Book Review – The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades

The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades

Edited by Jonathan Riley-Smith

Over a decade ago this was one of the texts that I utilized for a university special topics course I developed on the Crusades.  I decided to revisit this book, and I’m glad that I did.

The book is composed of multiple sections by various scholars in crusades study.  If you aren’t already familiar with the basic history of the crusades, I wouldn’t advise you begin with this book.  It does not do a good job of providing a chronological sketch of the major events and persons involved.  However if you’d like further study in particular areas – art, architecture, etc. – then this book might be of interest to you.  There are plenty of illustrations throughout which make it visually interesting as well.  Further, the book spends a good deal of time discussing crusading practices and tendencies that extend much further in history than the era traditionally associated with crusading.

This is a good-looking book for someone who has a good grasp of basic crusade history and wants to delve more in-depth into related subjects.

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