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1. What Were the Crusades?
2. The Crusades: A History
3. The First Crusaders, 1095-1131
4. The First Crusade and the Idea
5. The Oxford History of the Crusades
6. The Crusades, Christianity, and
7. Crusades Vol. 7. Edited by Benjamin
8. Life of Riley: Suffolk Life and
9. The Knights of St. John in Jerusalem
10. The Oxford Illustrated History
11. Images of America: Fort Riley
12. The Cracked Bell: America and
13. In Laudem Hierosolymitani (Crusades:
14. New Approach to Latin for the
15. Equal Partners: How to Build a
16. Master Drawings
17. The Crusades: A Short History
18. The Business of School Leadership:
19. Wozu heilige Kriege?
20. True Partners (An Inner Workbook)

1. What Were the Crusades?
by Jonathan Riley-Smith
Paperback: 117 Pages (2009-04-30)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$10.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 158617360X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Few attempts had been made to define 'the crusade' before this book was first published in 1977. Since then, a number of historians have built on Jonathan Riley-Smith's original conclusions. Now in its fourth edition, this classic starting point for the study of the crusading movement has been updated to take into account the lastest developments in the field.

What Were the Crusades?

  • elucidates key ideas and institutions which have been neglected in the past
  • demonstrates, through the analysis of European campaigns, that the movement was not confined to expeditions launched to recover the Holy Land - or to defend the Christian presence there - and shows that it continued, in one form or another, into the eighteenth century and perhaps beyond
  • draws attention to the increasing interest of historians in the motivation of crusaders
  • now includes material on a child crusader and concludes with a short discussion of the current effects of aggressive Pan-Islamism
  • features a new map illustrating the different theatres of war

    Original in its conception, this essential guide is a contribution of major importance to crusading scholarship. In its clear and concise treatment of the issues, it remains an unequalled introduction to the subject for students and general readers alike.

    ''An indispensable short introduction to a vast subject.''
    Thomas Madden, St. Louis University ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (5)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good academic introduction
    I found this book to be a good academic (maybe a bit boring) introduction to the subject of the crusades. It is not a garrish or sensational account of this Christian invasion of the Levant between the 11th and 13th centuries. Instead is an attempt to dispassionately classify the crusades in an academic manner while looking at the factors that instigated and allowed its continuation for 2 centuries.

    4-0 out of 5 stars One scholar's definition of "Crusade"
    This slender volume by one of the world's leading scholars of the Crusading period is an excellent introductory on the subject.It has little to do with the various campaigns that made up the Crusades themselves, but rather offers a coherent definition of what a "Crusade" really was.

    Riley-Smith argues that a "Crusade," to be considered as such, must meet all of the following criteria: 1) it must be an open, voluntary and temporary vow to perform military service in the defense of a Christian place or people; 2) the campaign must receive explicit papal advocacy; 3) the participants must be granted certain privileges generally extended to Christian pilgrims; and, most importantly, 4) participants must receive generous indulgences against sins in return for their service.

    The author's definition is rather broad by other standards.For instance, he directly rejects the notion that the Crusades focused exclusively on the recapture of the Holy Lands, with a special emphasis on Jerusalem.But he also argues that actions that had an objective of national liberation (as opposed to the liberation of the Republic of Christ) and/or were led by secular monarchs rather than the pope - the Spanish Reconquista is the most obvious example - were not part of the crusading movement, properly defined.Neither were the actions undertaken by the various religious military orders that developed in the Middle Ages, such as the Knights Templar and the Hospitallers, because those groups maintained selective admission standards and their vow was permanent, not temporary.

    The issue on which Riley-Smith differs most strongly and fundamentally with other leading scholars of the period is his belief that the motivations of the Crusaders were, in the main, pure and sincere.He argues that individual crusaders were driven primarily by self-interest in the offer of plenary indulgence (i.e. the complete remission of guilt and punishment for sins both on earth and in the afterlife) with only a secondary consideration in serving the Republic of Christ; avarice and the lure of plunder in the East played no part.The prospect of eternal salvation and the defense of God's Kingdom on Earth thus propelled the various campaigns that came to be known as the Crusades; they weren't smokescreens for conquest.

    One final note: "What were the Crusades?" is concise and introductory, but it isn't light.Much of the material is dense and the first-time reader may find that they need to proceed slowly through the chapters to fully absorb the arguments.Also, a good follow up book to this one is the classic overview of the Crusades by the German historian Hans Eberhard Mayer.You'll quickly see the differences in opinion between these two leading scholars.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant intro
    This book IS available in a sharp looking 100 page softcover from Ignatius Press.Its the 3rd edition with new intro since its original publication in 1977.Dr. Riley-Smith, full professor at Cambridge, is THE leading authority on the Crusades.

    This book is a workout for the non-specialist.Its obstensibly an exercise in definition: Few ever bother to define what exactly is a 'Crusade' and what isn't -- he shows the different schools of thought on this question and renders his own judgment.In the process he gives an historic overview, a highly sophisticated commentary on the crusade ideal (and ways the actual practice fell short), and much more.One of the best succinct definitions of the Christian Just War theory I've ever seen (as well as Holy War theories that have fallen out of favor).

