In "God's Battalions," award-winning author Rodney Stark takes on the long-held view that the Crusades were the first round of European colonialism, conducted for land, loot, and converts by barbarian Christians who victimized the cultivated Muslims. To the contrary, Stark argues that the Crusades were the first military response to unwarranted Muslim terrorist aggression.
Stark reviews the history of the seven major Crusades from 1095 to 1291, demonstrating that the Crusades were precipitated by Islamic provocations, centuries of bloody attempts to colonize the West, and sudden attacks on Christian pilgrims and holy places. Although the Crusades were initiated by a plea from the pope, Stark argues that this had nothing to do with any elaborate design of the Christian world to convert all Muslims to Christianity by force of arms. Given current tensions in the Middle East and terrorist attacks around the world, Stark's views are a thought-provoking contribution to our understanding and are sure to spark debate. (Publisher)
"GOD'S BATTALIONS launches a frontal assault on the comfortable myths that scholars have popularized about the crusades. The results are startling. His greatest achievement is to make us see the crusaders on their own terms." -- Philip Jenkins, author of The Lost History of Christianity
"There is much to be learned here. Filled with fascinating historical glimpses of monks and Templars, priests and pilgrims, kings and contemplatives, Stark pulls it all together and challenges us to reconsider our view of the Crusades." -- Publishers Weekly
"Stark's wonderfully readable prose and politically incorrect conclusions... point us to the question--Will 21st-century infiltration lead to surrender or revival?--on which Europe's future hinges." --The World Magazine
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