious about the crusades would do well to start here ." Jessalynn Bird, Dominican University, co-Editor of Crusade and Christendom
"There has long been a great need for a book like this one, and it deserves a wide dissemination among the interested reading public and journalists as well as students and professional historians. It draws on much of the best and most recent scholarship on diverse aspects of crusading, but is still written in an accessible style. It should certainly be included in any reading list for an undergraduate course on the crusades, and anyone intending to make judgmental pronouncements on the aims and character of crusading would do well to read it and reflect carefully before rushing into print." Alan V. Murray, University of Leeds
"Written in a clear and accessible style, this volume rests on an impressive scholarly base supported by peer-reviewed research and up-to-date sources cited in abundant footnotes on almost every page." G. G. Guzman, Bradley University, in CHOICE
"For quite some time scholars have complained about the dissonance between current knowledge and erroneous public perceptions of the Crusades. Seven Myths of the Crusades acts as a salubrious corrective for these deeply ingrained, and deeply flawed, conceptions of the Crusades. . . . While all the chapters sparkle with insight, among the high points of the book are the excellent introduction by Andrea and Holt, Paul Crawford's treatment of the vexed issue of whether or not the Crusades were 'aggression,' Mona Haddad and Edward Peter's examination of the supposed staying power of Muslim grievances concerning crusading. Putting a fine summation on the work is the Editors' Epilogue that illuminates the fundamental historiographical issues involved in passing judgment on a series of acts as controversial as the Crusades. . . . Hackett deserves praise for publishing such a worthy addition to the revolution in Crusades studies." Burnam W. Reynolds, Asbury University
"I never imagined that my Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest , first published in 2003, would prove to be so enduring a format for helping students of all kinds to rethink key moments in human history. It is therefore a great honor to see that the book has now inspired Hackett Publishing Company's "Myths of History" series, expertly and effectively edited by Alfred J. Andrea and Andrew Holt." Matthew Restall, Pennsylvania State University
"Andrea and Holt's Seven Myths of the Crusades provides a valuable introduction to Crusades mythology. The collection covers some of the most important and most widely debated issues in crusading studies and will prove highly useful, particularly to undergraduate students and to non-academics with an interest in crusading history." Meriem Pages, Keene State College, in Speculum

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