Why did the medieval Catholic 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? Why did thousands of ordinary men and women, led by knights and ladies, kings and queens, embark on campaigns of fanatical conquest in the world of Islam? Geoffrey Hindley unravels the story of the Christian military expeditions that have perturbed European history, troubled Christian consciences, and embittered Muslim attitudes towards the West. His lively record of the Crusades includes portraits of major figures from Godfrey of Bouillon, the first Latin ruler of Jerusalem, to Étienne, the visionary French peasant boy who inspired the tragic Children's Crusade.
"We are clearly entering a new phase of an old war. Hindley's book fills in the historical background to it and should be widely read."—Paul Johnson