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The Dream and the Tomb: A History of the Crusades

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This is a comprehensive account of the eight religious wars between the Christian West and the Muslim East that dominated the Middle Ages. Calling themselves "pilgrims of Christ," thousands of Europeans from all stations in life undertook the harsh and bloody quest to reclaim Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and Christ's tomb for Christendom. Robert Payne bring This is a comprehensive account of the eight religious wars between the Christian West and the Muslim East that dominated the Middle Ages. Calling themselves "pilgrims of Christ," thousands of Europeans from all stations in life undertook the harsh and bloody quest to reclaim Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and Christ's tomb for Christendom. Robert Payne brings to life every step of the Crusaders' thousand-mile journey: the deprivation; the desperate, rapacious, and brutal raids for food and supplies; the epic battles for Antioch, Jerusalem, and Acre; the barbarous treatment of captives; and the quarreling European princes who vied for power and wealth in the Near East. An epic tale of the glorious and the base, of unshakable faith and unspeakable atrocities, The Dream and the Tomb captures not only the events but the very essence of the Crusades.


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This is a comprehensive account of the eight religious wars between the Christian West and the Muslim East that dominated the Middle Ages. Calling themselves "pilgrims of Christ," thousands of Europeans from all stations in life undertook the harsh and bloody quest to reclaim Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and Christ's tomb for Christendom. Robert Payne bring This is a comprehensive account of the eight religious wars between the Christian West and the Muslim East that dominated the Middle Ages. Calling themselves "pilgrims of Christ," thousands of Europeans from all stations in life undertook the harsh and bloody quest to reclaim Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and Christ's tomb for Christendom. Robert Payne brings to life every step of the Crusaders' thousand-mile journey: the deprivation; the desperate, rapacious, and brutal raids for food and supplies; the epic battles for Antioch, Jerusalem, and Acre; the barbarous treatment of captives; and the quarreling European princes who vied for power and wealth in the Near East. An epic tale of the glorious and the base, of unshakable faith and unspeakable atrocities, The Dream and the Tomb captures not only the events but the very essence of the Crusades.

30 review for The Dream and the Tomb: A History of the Crusades

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roope Kanninen

    Payne tuntuu alkupuheessaan jossain määrin ihailevan ristiretkiläisiä. "Kaipaamme" kuulemma ristiretkien aikaista selkeämpää maailmaa, emmekä kykene ymmärtämään ristiretkiläisiä, koska olemme menettäneet kyvyn samanlaiseen "uskomusten energiaan." Tämä tuntuu oudolta, koska Payne käy heti alussa läpi kristittyjen aikalaiskirjoituksia, joiden mukaan ensimmäiset ristiretkeläiset mm. seivästivät vauvoja ja paistoivat heitä nuotiolla. Muutoinkin sotarikokset ja korruptio käydään sen verran yksityisko Payne tuntuu alkupuheessaan jossain määrin ihailevan ristiretkiläisiä. "Kaipaamme" kuulemma ristiretkien aikaista selkeämpää maailmaa, emmekä kykene ymmärtämään ristiretkiläisiä, koska olemme menettäneet kyvyn samanlaiseen "uskomusten energiaan." Tämä tuntuu oudolta, koska Payne käy heti alussa läpi kristittyjen aikalaiskirjoituksia, joiden mukaan ensimmäiset ristiretkeläiset mm. seivästivät vauvoja ja paistoivat heitä nuotiolla. Muutoinkin sotarikokset ja korruptio käydään sen verran yksityiskohtaisesti läpi, että on vaikea ymmärtää miten kirjoittaja voi romantisoida aikakautta. Payne on kuulemma käynyt läpi myös muslimilähteitä, joten siinä mielessä oli pettymys, kuinka vähän muslimien näkökulmaa kirjassa käsiteltiin. Huomio on enemmän Euroopasta lähteneissä kuninkaissa ja ristiretkiläisissä ja esim. alueelle vakiintuneet kristityt tahot, kuten temppeliritarit, ohitetaan. Payne tuntuu myös olettavan aiheen olevan lukijalle jo jossain määrin ennestään tuttu, koska esim. Vuoren Vanhus mainitaan useita kertoja, mutta lukijalle ei kerrota kuka hän on tai mitkä ovat hänen taustansa. Mutta noilla varauksilla kirja on todella hyvä! Teksti on selkeää ja viihdyttävästi kirjoitettua ja jos kaikki kaipaamani lisätiedot olisi kirjaan lisätty, niin 400 sivua ei olisi riittänyt.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ronen

