A Brief History of the Crusades: Islam and Christianity in the Struggle for World Supremacy

Geoffrey Hindley - 2003
    Why did the medieval Church bless William of Normandy's invasion of Christian England in 1066 and authorize cultural genocide in Provence? How could a Christian army sack Christian Constantinople in 1204? This title unravels the story of the Christian military expeditions that have perturbed European history.

The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe

Andrew Wheatcroft - 2009
    Within the city walls, the choice of resistance over surrender to the largest army ever assembled by the Turks created an all-or-nothing scenario: every last survivor would be enslaved or ruthlessly slaughtered. Although it was their most famous attack, the 1683 siege was the historical culmination of the Turks’ sustained attempt to march westwards and finally obtain the city they had long called “The Golden Apple.” Their defeat was to mark the beginning of the decline of the Ottoman Empire.With Turkey now seeking to re-orient itself towards the West and with a new generation of politicians exploiting the residual tensions between East and West, The Enemy at the Gate provides a timely and masterful account of this most complex and epic of conflicts.

Teutonic Knights

William L. Urban - 2006
    Their history is suffused with crusading, campaigning and struggle. Feared by their enemies but respected by medieval Christendom, the knights and their Order maintained a firm hold over the Baltic and northern Germany and established a formidable regime which flourished across central Europe for 300 years. This book surveys the gripping history of the knights and relates their rise to power; their struggles against Prussian pagans; the series of wars against Poland and Lithuania; the clash with Alexander Nevsky's Russia; and the gradual stagnation of the Order in the fourteenth century. The book is replete with dramatic episodes - such as the battle on frozen Lake Peipus in 1242, or the disaster of Tannenberg - but focuses primarily on the year-after-year struggle to maintain power, fend off incursions and raiding bands, and to launch crusades against unbelieving foes. And it was the crusade, with knights demonstrating their valor, which chiefly characterized and breathed life into this militant, conquering Holy Order. The narrative charts the rise and fall of the Order, and, in an accessible and engaging style, throws light on a band of knights whose deeds and motives have long been misunderstood.

Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades

Jonathan Phillips - 2009
    Jonathan Phillips traces the origins, expansion, decline, and conclusion of the Crusades and comments on their contemporary echoes—from the mysteries of the Templars to the grim reality of al-Qaeda. Holy Warriors puts the past in a new perspective and brilliantly sheds light on the origins of today’s wars.Starting with Pope Urban II’s emotive, groundbreaking speech in November 1095, in which he called for the recovery of Jerusalem from Islam by the First Crusade, Phillips traces the centuries-long conflict between two of the world’s great faiths. Using songs, sermons, narratives, and letters of the period, he reveals how the success of the First Crusade inspired generations of kings to campaign for their own vainglory and set down a marker for the knights of Europe, men who increasingly blurred the boundaries between chivalry and crusading. In the Muslim world, early attempts to call a jihad fell upon deaf ears until the charisma of the Sultan Saladin brought the struggle to a climax. Yet the story that emerges has other dimensions—as never before, Phillips incorporates the holy wars within the story of medieval Christendom and Islam and shines new light on many truces, alliances, and diplomatic efforts that have been forgotten over the centuries.Holy Warriors also discusses how the term “crusade” survived into the modern era and how its redefinition through romantic literature and the drive for colonial empires during the nineteenth century gave it an energy and a resonance that persisted down to the alliance between Franco and the Church during the Spanish Civil War and right up to George W. Bush’s pious “war on terror.”Elegantly written, compulsively readable, and full of stunning new portraits of unforgettable real-life figures—from Richard the Lionhearted to Melisende, the formidable crusader queen of Jerusalem—Holy Warriors is a must-read for anyone interested in medieval Europe, as well as for those seeking to understand the history of religious conflict.

The First Crusade: A New History

Thomas Asbridge - 2004
    His words set Christendom afire. Some 100,000 men, from knights to paupers, took up the call--the largest mobilization of manpower since the fall of the Roman Empire. Now, in The First Crusade, Thomas Asbridge offers a gripping account of a titanic three-year adventure filled with miraculous victories, greedy princes and barbarity on a vast scale. Readers follow the crusaders from their mobilization in Europe (where great waves of anti-Semitism resulted in the deaths of thousands of Jews), to their arrival in Constantinople, an exotic, opulent city--ten times the size of any city in Europe--that bedazzled the Europeans. Featured in vivid detail are the siege of Nicaea and the pivotal battle for Antioch, the single most important military engagement of the entire expedition, where the crusaders, in desperate straits, routed a larger and better-equipped Muslim army. Through all this, the crusaders were driven on by intense religious devotion, convinced that their struggle would earn them the reward of eternal paradise in Heaven. But when a hardened core finally reached Jerusalem in 1099 they unleashed an unholy wave of brutality, slaughtering thousands of Muslims--men, women, and children--all in the name of Christianity. The First Crusade marked a watershed in relations between Islam and the West, a conflict that set these two world religions on a course toward deep-seated animosity and enduring enmity. The chilling reverberations of this earth-shattering clash still echo in the world today.

