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In the late fall of 1095 Pope Urban II gave a speech in Clermont, France and set all of Europe into motion. As many as a hundred and fifty thousand people eventually responded to the call, leaving everything they knew behind to undertake what appeared to be a fool’s mission: marching several thousand miles into enemy territory to reconquer Jerusalem for Christendom. Agains In the late fall of 1095 Pope Urban II gave a speech in Clermont, France and set all of Europe into motion. As many as a hundred and fifty thousand people eventually responded to the call, leaving everything they knew behind to undertake what appeared to be a fool’s mission: marching several thousand miles into enemy territory to reconquer Jerusalem for Christendom. Against all odds they succeeded, creating a Christian outpost in the heart of the Islamic world that lasted for the better part of two centuries. Perhaps no other period in history is as misunderstood as the Crusades, and in this fast-paced account, bestselling author Lars Brownworth presents the entire story, from the first clash of Christendom and Islam in the dusty sands of Yarmouk, to the fall of the last crusader state. Along the way he introduces the reader to an exotic world peopled by mighty emperors, doomed Templars, grasping generals, and ambitious peasants. Some of the most famous names of the Middle Ages - Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the legendary Prester John - illuminate this era of splendor, adventure, and faith.


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In the late fall of 1095 Pope Urban II gave a speech in Clermont, France and set all of Europe into motion. As many as a hundred and fifty thousand people eventually responded to the call, leaving everything they knew behind to undertake what appeared to be a fool’s mission: marching several thousand miles into enemy territory to reconquer Jerusalem for Christendom. Agains In the late fall of 1095 Pope Urban II gave a speech in Clermont, France and set all of Europe into motion. As many as a hundred and fifty thousand people eventually responded to the call, leaving everything they knew behind to undertake what appeared to be a fool’s mission: marching several thousand miles into enemy territory to reconquer Jerusalem for Christendom. Against all odds they succeeded, creating a Christian outpost in the heart of the Islamic world that lasted for the better part of two centuries. Perhaps no other period in history is as misunderstood as the Crusades, and in this fast-paced account, bestselling author Lars Brownworth presents the entire story, from the first clash of Christendom and Islam in the dusty sands of Yarmouk, to the fall of the last crusader state. Along the way he introduces the reader to an exotic world peopled by mighty emperors, doomed Templars, grasping generals, and ambitious peasants. Some of the most famous names of the Middle Ages - Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the legendary Prester John - illuminate this era of splendor, adventure, and faith.