    If this leaves you wnating more, check out Riley-Smith's masterful The Crusades: A Short History (Yale).Also see the special issueon the Crusades by Christain history magazine form a few years ago (back issues available from Christianity Today Institute online).It is richly illustrated and includes a masterful interview with Riley-Smith among other things for a few dollars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Useful background and approach
    Thanks to Islamism, the subject of the Crusades has gained new currency, indeed urgency. This is the third edition of a very useful introduction to the crusading enterprise by a distinguished professor of history at Cambridge. Who were the Crusaders, what did they believe they were doing, what were the moral legitimations of their cause? These and other questions are addressed, and the book includes a helpful annotated bibliography for the reader who wants to learn more. A first THings review

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners!
    The title and brevity of this book would give the impression that it is an introduction to the subject of the Crusades for readers who don't know much about them yet.Nothing could be further from the truth.It contains a great deal of useful, enlightening information that would put the subject into perspective, but if one does not have a good grounding in medieval history, or thorough basic knowledge of the Crusades already, much of the book is uninterpretable.The author brings up the names of various medieval European kings (Henry IV, etc.) without bothering to mention what countries they ruled and when they lived.You can't figure this information out from context, because the author jumps around in time and geography a lot, sometimes three or more times in the same paragraph.He similarly brings up historical events that to the lay reader are completely obscure, and doesn't give any indication as to what they were.I can't tell if this book was written by an intellectual who is so far into his field that he has no idea what the average, well-educated reader doesn't know, or if it is just not intended for novices.In either case, before you can reap the benefits of this book, you need to find a basic book on the Crusades and educate yourself with that one first. ... Read more

  • 2. The Crusades: A History
    by Jonathan Riley-Smith
    Paperback: 400 Pages (2005-06-11)
    list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$11.89
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0300101287
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Product Description

    This lively, comprehensive history provides a wealth of fascinating detail about the Crusades and the politics and personalities behind them. This new edition includes revisions throughout as well as a new Preface and Afterword in which Jonathan Riley-Smith surveys recent developments in the field and examines responses to the Crusades in different periods, from the Romantics to the Islamic world today, making this the standard and authoritative account of the Crusades for years to come.
    From reviews of the first edition:
    “Everything is here: the crusades to the Holy Land, and against the Albigensians, the Moors, the pagans in Eastern Europe, the Turks, and the enemies of the popes. Riley-Smith writes a beautiful, lucid prose, . . . [and his book] is packed with facts and action.”—Choice

    “A concise, clearly written synthesis . . . by one of the leading historians of the crusading movement. ”—Robert S. Gottfried, Historian

    “A lively and flowing narrative [with] an enormous cast of characters that is not a mere catalog but a history. . . . A remarkable achievement.”—Thomas E. Morrissey, Church History

    “Superb.”—Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Speculum

    “A first-rate one-volume survey of the Crusading movement from 1074 . . . to 1798.”—Southwest Catholic

    ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (14)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Englightening!
    A wonderful narrative of the history of the Crusades.Insightful, compelling, and brilliantly researched!A must read for another with an interest in this epoch of history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Crusades A Short History by Jonathon Rily Smith
    Very happy with this book.A necessity for my course and find it easy to read.
    Riley Smith writes easily but without any waffle.Full of history and full of information gathered from written extracts by followersof the crusades and those who went on the crusades themselves.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Balanced but encyclopedic account of the Crusades
    The two words that this reviewer was left with upon reading Jonathan Riley-Smith's account of the Crusades was: balanced and encyclopedic.The first signifies high praise; the second not so much.

    The casual reader looking for a fair account of the Crusades has his work cut out for him.Objectivity and balance is always a treasure in historical writing, but it seems exceptionally rare where the Crusades are concerned.So many treatments available to the casual reader serve as convenient platforms for political diatribe or vehicles for scathing attack on the Catholic Church.It seems likely that no modern treatment of the Crusades could reach uncritical conclusions, but reasoned and balanced criticism is a far cry from polemicism, much less naked anti-Catholicism.

    Mr. Riley-Smith's work deserves solid praise in this regard.His book is by no means uncritical, but it's approach -- and tone -- is both balanced and reasoned.Considering the many other works with which it can be compared, this is no small feat.Mr. Riley-Smith shows how the crusading impetus developed in Catholic thought, contextualizing the movement instead of climbing atop a soapbox to assail it.

    The shortfall of the book, though, is significant, at least for the casual reader.Put simply, it is just too encyclopedic.For a student steeped in medieval history, the book might be just what the doctor ordered, but for the casual reader, this weakness is no small thing.This is not to say that the book is poorly written.There is nothing wrong with Mr. Riley-Smith's prose.But it is extremely dense, and the calvacade of personages, place names and the like can become overwhelming.Perhaps this is a predictable result of a book whose temporal scope is as ambitious as Mr. Riley-Smith's.But even if understandable, the plain fact is that such an approach renders this book much less engaging than it might have been.

    And that is truly a shame.For Mr. Riley-Smith shows keen analytical skills, an impressive breadth of knowledge and a commendable tone.He has no obvious axes to grind.A more focused approach, perhaps addressing one of the crusades instead of their panoply, could allow Mr. Riley-Smith to showcase these impressive traits and might provide a great book.This reviewer would give the present book 3.5 stars if Amazon's rating system permitted it.Considering Mr. Riley-Smith's strengths, this reviewer wishes he could have given an even higher rating.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well worth the reading.
    This book covers all the known wars that can be called Crucades. Not only does the author cover the four most widely known crusades to the Holy Land by Western Europe but also some of the lesser known crusades. This book is very informative, well written and compiled with in a time line format. This book is well worth the time needed to read it.

