The memory of this greatest and most enduring victory ever won by a non-European society against the West still lives in the minds of millions of Arabs today. That is not to say Maalouf lacks understanding of the intricacies of the Crusades as this is not the case, but rather the people of the Muslim world themselves seemed to view blonde violent outsiders as all the same. This latter point is well borne out in this work as the key cause of both Christian and Muslim failings in the crusades.
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Become a member Sign in Get started. Considering that the period under investigation here is Medieval, we must accept that there is a dearth of sources and Maalouf does this well, and like any good historian goes to pains to highlight that often these sources are not reliable and are in some cases even fabrications of events.
Amin Maalouf has sifted through the works of a score of contemporary Arab chroniclers of the Crusades, eyewitnesses and often participants in the events. Muslim princes were not averse to shedding eys unnecessarily, but there was no prince in the ranks of the Crusaders with the generosity and human decency of Saladin, not even the legendary Richard the Lionheart. He retells their stories in their own vivacious style, giving us a vivid portrait of a society rent by internal cruwades and shaken by a traumatic encounter with an alien culture.
Drusades detailed a perceived level of monolithism that is sadly characteristic of a lack of understanding. Middle East Research and Information Project.
Maalouf, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes | Middle East Research and Information Project
Moreover it is a work that does not become bogged down in hagiographic descriptions of the warriors of the Levant. In the notes to this chapter, he describes how throuvh event was the center of intellectual dishonesty in the 20th century with scholars downplaying it to such a level it no longer features in the crksades of the Crusades, or, justifying it as a means to prevent the starvation of a Crusader army.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. He lives in Paris. It also covers a diverse cast ranging from the Counts of France to the Mongols, and like all good stories it is told with clarity.
In summary, reading this book today does not lend credence to the idea that history repeats itself, no matter how much we might like it to. Moreover, it is stated by the author that one of his goals is to make the book accessible to those without any depth of knowledge of the Muslim world.
Under Saladin, an unstoppable Muslim army inspired by prophets and poets finally succeeded in destroying the most powerful Crusader kingdoms. From the first invasion in the eleventh century through till the general collapse of the Crusades in the thirteenth century, the book constructs a narrative that is the reverse of that common in the Western worlddescribing the main facts as bellicose and displaying situations of a quaint historic setting where Western Christians are viewed as " barbarians ", unaware of the most elementary rules of honordignity and social ethics.
However, he notes, if the sources for this barbarity were Muslim chronicles, we would dismiss them out of hand as propaganda or blatant untruth, yet Maalouf demonstrates that the only extant sources for this event are Christian.
The Crusades Through Arab Eyes | Saqi Books
This page was last edited on 7 Octoberat Geographically, the crusades took place in the region bordering the Mediterranean, running from modern Egypt to Southern Turkey. The grandeur was still intact, but this brilliant civilization was riven by violent divisions arabb cultural apathy. In addition to the general accessibility of this work, the other key ingredient that makes this work worthwhile is the manner in which Maalouf handles his sources. Works by Amin Maalouf.
Should be put in the hands of anyone who asks what lies behind the Middle East's present conflicts. Amin Maalouf was formerly director of the leading Beirut daily an-Naharand the editor of Jeune Afrique.
Views Read Edit View history. However, Islam, just like Christendom is bereft of universal adherence and is striven by discord and internecine violence.
Few Arabs -- Muslims and Christians -- doubted that the European invaders were representatives of a radically inferior thrlugh, whether in the arts, medicine, morals or justice.
March UK Price: The view of the Crusaders as one monolithic group is interesting in the context of the modern world, where the narrative in western media seems to paint all Muslims as one. As the name suggests, the book is a narrative retelling of primary sources drawn from various Arab chronicles that seeks to provide an Arab perspective on the Crusadesand especially regarding the Crusaders — the Franks Franjas the Arabs called them — who are considered cruel, savage, ignorant and culturally backward.
Unfortunately, his narration is rarely tainted by social and economic facts.
The Crusades Through Arab Eyes
The Subversive Power of Grief. These are the areas largely impacted by the Arab spring and the rise of the Islamic State. It is a story steeped in all of the trappings of a good thriller: What Maalouf demonstrates in a roundabout way is that alliances no matter how trenchant in their dislike of one another the parties are, is possible if there is a will and a cause that demands it.
The accessibility of the work must be considered the key strength of the book. MER - Transnational Palestine.