30 review for In Distant Lands: A Short History of the Crusades

  1. 4 out of 5

    TG Lin

    連續將這位拉爾斯.布朗沃思(Lars Brownworth)所寫的「中古歐洲三部曲」的第三冊給讀完了。不得不說,這位作者的「說故事」功力的確不錯,適切地抓到重點,將許多紛雜繚亂的各方事蹟講得十分清楚,讓人讀了相當過癮,順便增加許多歷史方面的知識。三部曲的前兩部,主要講中世紀維京人的擴張,以及其接下來成為「諾曼人」之後在西歐各地的發展(不曉得是原作是否如此。其實前兩部《諾曼風雲》和《維京傳奇》二書,出版社的編序和其描述的時間是相反的……)。而這第三部,則以扼要的篇幅,完整交待了歐洲「十字軍東征」的始末。我不得不說,對於沒有認真接觸過維京、諾曼、十字軍東征歷史的讀者而言,本書絕對是值得一讀的入門好書。   --- 好話說完,以下開始談些對出版社比較不中聽的話了。   正如前面所說的,布朗沃思的這「三部曲」,對於「入門」的價值很高;但與那部在國內大受歡迎的房龍一樣,他們的作品只有「領進門」的作用(這項作用當然也很重要),但書中夾帶的更深一層的「史觀」,就不太像話了。特別是在《諾曼風雲》和《十字軍聖戰》二書中,作者對於「非歐洲文明」的偏見相當強烈。只要是歐洲文明與其東方的伊斯蘭的對抗上,作者的文筆便呈現 連續將這位拉爾斯.布朗沃思(Lars Brownworth)所寫的「中古歐洲三部曲」的第三冊給讀完了。不得不說,這位作者的「說故事」功力的確不錯,適切地抓到重點,將許多紛雜繚亂的各方事蹟講得十分清楚,讓人讀了相當過癮,順便增加許多歷史方面的知識。三部曲的前兩部,主要講中世紀維京人的擴張,以及其接下來成為「諾曼人」之後在西歐各地的發展(不曉得是原作是否如此。其實前兩部《諾曼風雲》和《維京傳奇》二書,出版社的編序和其描述的時間是相反的……)。而這第三部,則以扼要的篇幅,完整交待了歐洲「十字軍東征」的始末。我不得不說,對於沒有認真接觸過維京、諾曼、十字軍東征歷史的讀者而言,本書絕對是值得一讀的入門好書。   --- 好話說完,以下開始談些對出版社比較不中聽的話了。   正如前面所說的,布朗沃思的這「三部曲」,對於「入門」的價值很高;但與那部在國內大受歡迎的房龍一樣,他們的作品只有「領進門」的作用(這項作用當然也很重要),但書中夾帶的更深一層的「史觀」,就不太像話了。特別是在《諾曼風雲》和《十字軍聖戰》二書中,作者對於「非歐洲文明」的偏見相當強烈。只要是歐洲文明與其東方的伊斯蘭的對抗上,作者的文筆便呈現出這種嚴重的曲筆了。在談到「耶路撒冷大屠殺」一事,作者在第六章〈黃金之城耶路撒冷〉,耗費不少篇幅加以「翻案」︰   「……儘管這完全違背了他們所宣稱的基督教原則,但以當時頗殘暴的標準而言,十字軍有權屠殺平民百姓。……儘管有繪聲繪影的駭人傳聞,但某些卻是十字軍自己編造出來的故事,而且看來他們似乎沒有屠殺百姓。許多城民肯定已經逃掉了,因十字軍缺乏人手包圍全城……有的城民則付了贖金而得饒過一命。……死亡的總人數實際上無法確知,但當代的希伯來記載說是三千人左右,根本算不上一般所稱的大屠殺。……在大多數情況下,這些紀錄被現代人不加辨別地採用,此番劫掠耶路撒冷被視作十字軍滔天大罪的表徵。但不管怎樣,從當時的標準來看,奪取耶路撒冷的經過並不算是特別的殘酷。」 布朗沃思在當今通行的歷史材料與研究中,寫出這段話不得不算真是「奇葩」。在主流學界都認為這群法蘭克人過於兇殘的情況之下,作者居然可以自行腦補,說「你們的材料都是錯的,只有我的推測較合理」。我可以同意三千人這個數字,太過灌水是有問題的,畢竟在視野之內屍體堆積所造成的心理震撼,五百人和十萬人的感覺是差不多的。但翻來覆去要論證「十字軍沒有恣意屠殺耶路撒冷的老百姓」,作者的證據實在太單薄了;更何況三千人的濫殺算不算屠殺,作者以「和傳統相比沒那麼糟糕嘛」來開脫,就是很低級的筆法了。   --- 而本書在接下來介紹有名的「第三次東征」時,一般材料都會以「兩個英雄(獅心理查 vs 撒拉丁)的交手」來著手,但布朗沃思卻非常有趣,完全忽視撒拉丁的立體描述,光講他開戰與殺害基督教士兵的事,甚至連攻下耶路撒冷之後,撒拉丁有名的「無贖釋放」的施恩,作者只以輕描淡寫的「有能力買回自由的人可以這樣做,其他人則賣為奴隸」兩句話打發過去——除非布朗沃思再像前面所寫「十字軍沒犯下耶路撒冷大屠殺」一書多作些考據,否則那麼多其它材料所寫撒拉丁對基督徒的仁慈,作者卻完全胡謅出這麼簡單兩句話,我覺得這只能算是布朗沃思刻意的曲筆了。正如房龍所寫的歷史一樣,對於歷史人物或事件描寫最大的污衊並不是寫他們怎麼壞,而是根本忽視略過不談。   而本書最後的結論,正好呈現作者這種對伊斯蘭的偏見。現代歐美史學界在談這段文明衝突時,即使是偽裝,總是要作番基督教軍事入侵的反省。但作者卻很努力地說,「我們」基督徒並不需要覺得不好意思,因為當時「他們」穆斯林根本就在不在意我們的進出,所謂的宗教思想的衝突與接下來的仇恨報復是假的。然後,就算沒有十字軍入侵,「他們」穆斯林還是會拼命地擴張到歐洲來,所以才有鄂圖曼土耳其帝國,所以「我們」並不需要理會那段被現代歐美「歪曲」的史觀作出任何反省。看看「我們」後來重新揚眉吐氣時,也沒有對鄂圖曼土耳其幹過什麼壞事呀。   如果是二十年前的我,應該會將這套書給買下來,並常常拿出來複習一番。但臭老九思想累積多了,這套書(尤其是「歐洲中心偏見」最強烈的《十字軍聖戰》),應該只當作可供資料參考的其中之一種罷了。