    I lent my copy of it out to a student and never got it back so obviously he liked it too!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Massive, Informative, and Difficult
    Granting each of the previous reviewers problems with this book, it still stands as the current best one volume history of the Crusades that I have encountered.Furthermore, as Crusade history has become a booming industry since 9/11, this book is also published by Continuum in both paperback and hardback with another printing coming later this year.There are some interesting reviews of this book under the Continuum paperback edition listing here on Amazon that the reader may wish to consult.There are no footnotes, almost no white space and the print density is weak.The publisher, Yale NB, has chosen to turn a larger 392 page hardback into a compact 357 page paperback.I will assume this was done to keep costs down.So being forewarned if you wish to understand the Crusades and have some background in the history of the Middle Ages in Europe and the Middle East, buy this book and read it.If you have no background in the history of the Middle Ages, it might be best to find one of the many excellent one volume considerations of the entire era and read it before this book.You will be rewarded with far greater insight into the author's analysis of the Crusades.

    As the crusades are a specialist topic within the history of the Middle Ages, the author assumes that you, the reader, are conversant with such issues as the investiture crisis and church reform of the era for example.This may cause some confusion for the casual reader.However, there is still much to be learned here regardless of your knowledge of the Middle Ages.Further, Riley-Smith is a "pluralist."And this is a "plural history" in that it includes material on the Baltic, Spanish, Italian political, anti-heretical and other permutations of the Crusades as well as those directed at the holy lands and the Muslims.Each chapter within itself provides a reasonable narrative history of the topic under discussion.But to cover the subject fully, various specialized topics are considered at length that chop up the flow of material.The material is generally chronologically arranged but in no sense is this eloquent narrative prose.And yet out of all this, a detailed picture of the crusading movement and Middle Age Christian piety emerge.And, that unique European Middle Age Christian fervor is what drove the Crusades and make them explicable in a fashion that is not riddled by conceptual anachronisms.

    It is this reader's opinion that only with a plural historical framework can the Crusades be considered adequately to be understood as a function of their own time and culture.This Riley-Smith accomplishes with more credibility than any other one volume history of the Crusades that I have read so far. And, I have read most of this material.A fascinating short historiographical essay closes the text, and a remarkable and detailed bibliography is provided with extensive helpful commentary from the author.If you have an axe to grind with the Catholic Church, look elsewhere.If you are looking for supposed contemporary relevance in the Crusades, other books will provide you with far more of what you want.If you are sure that the Crusades were an imperialistic and proto-colonial activity, this book is not for you.If you find the Crusades to be the last massive act of European barbarism, read Runciman.In remarkable detail, Christendom's decent into armed intolerance and coercion is explained and illuminated by this work.This is not a happy story, and one wonders what the man from Galilee who said, "Love your enemies...," would think about all this.This book is near mandatory reading for any reader wishing to have more than a passing acquaintance with the history of the Crusades. ... Read more

    3. The First Crusaders, 1095-1131
    by Jonathan Riley-Smith
    Paperback: 320 Pages (1998-11-28)
    list price: US$34.99 -- used & new: US$28.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0521646030
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Product Description
    Much has been written about the crusades, but very little about the crusaders. What moved them to go? What preparations did they need to make? How did they react to their experiences? This book comes up with detailed answers to these questions, and offers the first systematic reading of a large cache of contemporary source material. The author identifies family clusters of crusaders across Europe, whose collective commitment manifested itself in support for the new settlements in the East. ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The First Crusaders, 195-1131
    The First Crusaders, 1095-1131
    Amazingly detailed and researched, but I would expect nothing less from Jonathan Riley-Smith. (He also wrote the book The Crusades.) This book lists every possible participant in the First Crusade, complete with documentation and, if at all possible, the location of origin of each. If you need to know about a particular ancestor who may have fought in the First Crusade, this would be your absolute best source with which to start - Mr. Riley-Smith lists in complete detail all of his original source material, along with a lengthy bibliography. You can't do better than this as a start in your search for ancestors in the First Crusade.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Well written and thoroughly researched
    This book provides a balanced and very well researched account of the men and women who participated in the First Crusade. From the amount of information that Riley-Smith includes in this work, it is clear that he really knows his stuff. Sometimes the detailed accounts of the crusader's lives is a little hard to slog through, but it definitely helps support his argument.I would have liked a more general overview of the First Crusade towards the beginning of the work. I don't know much about the history of the Crusades, and I had to piece together the sequence of events as Riley-Smith mentioned them throughout his work.But besides this complaint, the book was a good read.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An informational book
    This book is very informative. It not bias and shares both points of view on many issues. The way the book is organized is appropiate for the books content. The dates are clear and very accurate. I enjoyed reading and usingthis book for reasearch because the text was interesting to read. I feelthis is an easy bok to read in that the catogories are very clear. Thisbook could be enjoyed by people of all ages and levels. Wether this is yourfirst time studying the crusades or your 100th I feel this is a great book. ... Read more

    4. The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading (The Middle Ages Series)
    by Jonathan Riley-Smith
    Paperback: 232 Pages (2009-10-30)
    list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$21.42
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0812220765
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Product Description

    Focusing on the inner workings of the First Crusade in a way that no other work has done, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading delves into the Crusade's organization, its finances, and the division of authority and responsibility among its leaders and their relationships with one another and with their subordinates.

    In the year 1095, Pope Urban II initiated what is known today as the First Crusade. His summons of the lay knights to the faith between 1095 and 1096 was Urban II's personal response to an appeal that had reached him from eastern Christians, the Pope referred to the struggle ahead as Christ's own war, to be fought in accordance with God's will and intentions. It was, too, called a war of liberation, designed to free the church and city of Jerusalem from oppression and pillage by the Muslims while liberating western Church from the errors into which it had fallen.

