The Crusades: a Short History by Johnathan Riley-Smith Essay

1316 Words Dec 20th, 2011 6 Pages
The Crusades: A Short History by Johnathan Riley-Smith

The Crusades: A Short History, written by British Historian Jonathan Riley-Smith, offers a broad overview of this part of the medieval era, but he also explores how historians have attempted to explain these events in modern terms. Riley-Smith also makes sure to note all major contributors to the Crusade movement and their personalities. Numerous scholars have wondered whether this was a political or religious mission. This helps to spark the question of why people would leave their homes and their families to risk their lives invading a land that was thousands of miles away for religious reasons. In his book, Riley-Smith makes this era come alive for the modern reader. He does
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In addition to these topics, Riley-Smith also offers descriptions of the several other Christian military operations, which were instigated against the pagan peoples who lived in northern Europe, as well as against the “heretics” living in the south of France and the Muslims living in Spain. I actually enjoyed this depiction of the Crusades. Even though I first had to make sure that I had a dictionary handy when I read it, I thought that Riley-Smith made it very easy to understand. He sentences flowed very well and I liked the fact that he left everything chronologically in order and didn’t go back and forth multiple times. The chapters were well titled for any reader to understand what was in the material. I also enjoyed the fact that they weren’t incredibly long and repetitive. I think that this book taught me way more about the Crusades than I ever knew before. I had no idea that it was all mainly started for religious reasons. The pasts of one group of people who had never even been to Jerusalem or even seen it, helped to build the foundation of the entire movement. It just is astonishing to me that all of those years of fighting was being justified by Jesus Christ. I don’t think that fighting for something you believe in is wrong, I just didn’t really know how the Crusades were started. I thought that Johnathan Riley-Smith seemed to show no bias towards any certain points of view when it came to this

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