    The first book I read about the period, I was fascinated by it. Especially since I live in Israel the subject is significant to me- one can draw a lot of parallels between the situation Israel is in today to that of the Crusaders (putting aside of course the fact that they slaughtered many a Jew in and on their way to the Holy Land). The book is a good introduction and the author obviously has a great passion for the subject which is infectious to the reader. You'll need other books for a deeper The first book I read about the period, I was fascinated by it. Especially since I live in Israel the subject is significant to me- one can draw a lot of parallels between the situation Israel is in today to that of the Crusaders (putting aside of course the fact that they slaughtered many a Jew in and on their way to the Holy Land). The book is a good introduction and the author obviously has a great passion for the subject which is infectious to the reader. You'll need other books for a deeper discussion of each Crusade and specific aspects such as battles, warfare and fortifications.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Superb, excellent writing, excellent information and eye opening. Great introduction to the Crusades as a whole. Definitely recommended for those just getting into the Crusades who will continue to read more after this book or for those just wanting to gain knowledge on the basic overview. Either way cannot go wrong with this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Rawlins

    Probably my favorite history book, certainly the best on the crusades. Thoughtful, narrative, and comprehensive, this is a wonderful book for anyone who wants to take a hard, in depth look at one of the formative events in modern society.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Of all the accounts of the Crusades I've read, this one strikes the best balance between being comprehensive and being readable. Oldenbourg goes into more detail, Mackay's long chapter in Extraordinary Popular Delusions is written with more humour but Payne has been most successful in educating me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alayne

    I have always been interested in the Crusades but haven't known much about them. This book provided information to the finest detail! It was interesting but would have been much more useful to this reader with maps and with a timeline. Many of the people involved over the 200 years of the Crusades had the same names, which also made it a bit difficult. A very bloodthirsty time in the history of the Middle East, much like the last century.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Clif

    History is filled with remarkable stories but none that I have come across tells of such an incredible adventure as the Crusades. For over 200 years starting in 1098 CE, Europeans attempted to take and hold the Holy Land from those who they considered the infidel - the Muslims. Just when you would think they'd give up, the effort would be renewed, including an absurd "children's crusade" led by a fifteen year old that hoped to see Muslims abandon Jerusalem at the sight of thousands of pious unar History is filled with remarkable stories but none that I have come across tells of such an incredible adventure as the Crusades. For over 200 years starting in 1098 CE, Europeans attempted to take and hold the Holy Land from those who they considered the infidel - the Muslims. Just when you would think they'd give up, the effort would be renewed, including an absurd "children's crusade" led by a fifteen year old that hoped to see Muslims abandon Jerusalem at the sight of thousands of pious unarmed children. As it happened, the kids never made it, being sold into slavery long before reaching Jerusalem. Most amazing of all, after countless battles between Christians and Muslims over decades, the Mongols swept in out of Asia, put the Muslims to flight and then offered the entire Holy Land to the Christian Crusaders as a gift. Yet, in one of the greatest ironies of all time, the Christian presence had by that time dwindled to such a tiny population that there was no hope of holding the prize...there were hardly enough knights to hold even one city, let alone a dozen. Talk about big names-the kings of France and England joined the cause. Richard the Lionhearted cemented his fame in Crusade battles. Disputes broke out about who should be crowned king of Jerusalem and greed drove nobles to over-extend themselves trying to grab additional land. It was a call from the Byzantine emperor to a European noble to come defend against the Turks that started the whole thing and, something I had not known, the very first Crusade was the most successful - it was able to take Jerusalem and most of the Holy Land, keeping it for several decades, even to the point of creating "counties". This book is very readable for a history. Payne doesn't get deeply into detail, offering only enough background to tell the story. This may leave some history fans disappointed, such as those who might be expecting a masterwork such as those produced by Barbara Tuchman or David McCulloch that delve deeply into personalities and the background on events. Payne is more like a journalist, wishing only to get the story out as clearly and concisely as possible and he succeeds. You will never find yourself struggling to turn the pages as there is more than enough action to pull you on. If anything, I found myself thinking, "oh no, not another battle!" I was also reminded of how things haven't changed too much in the last 1000 years in the Middle East - there is still, at least on one side, the invocation of God and much talk about his will, the slaughter of innocents, beheadings and sieges. How many months have we been reading about the give and take in the suburbs of Damascus? In 2014, over 75,000 died in the Syrian civil war. Israel talks of Jerusalem being "the eternal capital of the Jews" and is trying to expel the Muslims as surely as the Crusaders, witness the recent wholesale massacre of defenseless Gazans in the name of defense. The Dream and the Tomb is a great read. Better maps would be appreciated but the story itself is well told.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hank