    In this classic work, presented here with a new introduction, one of the world's most renowned crusade historians approaches this central topic of medieval history with freshness and impeccable research. Through the vivid presentation of a wide range of European chronicles and charter collections, Jonathan Riley-Smith provides a striking illumination of crusader motives and responses and a thoughtful analysis of the mechanisms that made this expedition successful.

    ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (5)

    3-0 out of 5 stars As far as required reading goes, it isn't bad.
    But there is no way I would read this book if I didn't have to. It is not an easy read. It is a tedious slog. Having said that, it is relatively short +- 150 pages of actual content, so at least you will only be board out of your mind for a few hours. There is also a lot of good information in there, for those of us who have the time and inclination to get to it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting
    Riley Smith focuses on the title of his book, that is what he wants to present and does. It is not a light read, but anyway it is very clear and dinamic; the author presents facts in an interesting and condensed way, and he does take time (we apreciate that!)to explain the sources he has used in his investigation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a wonderful analysis
    This is a brilliant book by a leading historian of the crusades.It needs to be understood on its own terms: it's a detailed analysis of *why* so many Europeans set off on the 1st Crusade.Riley-Smith has produced a closely-arguedanalysis that places the crusade within the context of the world of eleventh-century Europe that created it.This isn't the place to go if you want accounts of the battles of the crusade, and it isn't a "light" read.But it's extremely valuable---I've assigned it several times to my classes.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not for the average reader
    As a student of history, not focused on the period, I found this book a hard and annoying read.Riley-Smith focuses too much on proving his arguments through repetative evidence, and only through a close examination and arduous reading of the title from front to end does one gain a good understanding of what Riley-Smith wanted to convey.The art of story-telling does not live in this one...

    2-0 out of 5 stars Buy this book,then buy some coffee
    I needed to read this book for a class, and of all the books I have read on the crusade this is by far the most boring. ... Read more

    5. The Oxford History of the Crusades
    Paperback: 488 Pages (2002-06-13)
    list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$7.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0192803123
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Product Description
    In this collection of essays, the story of the Crusades is told as never before in an engrossing and comprehensive history that ranges from the preaching of the First Crusade in 1095 to the legacy of crusading ideals and imagery that continues today. Here are the ideas of apologists, propagandists, and poets about the Crusades, as well as the perceptions and motives of the crusaders themselves and the means by which they joined the movement. The book's coverage ranges from the elaborate social and civic systems that arose to support the Crusades to in-depth and vivid descriptions of the battles themselves. The contributors provide keen and insightful commentary on the reactions of the Muslims to a Christian holy war. Also included are studies of crusades outside the eastern Mediterranean region as well as post-medieval crusades. By describing the combat and homefront conditions, by evaluating the clash (and coalescence) of many cultures, by tracing a legacy that continues in our conflict-ridden present, and by documenting the enduring artistic and social changes that the Crusades wrought, A History of the Crusades offers an unsurpassed panorama of one of the great movements in western history. All students of medieval culture, religion, politics, and/or history will find in these pages a highly useful, thorough, and contemporary account of that movement. ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars outstanding
    I found this guide to the Crusades to be very well written.It tends to be somewhat on the dry side - published by Oxford University Press, that shouldn't come as any surprise.While somewhat dry at times, it provides the reader with a wealth of quite invaluable information on the Crusades, how they were financed, who participated, their thoughts, battles ...Over all, this is a superb book.I wish that more information would have been provided about the influence of the Crusades on the Inquisitions and on the experiences of the other guys.It takes two to battle and the perspectives of the Monguls and Islamists and Jews and pagans and everybody else ... well, beyond mentioning of the experiences here and there, there wasn't much discussion.Of course, grammar and style were outstanding.The few photographs really didn't provide much information.It could also have benefited from comprehensive maps.I think that this is an excellent resource for the individual who wishes to better understand the Crusades, whether it be someone from the public or an undergraduate or, perhaps even a graduate student of history or religion.I give this an A-. ... Read more

    6. The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam (Bampton Lectures in America)
    by Jonathan Riley-Smith
    Hardcover: 136 Pages (2008-09-08)
    list price: US$26.50 -- used & new: US$20.02
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0231146248
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Product Description

    The Crusades were penitential war-pilgrimages fought in the Levant and the eastern Mediterranean, as well as in North Africa, Spain, Portugal, Poland, the Baltic region, Hungary, the Balkans, and Western Europe. Beginning in the eleventh century and ending as late as the eighteenth, these holy wars were waged against Muslims and other enemies of the Church, enlisting generations of laymen and laywomen to fight for the sake of Christendom.

    Crusading features prominently in today's religio-political hostilities, yet the perceptions of these wars held by Arab nationalists, pan-Islamists, and many in the West have been deeply distorted by the language and imagery of nineteenth-century European imperialism. With this book, Jonathan Riley-Smith returns to the actual story of the Crusades, explaining why and where they were fought and how deeply their narratives and symbolism became embedded in popular Catholic thought and devotional life.

    From this history, Riley-Smith traces the legacy of the Crusades into modern times, specifically within the attitudes of European imperialists and colonialists and within the beliefs of twentieth-century Muslims. Europeans fashioned an interpretation of the Crusades from the writings of Walter Scott and a French contemporary, Joseph-François Michaud. Scott portrayed Islamic societies as forward-thinking, while casting Christian crusaders as culturally backward and often morally corrupt. Michaud, in contrast, glorified crusading, and his followers used its imagery to illuminate imperial adventures.