In Distant Lands: A Short History of the Crusades

Lars Brownworth - 2017
    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.

The English Civil War: At First Hand

Tristram Hunt - 2002
    As well as the most famous and lively documents, diaries and court cases of the period, the author has uncovered less known sources which added together offer a new angle on the years between 1637 and 1652 when Cromwell's Roundheads and Charles I's Cavaliers fought over Anglican reforms and Scottish rule.

The Normans in the South, 1016-1130

John Julius Norwich - 1967
    This book also tells the story of his brother Roger, thanks to whom he conquered Sicily from the Saracens; and of Roger's descendants, notably his son Roger II.

Jacobites: A New History of the '45 Rebellion

Jacqueline Riding - 2016
    The tale of Charles Edward Stuart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie," and his heroic but doomed attempt to regain his grandfather's (James II) crown - remains the stuff of legend: the hunted fugitive, Flora MacDonald, and the dramatic escape over the sea to the Isle of Skye. But the full story - the real history - is even more dramatic, captivating, and revelatory.Much more than a rebellion, the events of '45 were the final act in an ongoing civil war that threatened to destabilize the British nation and destroy its embryonic empire. The Bonnie Prince and his army of Scottish highlanders alone couldn't have been much of a threat, but with the involvement of England's perennial enemy, Catholic France, it was a far more dangerous and potentially catastrophic situation for the English crown. With encouragement and support from Louis XIV, Charles Edward's triumphant Jacobite army encroached all the way to Derby, a mere 120 miles from London, before a series of missteps ultimately doomed the rebellion to crushing defeat and annihilation at Culloden in April 1746 - the last battle ever fought on British soil.Jacqueline Riding conveys the full weight of these monumental years of English history as the future course of Great Britain as a united kingdom was irreversibly altered.

The Ottoman Empire: A History From Beginning to End

Hourly History - 2018
     Over the course of just two hundred years, the Ottoman Empire grew from a small, obscure Anatolian state into the most powerful Muslim nation in the world, controlling vast swathes of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and North Africa. Within the empire science, medicine, technology, and art flourished, and the Ottoman army became one of the most feared and efficient fighting forces in existence. Then came a period of gradual decline. Beset by external enemies and torn apart by conflicting elements inside, over the next three hundred and fifty years the Ottoman Empire lost power, territory, and prestige until it became “the sick man of Europe.” Inside you will read about... ✓ Emergence of the Ottoman Dynasty ✓ The Fall of Constantinople ✓ Selim the Grim and Suleiman the Magnificent ✓ Sultanate of Women ✓ The Crimean War ✓ Decline Until World War I And much more! This is the dramatic story of the rise, fall, and eventual disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, of its conquests and defeats, and of its sultans who ranged from the grandeur of Suleiman the Magnificent to the obsession and confusion of Mustafa the Mad. The story begins with the dream of the first Ottoman sultan, Osman I, in 1300, and ended with the nightmare of the last sultan, Abdulmejid II, in 1922. This is the story of the Ottoman Empire, from beginning to end.

London At War

Philip Ziegler - 1995
    For six years it was in the front line of the free world's battle. It endured the horrors of the blitz of 1940 and 1941, and the terrifying new bombs - the V2s, the V2s. Other cities suffered more intensely; no other city was so consistently under attack for so long a time.This is the story of Londoners at war - for Philip Ziegler, best known as a biographer, is above all fascinated by the people who found their lives so suddenly and violently transformed: the querulous yet strangely gallant housewife from West Hampstead; the turbulent, left-wing, retired schoolmaster from Walthamstow, always standing up to the authorities; the odiously snobbish woman from Kensington, sneering at the 'scum' who took shelter in the Underground; the typist from Fulham; the plumber from Woolwich. It was their war every bit as much as it was Churchill's or the King's, and this is their story.Through a wealth of interviews and unpublished letters and diaries, as well as books and newspapers, the author has built up a dazzling portrait of an entire population under siege. There were cowards, there were criminals, there were incompetents, but what emerges from these pages is above all a record - in story after story - of astonishing patience, dignity, courage and humour. "I hope," Ziegler writes, "we will never have to endure again what they went through between 1939 and 1945. I hope, if we did, that we would conduct ourselves as well."