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kiwi Begs2Differ ✎

    A great introduction to the history of the crusades, not without mistakes (view spoiler)[(for instance confusing the two Holy Roman emperors, Frederik II involved in the fifth and sixth crusades with Frederick I participant of the third crusade, only the latter was called Barbarossa or when explaining 1191 treaty in Sicily, the author refers to Richard Lionheart’s son. Actually a condition of the treaty refers to Richard’s heir, Arthur of Brittany who was Richard’s late brother Geoffrey’s son, s A great introduction to the history of the crusades, not without mistakes (view spoiler)[(for instance confusing the two Holy Roman emperors, Frederik II involved in the fifth and sixth crusades with Frederick I participant of the third crusade, only the latter was called Barbarossa or when explaining 1191 treaty in Sicily, the author refers to Richard Lionheart’s son. Actually a condition of the treaty refers to Richard’s heir, Arthur of Brittany who was Richard’s late brother Geoffrey’s son, so Richard’s nephew) (hide spoiler)] but very accessible and thoroughly engaging. I appreciated the inclusion of maps, sources and a list of the major players of the different crusades, but disappointed by the lack of even the simplest timeline. I have read so far three books of Brownworth and enjoyed them all, I’m planning to read Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization next. I have added Brownworth to the list of my favourite authors and I would highly recommend his books.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Letitia Todd Kim

    Another superb historical account from Lars Brownworth. Brownworth is an exceptional storyteller, gifted at unearthing and telling *the story* behind what many other historians would dryly present as a series of dates, characters, and events. Throughout, the reader is impressed with not just what happened, but also the characters’ heroics, follies, machinations, tragedies — in short, their utter humanity. I was so engrossed that at times I found myself shouting at the book, “No! Don’t do it, you Another superb historical account from Lars Brownworth. Brownworth is an exceptional storyteller, gifted at unearthing and telling *the story* behind what many other historians would dryly present as a series of dates, characters, and events. Throughout, the reader is impressed with not just what happened, but also the characters’ heroics, follies, machinations, tragedies — in short, their utter humanity. I was so engrossed that at times I found myself shouting at the book, “No! Don’t do it, you idiots!!” — particularly when the dispirited and crazed Crusaders attack and plunder Constantinople, their own ally and only bulwark against widespread and irreversible defeat. Brownworth also persuasively dispatches the prevailing myths of the Crusaders being a bunch of ragtag western barbarians attacking the more enlightened eastern Muslims (by and large they weren’t), and of the Crusades ultimately causing the cultural decline and jihadist terrorism of the Muslim world (they didn’t). The editing is a bit sloppy, with numerous distracting grammatical errors, but this is not strictly the author’s fault and does not diminish the book’s power and overall excellence.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    Consistent with its title, this is a short history. It is nice to read a history that doesn't get bogged down in endless details about every battle that took place. It does give a general overview of the impetus and the results of each crusade. What struck me most about that time period is how dependent on individuals the success or failure of a campaign was. So often the early death of a key figure completely changed the balance of power and how fragile those lives were.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Succinct and interesting. Lars hits all the major points of the crusades without belaboring any one aspect or losing sight of the whole story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cav

    This was a good, succinct history of the Crusades that began in 1093. Author Lars Brownworth gives a brief synopsis of the major battles, as well as introducing the major players; on both the Christian and Islamic sides. The book begins with the first invasion of Byzantium by the early muslims, and continues on until the last crusade of 1270, lead by King Louis IX of France. This was a good read, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in a brief history of the crusades. 4 stars.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nannette

    In Distant Lands A Short History of the Crusades Author Lars Brownworth Narrated by Joe Barrett Publication date July 11, 2017 Running time 8 hrs Courtesy Tantor Media I have never read anything directly about the crusades. Whenever I encountered them, they were the backstory or window dressing of another story. For example the legend of Robin Hood centers around Richard the Lionheart being held for ransom when returning from the third crusade. I knew there were several crusades but not exactly how man In Distant Lands A Short History of the Crusades Author Lars Brownworth Narrated by Joe Barrett Publication date July 11, 2017 Running time 8 hrs Courtesy Tantor Media I have never read anything directly about the crusades. Whenever I encountered them, they were the backstory or window dressing of another story. For example the legend of Robin Hood centers around Richard the Lionheart being held for ransom when returning from the third crusade. I knew there were several crusades but not exactly how many. I knew some of the main characters like Richard, Eleanor of Aquitaine when she was Queen of France, Saladin and Suleiman but I did not really know how they all fit together. I knew there was seriously messed up stuff involved like the Children’s Crusade and the crusaders sacking Constantinople, their own ally. In Distant Lands A Short History of the Crusades helped fill all those gaps in my knowledge of an incredibly complex subject that continues to have relevance even today. Mr. Brownworth begins the book by explaining which characters go with which crusade. I found that extremely helpful. So many of the names are not familiar, like Alexius I Comnenus, who was the emperor of Byzantium and whose request for help set the first crusade in motion. The book then lays out the logical order of events that created the need for the Byzantine emperor to seek help from the Roman Catholic Pope. He also then shows how events spiraled out of control until there was absolutely no hope of stopping the disaster that followed. The book does a wonderful job of balancing events and people. The significance of the events, what led up to them and what their consequences were are all told in a very readable fashion. At the same time the people involved in the events are discussed in a way that gives them depth and life. Nothing happens in a vacuum and the author does a great job of illustrating the people who created the events. Joe Barrett did an excellent job narrating In Distant Lands. His voice is very pleasant to listen to. He enunciates clearly and the production quality is excellent. He never stumbles on any of the foreign words whether French or Arabic. I would not hesitate to choose another book he narrates. In Distant Lands has kindled an interest for me in this period of history. I have two other books picked out for my next trip into this time period (God’s Wolf by Jeffrey Lee and The Templars by Dan Jones). I will also be looking into more of Mr. Brownworth’s work. I found In Distant Lands to be very accessible while not oversimplifying a complex subject.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elliot Lake