    These depictions have had a profound influence on contemporary Western opinion, as well as on Muslim attitudes toward their past and present. Whether regarded as a valid expression of Christianity's divine enterprise or condemned as a weapon of empire, crusading has been a powerful rhetorical tool for centuries. In order to understand the preoccupations of Islamist jihadis and the character of Western discourse on the Middle East, Riley-Smith argues, we must understand how images of crusading were formed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

    ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (3)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Concise and to the Point
    Keeping in mind that this is the text from a lecture, I found it both rational and well thought out.Considering that JR-S has written five other books about the Crusades, and others about specific crusades, I'm not surprise that he has a good handle on the subject.But, he does something many academics can't do, explain his subject in a way that is pleasant to read while giving a factual account

    JR-S is best when he is interpreting what has been written with what actually (to the best of his knowledge) happened.This isn't as easy as it sounds, since many of the materials that come down to us from medieval times, were altered as they were copied and translated (sometimes deliberately) or in some cases were total fabrications.It was not unusual for the nobility to have their family history 'adjusted' to give their ancestors a larger place in history then they deserved.Knowing what is true and what is 'myth' is what makes this a strong lecture.

    The part that discusses the modern relationship between the Crusades and the radical Islamists, is especially pertinent to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.The way that westerners (sometimes still referred to as 'Franks' by some extremists) are perceived in parts of the Middle East and in Dar al-Islam is in many ways the result of how the Ottoman Empire was divided by France and Britain at the end of World War One.

    This is one lecture I'm sorry I missed.

    Zeb Kantrowitz

    3-0 out of 5 stars Even-Handed and easily read
    "The Crusaders ..." , in my estimation, is clearly written with an even-handed approach.A bit painful; yet, as the saying goes:At times, the truth hurts.

    Fr. Bud

    5-0 out of 5 stars THEY BORROWED OUR BAD IDEAS
    Over the last five decades, Jonathan Riley-Smith has revolutionized--or, more appropriately, counter-revolutionized--the historical study of The Crusades by demonstrating that they were not driven by avarice, greed, and imperialism but instead by piety, religious enthusiasm, a sense of duty, and a genuinely fervent desire to liberate the Holy Lands and return them to Christian hands. Moreover, he showed that, far from enriching themselves, the Crusaders suffered real personal expense and hardship in order to pursue what they saw as the will of God in what he refers to as "penitential warfare." From what I've been able to find on-line, it appears that even most who are most reluctant to let the Crusaders and Christianity off the hook have come to accept the validity of his view.

    In these lectures, Mr. Riley-Smith provides a nice short rehearsal of his basic arguments in this regard. He then moves on to a discussion of how Enlightenment opponents of Christianity, Romantic authors klike Sir Walter Scott, and anti-Imperialists of the late 19th century produced the historically warped version of the Crusades that came to be all too widely accepted in the West and that, tragically, was then adopted by Islamic jihadis to fuel hatred of Chistendom. In effect, many of the resentments of al Qaeda owe nothing to the actual history of the interaction of Christianity and Islam in the Holy Lands and everything to the misrepresentations of, if not outright lies about, that history that have been propounded in the West.

    This slender book is a splendid corrective to the malignant view of the Crusades that remains a part of popular culture--like Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven--and a compelling rebuttal to those who claim that "they hate us" because of our own past actions. It's a must read. ... Read more

    7. Crusades Vol. 7. Edited by Benjamin Z. Kedar, Jonathan Riley-Smith and Jonathan Phillips
    by B. Z. Kedar
    Hardcover: 350 Pages (2008-08)
    -- used & new: US$160.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0754664740
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    Editorial Review

    Product Description
    "Crusades" covers seven hundred years from the First Crusade (1095-1102) to the fall of Malta (1798) and draws together scholars working on theatres of war, their home fronts and settlements from the Baltic to Africa and from Spain to the Near East and on theology, law, literature, art, numismatics and economic, social, political and military history.Ashgate publishes this journal for The Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East. Particular attention is given to the publication of historical sources in all relevant languages - narrative, homiletic and documentary - in trustworthy editions, but studies and interpretative material is welcomed too. "Crusades" also incorporates the Society's Bulletin. ... Read more

    8. Life of Riley: Suffolk Life and Times of Frank Riley Smith M.F.H. - The Sporting Squire of Great Barton 1901-1912
    by Frank Holmes
     Paperback: 65 Pages (1998-02)

    Isbn: 0953205711
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    9. The Knights of St. John in Jerusalem and Cyprus, c. 1050-1310 (A History of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, v. 1)
    by Jonathan Simon Christopher Riley-Smith
     Unknown Binding: 553 Pages (1967)

