Read Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade by James Reston Jr. Free Online
Book Title: Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade|
Date of issue: May 15th 2001
ISBN 13: 9780385495615
The author of the book: James Reston Jr.
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 16.69 MB
Read full description of the books Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade:To be perfectly frank, I don't understand why the author even bothered writing this book. Here are my reasons, which really do need to be structured in this way (Otherwise my rant will be an unstructured melee)
1) Richard the Lionheart is a helpless bugger, isn't he? Everything he does he does wrong or for fiendish reasons. On the other hand Saladin is a Saint guided only by justice, fairness and all the rest. He also takes at face value that he was gay, and most remarkably that he had a gay relationship with Phillip Augustus! What utter nonsense! There is no textual evidence for any of that.
2) His 'criticism' of the sources. I don't understand his internal process for critically evaluating the primary sources but I highly doubt he even has one. Basically I think he looks around the chief narrative sources and try's to fit it all in to a chronology and sequence of events he had pre-structured himself, possibly before he even embarked on the evidence gathering period of his work. A great example is Richard at Jaffa, where he emerges from the sea with a crossbow. There is little evidence for that and the one manuscript which does argue that is decidedly pro-Lionheart. Its all part and parcel of Reston dumming down the history, fitting it all in to his pre-conceived plan of how he thinks the third crusade played out, and throwing it together in a vain attempt to link it to modern geopolitical struggles in that part of the globe.
3) The Saladin worship gets very irritating very early in the book. Saladin was no messiah (Even though personally I regard him as a good man and leader, in the context of the times) Reston even attempts to portray him as a liberator of slaves after the taking of Jerusalem, where he points out that Saladin and his brother et all 'did their best' to free as many slaves as they could. What nonsense! Saladin clearly had a policy with slaves - the markets in Damascus for slaves under Saladin plummeted due to the flooding of captured slaves in his reign. Slaves literally lost most of their value under Saladin because he enslaved so many people! And honestly, Reston treats us like imbeciles if he really believes he can convince anyone that Saladin disliked having to enslave anyone. This seems to me to be a critical lack of knowledge in his main protagonist.
4) Reston writes very much from the 'great men' school of history. Frankly, all we hear about is the struggle between Richard and Saladin. There was much more to the Crusade than that. I know its in the title but it is intellectually disingenuous to insist on this.
5) Its not even proper history. Its popular history and Reston isn't even an historian. You'd have to be a monkey to take his word on this on face value. Read some of Riley-Smiths, France's, Runciman's work to get a good perspective on the crusades. Keep well away from this sensationalising tabloidesque poppycrap.
Read information about the authorJames Reston Jr. (born 1941, New York City) is an American author and journalist. His father was the American journalist James Reston.
Reston was raised in Washington, D.C. He earned his BA in philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) while on a Morehead Scholarship. At UNC, he was an All-South soccer player, and retains the single game scoring record for the university (5 goals against NC State, October 18, 1962). He attended Oxford University during his junior year.
Reston was an assistant to U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall (1964–1965) and served in the U.S. Army (1965–1968). He was a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina (1971–81). Reston is a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C. and has been a fellow at the American Academy in Rome and a scholar in residence at the Library of Congress.
Reston is the author of 13 books, three plays, and numerous articles in national magazines. His works of both fiction and non-fiction cover mostly historical and political topics. He was awarded the Prix Italia and the Dupont-Columbia Award for his 1983 90-minute radio documentary on National Public Radio, Father Cares: the Last of Jonestown. His last three works, Galileo: A Life, The Last Apocalypse, and Warriors of God, have been translated into ten foreign languages. Warriors of God and Collision at Home Plate have been optioned by Hollywood.
Reston's articles have appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Time, The New York Times Magazine, George, Esquire, American Theatre, Playboy, and Rolling Stone. In recent years he has lectured widely in the United States and overseas on the millennium and the Crusades, citing their relevance to modern issues.
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