    Pretty good overview. Well written, and went into details that I did not expect (up until the final fall of the outremer, or crusader states). It even went towards some tangents like a crusade at Tunis by St Louis IX (the 8th crusade). I also didn't realise quite how successful the 5th and 7th crusades in Egypt were. How close Legate Pelagius was to securing the holy land, and how St Louis XI learnt from Pelagius' mistake only to fail anyway. However, a minor issue is that the book, while it men Pretty good overview. Well written, and went into details that I did not expect (up until the final fall of the outremer, or crusader states). It even went towards some tangents like a crusade at Tunis by St Louis IX (the 8th crusade). I also didn't realise quite how successful the 5th and 7th crusades in Egypt were. How close Legate Pelagius was to securing the holy land, and how St Louis XI learnt from Pelagius' mistake only to fail anyway. However, a minor issue is that the book, while it mentions Tunis, doesn't really go into too much detail about the Northern Crusades or The Reconquista. They would have been interesting to hear about. Worth a read/listen.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    Critical view of history This book contains an amazing story of the history of Christian and Muslim faiths. So much of this history has never been told and most people would not believe if told.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dan A. Foster

    Distant Lands Very detailed history of the Crusades. Not for everyone, as it is sometimes laborious. Good presentation of the Christian side of the events, but also tries to give a fair and impartial treatment of the Muslim interests.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bonita Braun

    Good Overview This book helped me understand the crusades and dispel myths. They were really incompetent thugs although many were motivated by pure intentions. Interesting and easy read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tim Banzhof

    Great read! Great read. Fascinating view of the reasons behind the crusades and ultimately how large portions of that region we're shaped.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Excellent introductory book to the crusades

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason Herrington

    Helpful, brief overview of the events of the Crusading era

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tom Runyon

    Excellent overview of the crusades This is a concise overview of a complicated part of history. The book was engaging and informative. Well worth reading!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Suzette

    This was the best book on the Crusades that I've read. I highly recommend it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    عبد الله القصير

    كتاب لطيف، بالأساس كان سلسلة بودكاست حولها المؤلف إلى كتاب. جيد لمن يريد كتاب غير أكاديمي عن الحروب الصليبية.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Diego

    A little slow

  19. 4 out of 5

    Luca

    Decently written with very introductory information, it leaves a lot to be desired at 234 pages. A few citations rather than a vague bibliography never hurt anyone, either.

  20. 4 out of 5

    PSS的小宇宙

    令人唏嘘的中世纪历史。即使是最初最纯洁的愿望,很多时候难以抵御人类贪婪的侵蚀。

  21. 4 out of 5

    Abanoub Ibrahim

    very shorted

  22. 5 out of 5

    Henry Gao

    19年第十四本。这无疑是我读过的所有关于十字军的书里最适合新手阅读的一本,本书基本删去了所有的基督教因为宣传因素改写的历史片段,也清晰的把历史脉络和主要的利益纠葛讲出来,非常难得

  23. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Very readable. Here's hoping Brownworth will write a short history of the Northern Crusades, a topic that sorely needs covering in an accessible history.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Good book, moves along at a quick pace, interesting. A good overview of events, now I need to find some more detailed books.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael DeCaprio

    Written oddly. Written like Dan Carlin reads Hardcore History. The lesson is: humans are terrible and never learn anything, not even in a thousand years.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Daneel Lynn

    Brownworth 不愧是善說故事的人,本書基本上就是基督教本位視角的十字軍演義。重點在於歷次征伐中造成的歐洲政治變化與征伐過程在黎凡特地區建立的基督教國、三大騎士團存亡始末。 結尾的評論也直接說明,十字軍的真正意義在於歐洲勢力的重組與推動宗教改革、航海時代,乃至於文藝復興的遠因,促使歐洲歷史向前翻過一頁,反而後來的鄂圖曼帝國就算贏了卻反而停滯不前。

  27. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm Sawle

  28. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ian

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sandy Quarto

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