    Asin: B0006BU20G
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    10. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades (Oxford Illustrated Histories)
    Paperback: 470 Pages (2001-05-24)
    list price: US$27.99 -- used & new: US$17.41
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0192854283
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Product Description
    In The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades, the story of the Crusades is told as never before in an engrossing, authoritative, and comprehensive history that ranges from the preaching of the First Crusade in 1095 to the legacy of the crusading ideals and imagery that continues today. Here are the ideas of apologists, propagandists, and poets about the Crusades, as well as the perceptions and motives of the crusaders themselves and the means by which they joined the movement.
    The authors describe the elaborate social and civic systems that arose to support the Crusades--taxation, for example, was formalized by the Church and monarchs to raise enormous funds needed to wage war on this scale. And here are vivid descriptions of the battles themselves, frightening, disorienting, and dangerous affairs, with keen and insightful commentary on the reactions of the Muslims to a Christian holy war. Extensively illustrated with hundreds of photographs, paintings, drawings, maps, chronologies, and a guide to further reading, The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades even includes coverage of crusades outside the eastern Mediterranean region and post-medieval crusades.
    From descriptions of the battles and homefront conditions, to a thorough evaluation of the clash (and coalescence) of cultures, to the legacy of the crusading movement that continues into our conflict-torn twentieth-century, to the enduring artistic and social changes that the Crusades wrought, The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades offers an informative, engaging, and unsurpassed panorama of one of the great movements in western history. ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (12)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Not very good.
    I do not know whom this book was written for.As an Oxford Illustrated History, you would think it would give you a straightforward play by play of the major events, battles, personalities, etc.This book gives no such thing.It spends the first 30 pages disabusing you of opinions about the crusade that you do not hold (unless you are a student of Runciman).It never really gets better.The book is too abstract to be of any use for any casual reader.And surely, all of the specialists are familiar with the arguments put forth in this book.I know more about the players of the crusades from reading Tasso's epic poem, Jerusalem Delivered, than from reading this book.

    To give a comparison, this book might explain why, psychologically, the Yankees need to win the World Series, but it never actually talks about the Series.Who pitched?It does not matter. See, New York was feeling really bad about something and needed the lift...........................

    Chapters have titles like "Crusading Movement" and "the State of Mind of Crusaders."The chapter missing is "What Happened?"

    5-0 out of 5 stars Historical facts. No more.
    This is a very important book for people who want to know the facts without stories of romance and chivalry. It is very well organized with chapters dedicated to all the aspects of life from the time of the Crusades, aspects ranging from the military orders in various periods of time to the evolution of crusading literature. I recommend this book for people who need an overview of the period of the Crusades. It is also advisable, in order to comprehend the whole picture of the Crusades, to read opinions from the Muslim side. A very good book in this region is "Arab Historians of the Crusades" (The Islamic World Series) by Francesco Gabrieli.

    4-0 out of 5 stars High-gloss paper w/ a straight-forward approach to the Crusades
    This is an intro book to the Crusades.
    What I liked about The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades was it's very 'neat' look at history.It is a clean-cut array of events in prose form, with several pictures and illustrations, without moral position taken.This way, the reader can use the information given and put it into a context of discussion and a wider analysis of the time period covered.The only down-side was probably that, having used it in a classroom setting, I felt almost as if it were too 'story-book', too illustrative.The information, however, is substantial.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent tome on the crusades to begin your historical journey!
    The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades introduced me to several aspects of the military campaigns and enduring influences they had which I had never been exposed.I have read other books on this topic and have learned a great deal, however, additional topics such as poetry, song and architecture were items which up until my reading of this book I had not even considered.After reading this book you will realize as perhaps as I that one has merely scratched the surface of Crusade history.I highly recommend this source if you would be interested in getting a bigger and better picture of this often misunderstood and oft-maligned period of history in western civilization.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not a book for the general public
    On the back cover you can read: "written by a team of leading scholars, this richly illustrated book.....presents an authoritative and comprehensive history of the Crusades from thepreaching of the First Crusade in 1905 to the legacy of crusading ideas and imaginery today".
    In fact it is a book written by scholars for scholars only and it is very different from the other many books about the Crusades that follow a cronological description of the history of the events that took place.
    The book is composed of 15 chapters, written by different authors, that have little or no coordination at all, so it is no informative. The contents are very descriptive of the orientation of the book: ... Songs of the crusades, Architecture in the latin east, Images of the crusades in the 19th and 20th centuries, Revival and Survival (the orders today). As good scholars they authors also plague the book with a lot of fashionalbe, weird and mislead theories, very much repeated along the book like that the spanish reconquista was part of the crusades.
    The book has many pictures, and some of the articles-chapters are interesting because they focus more deeply on a given issue, but it doesn't treat adequately the history of the crusades, the fears, pains, feats and ambitions of the crusaders, the way of life on the Holy Land, and the daily relationships between the several clashing cultures.

    After reading the book you will not have a true picture about the flow of events that lead to the Crusades and their outcome. At the most it is a book for those that already have many other books on the subject, and want to have a look to its pictures and know a particular point of view of some of its authors.
    Definitely not worth buying for the general public as one of the first readings.
    ... Read more

    11. Images of America: Fort Riley (Kansas)
    by William McKale, Robert Smith
    Paperback: 128 Pages (2004-07-26)
    list price: US$21.99 -- used & new: US$19.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0738531693
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Product Description
    Founded in 1853, Fort Riley was established to protect merchants and settlers on the Santa Fe and Oregon-California Trails. Fort Riley kept the peace during the Civil War and, in1893, a cavalry school began operation there. Fort Riley continued to train mounted troops during the Golden Age of Cavalry after World War I, but also served as a training site for more than 150,000 troops during the first and second World Wars. This collection of vintage images commemorating the sesquicentennial of Fort Riley is a colorful, patriotic reminder of the military post that has served the nation continuously since its founding 150 years ago.ÝAUTHORBIO: William McKale is director of the Fort Riley Museum Division.His previous work includes articles on cavalry and military history, as well as Fort Riley, Citadel of the Frontier West, published in 2000 by the Kansas State Historical Society. Robert Smith is working towards a Ph.D. in history at Kansas State University.He has published articles on military and social history in numerous journals. ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (1)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fort Riley (KS) (Images of America) Old Soldier's Review
    A very good historical layout of the development of the post and famous Soldiers who have served at Fort Riley.Many pictures particularly of post Civil and pre WW II era.Especially enjoyed history of calvary and horses at Fort Riley.In many of the pictures, the authors point out specific pieces of uniforms which all former Soldiers will find interesting. Emphasis of the book is pre-Vietnam era.Would have enjoyed more emphasis on development of Custer Hill area, later family housing and areas common to Soldiers and their families. ... Read more