Killing the Bismarck: Destroying the Pride of Hitler's Fleet

Iain Ballantyne - 2010
    The Royal Navy's pursuit and subsequent destruction of Bismarck was an epic of naval warfare.In this new account of those dramatic events at the height of the Second World War, Iain Ballantyne draws extensively on the graphic eye-witness testimony of veterans, to construct a thrilling story, mainly from the point of view of the British battleships, cruisers and destroyers involved. He describes the tense atmosphere as cruisers play a lethal cat and mouse game as they shadow Bismarck in the icy Denmark Strait. We witness the shocking destruction of the British battle cruiser Hood, in which all but three of her ship's complement were killed; an event that filled pursuing Royal Navy warships, including the battered battleship Prince of Wales, with a thirst for revenge. While Swordfish torpedo-bombers try desperately to cripple the Bismarck, we sail in destroyers on their own daring torpedo attacks, battling mountainous seas.Finally, the author takes us into the final showdown, as battleships Rodney and King George V, supported by cruisers Norfolk and Dorsetshire, destroy the pride of Hitler's fleet. This vivid, superbly researched account portrays this epic saga through the eyes of so-called 'ordinary sailors' caught up in extraordinary events. Killing the Bismarck is an outstanding read, conveying the horror and majesty of war at sea in all its cold brutality and awesome power.

War by Timetable: How the First World War Began

A.J.P. Taylor - 1969
    It was an unexpected climax to the railway age.' A. J. P. Taylor was one of the most acclaimed historians of the twentieth century. His most provocative legacy was his insistence on the roles of accident and inadvertence in the outbreak of both world wars. First published in 1969, his book 'War by Timetable' still resonates and informs debates. 'War By Timetable' is a history of the mobilisation of the armies of the Great Powers in 1914. Taylor not only argues that the circumstances were already set for a general war, he also examines the flaws in the war plans of the Great Powers. All the plans depended on railways, which had been timed to the minute, months or even years in advance. As the train platforms grew longer (to accommodate prospective armies) the odds upon a great conflict grew shorter. The timetables and limited resources that were meant to serve as a deterrent to war instead relentlessly drove the powers into a conflict that engulfed the world. A.J.P. Taylor (1906-90) was one of the most controversial historians of the twentieth century. He served as a lecturer at the Universities of Manchester, Oxford, and London. Taylor was significant both for the controversy his work on Germany and the Second World War engendered and for his role in the development of history on television. Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent publisher of digital books.

The Crusades: A History (Yale Nota Bene)

Jonathan Riley-Smith - 1987
    With a wealth of fascinating detail, Riley-Smith brings to life these stirring expeditions to the Holy Land and the politics and personalities behind them. This new edition includes revisions throughout as well as a new Preface and Afterword in which Jonathan Riley-Smith surveys recent developments in the field and examines responses to the Crusades in different periods, from the Romantics to the Islamic world today.  From reviews of the first edition:   “Everything is here: the crusades to the Holy Land, and against the Albigensians, the Moors, the pagans in Eastern Europe, the Turks, and the enemies of the popes. Riley-Smith writes a beautiful, lucid prose, . . . [and his book] is packed with facts and action.”—Choice“A concise, clearly written synthesis . . . by one of the leading historians of the crusading movement. ”—Robert S. Gottfried, Historian “A lively and flowing narrative [with] an enormous cast of characters that is not a mere catalog but a history. . . . A remarkable achievement.”—Thomas E. Morrissey, Church History“Superb.”—Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Speculum“A first-rate one-volume survey of the Crusading movement from 1074 . . . to 1798.”—Southwest Catholic


Martin Gilbert - 1995
    For the troops who landed, it was a hard struggle as German defenders tried, and failed, to drive them back into the sea. The intricate planning and many individual acts of valor that made the Normandy landings a success ultimately paid off: less than a year later, Hitler was dead, and Germany had surrendered. In this incisive and dramatic account, historian Martin Gilbert brings this epic invasion to life. Drawing on an incredible range of materials and with the help of 28 maps prepared especially for this book, he provides new information on the intricate preparations for Operation Overlord, especially the setbacks, squabbles, and the high level of secrecy surrounding elaborate deceptions designed to convince the Germans that the landings would be somewhere far from Normandy. He provides new details of how the Allies penetrated German planning to defend against the invasion. For D-Day itself, he captures the confusion, horror, and heroism through new vivid firsthand accounts. Takin