Beginning in 1095 and culminating four bloody years later in the siege of Jerusalem, the First Crusade represented a new kind of unrestrained—and apocalyptic—warfare. For the Christian warriors, many of them uneducated Germanic tribesmen, the capture of Jerusalem would bring about the End Times and the return of Christ. For their comparatively sophisticated Muslim adversaries, the nearly barbaric Christians represented a deluge of religious fanatics and professional combatants whose zeal and savagery threatened to topple every civilization that stood in their path. Rhodes scholar and MacArthur Fellow Jay Rubenstein vividly reconstructs this cataclysmic event and reveals the role that apocalyptic thought played in motivating the Crusaders.
"Bristling with sharp erudition and exhilarating prose, Armies of Heaven is the most intelligent, thought-provoking, and enthralling history of the First Crusade written in the last fifty years. A marvelous achievement."—Mark Gregory Pegg