The Crusades: The World's Debate

The Crusades: The World's Debate

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Publisher: Cavalier Books
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Format: Paperback
Pages: 228
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Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)--one of the most prominent Catholic authors of his time--gives a common sense explanation of why the Crusades were necessary, and why they ultimately failed. He argues that the personal and strategic failings of the First Crusade's leaders led to the establishment of a state that could not be sustained, and that the absence of such a state left Europe vulnerable to Islamic aggression for centuries afterward. Writing in 1937, following the demise of the Ottoman Empire, Belloc believed that the West had finally gained the advantage over its mortal foe. However, he also includes a prophetic warning to Western Civilization, about the eventual resurgence of Islam and its enduring desire to destroy Christendom.
Hilaire Belloc:
Hilaire Belloc

Hilaire Belloc was an Anglo-French writer and historian. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. He was known as a writer, orator, poet, sailor, satirist, man of letters, soldier and political activist. His Catholic faith had a strong impact on his works. He was President of the Oxford Union and later MP for Salford from 1906 to 1910. He was a noted disputant, with a number of long-running feuds, but also widely regarded as a humane and sympathetic man. Belloc became a naturalised British subject in 1902, while retaining his French citizenship. Belloc wrote on myriad subjects, from warfare to poetry to the many current topics of his day. He has been called one of the Big Four of Edwardian Letters,[17] along with H.G.Wells, George Bernard Shaw, and G. K. Chesterton, all of whom debated with each other into the 1930s.

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D
Diego Aguilar
Deus Vult!

Nearly a thousand years ago, the Crusades helped shape the world we live in today and as such Hilaire Belloc takes the mantle of writes a history close to what actually happened in the Holy Land. The Crusades: The World's Debate is undoubtedly a brilliant analysis of what the Crusaders and their experience turned out to be. From the devastating battle of Manzikert to the taking of Jerusalem to the Moslem opponents and the fatal defeat at Hattin, Belloc spares no insignificant detail about how the state of the Crusaders were at each moment of the expedition. Furthermore, Belloc goes into detail about the state of European affairs, familial rivalry, West vs. East, and of course, the Mohammedan hordes that would at first falter, but later unite to remove the Christians. Overall, a great insight in what happened with the First or Great Crusade and why it failed and left us with a Holy Land in the hands of non-Christians.

Another great piece of history from Hilaire Belloc. In my opinion, it has been vastly superior in portraying a more truthful representation of what occurred than any common public school textbook could. It has also been a fun read and was so compelling, I couldn't put it down. Belloc writes with a certain tone that isn't exact (not least with the documents we have), but still manages to "hit the nail on the head". I'm amazed that I was ignorant of what really happened from 1095-1187, but thankfully know I know better and I'm glad I read it. 5 stars, although I wish I could give it more.

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