    more than I wanted to know about the Crusades. Parts were very interesting.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aza

    I read this book when I was about twelve years old, and forever fell in love with the story of the Crusades. I am now much older than that and am still learning lessons and re-understanding material I learned from this read! Payne takes the narrative approach and explores the personalities that formed the well-known and less-known events from 1097 to about 1250 (terminating with the sacking of Constantinople). Additional documentation and correspondences brought to light by Payne reveal personal I read this book when I was about twelve years old, and forever fell in love with the story of the Crusades. I am now much older than that and am still learning lessons and re-understanding material I learned from this read! Payne takes the narrative approach and explores the personalities that formed the well-known and less-known events from 1097 to about 1250 (terminating with the sacking of Constantinople). Additional documentation and correspondences brought to light by Payne reveal personal motivations of movers and shakers like Pope Innocent III, Richard the Lion heart and others that have become house hold names. Great read for anyone, though he does get a little long-winded at intervals.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Perfect history in that you don't have the luxury of having a favorite; at any time, either the "Muslims", the Byzantine Empire, or the "Franks" are doing things so contrary to their religions and espoused moralities that they engender disgust and contempt in all but the worst apologists. The book paints with equal accuracy the beauty, opulence, and decadence of the East and the brutality, inhumanity, and cruelty of those who would control that beauty. Essentially, the story of the Crusades is, s Perfect history in that you don't have the luxury of having a favorite; at any time, either the "Muslims", the Byzantine Empire, or the "Franks" are doing things so contrary to their religions and espoused moralities that they engender disgust and contempt in all but the worst apologists. The book paints with equal accuracy the beauty, opulence, and decadence of the East and the brutality, inhumanity, and cruelty of those who would control that beauty. Essentially, the story of the Crusades is, sadly, a microcosm of the human condition...told with scathing precision by Robert Payne.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    It is not often I can call a history text like this a "page turner" but Payne keeps the reader engrossed for nearly the entire book. Towards the end he appears tired, and pace and editing are not as strong as in the beginning, but still very much worth reading if you enjoy medieval history. A nice addition to any library.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David Becker

    Spoiler alert: Invading and occupying Muslim countries was a real tarball of an endeavor even 600-700 years ago. Payne's review of the two centuries of European efforts to control the Holy Land is a well-told tale in which the main players get full credit for avarice, stupidity and genuine religious zeal. Many lessons to be gleaned.

  13. 4 out of 5

    George

    Reads like candy. Loved this one.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brenton

    Better works on the crusades are available.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Inara

    Title in German: Die Kreuzzüge. Zweihundert Jahre Kampf um das Heilige Grab

  16. 5 out of 5

    Roy

    Good history is good story telling. This author does that very well. I appreciated that he stuck to facts, and not imagination. Especially in reference to Richard III of England.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy Wolf

    Really really good history of the Crusades. The authors point out the absurdity of the Europeans embarking to The Holy Land to free an empty tomb. The tone is even-handed, and fair to both sides.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Boyd

    One of, if not the best written history book I have ever read. This book reads as easy as a fiction novel. Very informative, my highest recommendation

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    too broad of a subject for one volume, but it is well written and a fair primer as an introduction to the topic.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bob Stuhlsatz

    It was kind of disjointed but very interesting.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Susanne

  22. 5 out of 5

    Terry

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tom Payne

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matthias Brinkmann

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  26. 4 out of 5

    Diana G Rodriguez

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Reed

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jango

  29. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

  30. 4 out of 5

    Colin Leidner

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