The Modern Scholar: God Wills It!: Understanding the Crusades

  • by Thomas F. Madden
  • Narrated by Thomas F. Madden
  • 8 hrs and 11 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

As late as 1518, plans were laid by Pope Leo X and the monarchs of Europe to set aside their internal quarrels and once more embark on a holy crusade to wrest the Middle East from the Ottoman Turks. Finding accord and even enthusiasm for the enterprise, all was on course for a multiyear military campaign to push east from North Africa through Egypt and south through the Balkans to squeeze the Turks in a pincer movement and finally oust the Muslims from the Holy Land. The great plan, however, died when Europe was once again plunged into internal strife with the death of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, who had been a leader for the crusade.For over 400 years, crusaders ("those signed by the cross"), out of Christian zeal, a declared love for their fellow man, and, in many cases, a simple desire for fortune, glory, and heavenly reward, marched to the Holy Land to battle both a real and perceived threat to their way of life and their religious beliefs. The story of the many crusades are filled with an unremitting passion to keep or return the home of Christianity to Christians. It is also filled with death, destruction, disorder, greed, avarice, and self-interest on all sides. Much of what occurred during the Crusades has come down to us today in the form of continued suspicion among religious ideologies - not only between Christians and Muslims, but also internally among Christian sects and, to some degree, among Muslim sects. There is certainly much to learn about our own history from a better understanding of the Crusades and what led so many to crusade.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent short history

As an introduction to the crusades this couldn't be better. Told in a series of lectures by the author, each is highly informative, and contain none of the self indulgent digressions you sometimes hear at university. The author has a good reading voice and clearly is on top of his subject. I will be trying more of this series.
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- Marcus

Nice bit of scholarship and teaching

The subject is obviously well understood and researched. The lecturer is good at making it clear what things (like motivation of some of the historical figures) we are not absolutely sure about and his presentation style was easy to settle into.
I listened to this going to work each day and found it easy to follow, interesting enough to keep listening, and easy to pick up again on the next commute without having lost the thread.
I also think it was nice that it didn't sell religious justification but also didn't hide from it, presenting motivations as social factors. In the end, I didn't find any villains nor did I find any heroes, just men trying to live as best they could given their training and environment. Can we judge them? Sure. Can we blame them? Maybe. Can we learn from them? Definitely.
The one thing I did take away, is that armies periodically do stupid things and the history of the Crusades, certainly prove this repeatedly. I definitely understand the motivations and history of the Crusades more clearly and might listen to it again sometime.
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- Frank F

Book Details

  • Release Date: 27-10-2008
  • Publisher: Recorded Books