    12. The Cracked Bell: America and the Afflictions of Liberty
    by Tristram Riley-Smith
    Hardcover: 336 Pages (2010-03-03)
    list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1602397597
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Product Description
    A whirlwind tour of America: how it went wrong and how we will finally re-gain our lead role on the world stage.The twin concepts of liberty and the free market have been instrumental in shaping American identity. Here, author Tristram Riley-Smith delves into how the perverting of these concepts has led to today’s economic crisis and identity crisis for America.

    Including President Obama’s election and initial stimulus package, Riley-Smith takes us on a whirlwind examination of America. For three years, he served in the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. and traveled through-out the country and this outsider’s perspective offers an in-depth look at the state of American culture after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, toxic debts, and the credit crunch. With lively, insightful commentary, careful research, and illuminating personal anecdotes, Riley-Smith uses images like the cracked liberty bell to explain just where things went wrong, and how we can make them right. He touches upon big issues and examines America’s consumer culture, using recognizable icons like Martha Stewart, Giorgio Armani, artist Barbara Kruger, and Wal-Mart.

    The Cracked Bell is a timely, accessible exploration of the current finan-cial crisis and a hard look at the America of the twenty-first century. It’s a delightful, thoughtful, and necessary book that takes the reader headlong into the philosophies, icons, and institutions responsible for America’s troubles and what can be done about them. ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (7)

    1-0 out of 5 stars This Book is Waste of Your Time
    Have you ever wondered what social anthropologists actually do? Me neither. This book is probably one of the saddest pieces of intellectual work I have ever come across. I have now lived in the US for couple of years and my modest wish was to gain some insight to the current affairs here. I ended up disagreeing with almost every sentence. The whole book is just a poor collection of stereotypes which some Europeans and British people seem to have about the United States. The author has spent a few years in DC working for the British Embassy. She probably didn't even bother to get to know the country outside the Beltway! In my opinion, the mentality and the world view championed in this book perfectly explain something totally different than its intended goal. Namely, "the character of the British people: 'passive' and 'envious'". Definitely not worth of your time.

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Cracked Book
    The Cracked Bell:America and the Afflictions of Liberty is the latest in a long series of books by foreign authors commenting on the American character.Dr. Tristram Riley-Smith examines what he claims to be seven paradoxes involving our distinctive yearning for liberty.The book is full of interesting statistics and vivid personal vignettes of those he has apparently encountered in his travels around the country.

    Unfortunately, parts of the book are weak and do not provide adequate support for the author's theses.Chapter three observes that humanists and Christian evangelicals are at odds, but he uses the films of Quentin Tarantino to support his that humanists are also preoccupied with good and evil.Few thoughtful humanists are likely to share Riley-Smith's view that the extremely violent films Kill Bill or Inglorious Basterds provide a meaningful representation of their credo.Neither they nor their Christian evangelical opponents are likely to condone scalping and killing a defenseless captive soldier.

    Chapter four presents a confused picture of university honor societies (some of which are called professional fraternities) and social fraternities.These two types of national organizations along with secret societies residing on a single college campus are collectively described as hot houses for the nation's elite.The author observes that, in contrast to the national honor society Phi Beta Kappa, the fraternity featured in the movie Animal House portrays a "different image of fraternities" - rightly so, as picture of a camel portrays a different image of horses.The author then presents this conglomeration of organizations as part of the established social order that impedes entrepreneurship.The manner of this impedance is not described.

    Chapter seven states: "Today, the US is said to have the highest crime rate in the world".The reader is left to speculate about who said this and what evidence was provided to support this claim.The Economist recently reported that Somalia is the most lawless country in the world so this publication can be ruled out as the source of this claim.

    Problems such as these diminish Riley-Smith's attempt to address a topic of great interest to Americans and to foreigners especially during this time of national angst.Chapter eight and the book's afterword are insightful, eloquent and should have been expanded to book length without forcing the author's observations into the seven-paradox format.He observes that Britain has struggled with its loss of empire as America struggles with its loss of frontier.He also observes that Britain is backward looking while America is forward looking.The reader wonders if Dr. Riley-Smith thinks America is beginning to struggle with losing its position as the world's hyper-power and whether it will soon become backward looking as well.

    The Cracked Bell is an interesting read, but it will not likely be remembered among the best in its genre.

    1-0 out of 5 stars A poor book
    As someone interested in the the culture and social make up of the the United States, I bought this book after reading its review in the Economist. The author claims to be a social anthropologist and has studied at Cambridge. As such, I looked forward to an enlightening read.

    However, after going through about half of the book, I had to put it down, as it is written in an off handed, anecdotal, descriptive manner, that contains almost no substantive analysis. The only good thing about the book was its extensive bibliography.

    I don't like complaining about things like this, but this is not a serious publication, and should be avoided. A much better option is Anatol Lieven's highly regarded, "America Right or Wrong: an Anatomy of American Nationalism." (2004)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A must
    Excellent and very informative. For a foreigner, helps understand a few sometimes
    baffling sidesof the Good US of A

    4-0 out of 5 stars Split opinion
    Tristram Riley Smith's The Cracked Bell is a well-written book that reflects thoughtfully on the American national character and important themes in our history.Yet in some respects the reading experience left me a tad flat.

    Riley-Smith's subject is Americans' obsession with personal liberty and the tensions and contradictions that entails.He claims there is "something pathological" about it, "an errant side to [the] spirit of liberty."'Freedom' begets paradox, he says.He sees multiple fundamental incongruities including, for example: tensions between the notion of individual liberty and pressures for social conformity; compulsions to consume, whatever the consequences; the construction of a warrior state to achieve peace; the value placed on innovation, accompanied by toleration of vested privilege in the economy; the maintenance of myths of the wilderness when the geographic frontiers have long vanished; and a veneer of secularism underpinned by a strong attachment to religious values.

    His observations are sometimes keen and often expressed with a bit of flash."Debates over gun laws and abortion demonstrate the paradox facing any society that takes liberty as its dominant ideology," he suggests."A 'pro-choice' doctor who terminates foetuses to enhance the quality of life -- freedom? -- of young, unmarried, white girls ... has his life taken by a 'pro-life' Christian using a hand-gun whose ready availability is taken as a testament to America's commitment to liberty.There is enough syzygy here to win the World Scrabble Championship." On a different topic, he writes about what he calls America's "Temple of Trade," about how the drive to consume links to the work ethic and puts pressure on family values.In Riley-Smith's words, "The spirit of consumerism -- aerated by the Jeffersonian mandate to pursue 'happiness' -- falls like kerosene on the torch of liberty.While the ensuing conflagration will warm and enlighten many, it must scorch and blind countless others."

    With all its merits, why am I not more enthusiastic about The Cracked Bell?For one thing, much (most?) of the material will not be new to students of American history and culture.Riley-Smith readily acknowledges several scholars who have delivered substantial parts of his message before (the bibliography is one of the book's useful features).He draws especially on Michael Kammen (People of Paradox, 1972), for instance, and it is no surprise that Tocqueville merits several references.

    Although he was trained as a social anthropologist, it is not clear that the author conducted any particular systematic research outside of the library.While there are hints that he has traveled around the country some, his personal observations seem somewhat skewed toward his connection to Washington, D.C. (where he served three years in the British embassy).One of the virtues of the book is that Riley-Smith offers a British outsider's perspective.But on the other hand, one must be at least a little skeptical about the depth of his direct familiarity with the United States when, to illustrate the abundance of government rules Americans are expected to abide by, he refers to the "Inland" Revenue Service to whom we pay our taxes.

    And while Riley-Smith is a good stylist, there is not much sustained narrative here.Rather, what he gives us is a collage of facts, vignettes, and observations, mostly relevant to the points he is trying to make, but not constitutive of a continuous 'story' that might compel our undivided attention.Too often once I understood his general point I was ready to skip past the supporting historical and contemporary detail to get to the next paradox.

    This reaction may just be my own problem, I acknowledge, so seeking to be objective I have given the book four stars. ... Read more

    13. In Laudem Hierosolymitani (Crusades: Subsidia)
    by Iris Shagrir, Ronnie Ellenblum and Jonathan Riley-Smith
    Hardcover: 492 Pages (2007-12-21)
    list price: US$134.95 -- used & new: US$123.07
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0754661407
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    Product Description
    The first in a series of 'subsidiary volumes' to be published alongside the journal "Crusades". ... Read more

    14. New Approach to Latin for the Mass
    by Louise Riley-Smith, Christopher Francis
     Paperback: 103 Pages (1987-12)
    list price: US$38.50
    Isbn: 0950449830
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    15. Equal Partners: How to Build a Lasting Relationship (Inner Workbooks)
    by Tina B. Tessina, Riley K. Smith
    Paperback: 160 Pages (1994-03-17)

    Isbn: 0340602775
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    Product Description
    This is the first book in the "Inner Workbooks" series that explores issues concerned with self-understanding and personal growth and development. This text explains how conflict within relationships can be resolved, using techniques of co-operation and negotiation to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution. It uses step-by-step exercises to help the reader learn how to deal with pent-up anger and resentment, which set the scene for discussing relationship problems and sustaining positive discussion to arrive at conclusions which reaffirm commitment and strengthen all kinds of partnerships. The authors have also written "How to be a Couple and Still be Free". ... Read more

    16. Master Drawings
    by Crispian Riley-Smith
     Paperback: Pages (2003-01-01)

    Asin: B003X5X182
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    17. The Crusades: A Short History
    by Jonathan Riley-Smith
     Paperback: 336 Pages (1990-04)
    -- used & new: US$68.55
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0485120763
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    18. The Business of School Leadership: A Practical Guide for Managing the Business Dimension of Schools
    by Larry Smith, Dan Riley
    Paperback: 132 Pages (2010-07-30)
    list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$32.33
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0864319657
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    19. Wozu heilige Kriege?
    by Jonathan Riley-Smith
    Paperback: 185 Pages (2003-10-31)

    Isbn: 3803124808
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    20. True Partners (An Inner Workbook)
    by Tina Tessina, Riley K. Smith
     Paperback: 217 Pages (1993-05-31)
    list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$3.78
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0874777275
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Product Description
    This exciting workbook, based on the authors' bestselling How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free, provides a successful noncompetitive model for resolving conflict and building a satisfying relationship through a step-by-step process of cooperative negotiation. ... Read more

    Customer Reviews (1)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Helpful and Hopeful
    This is a great workbook for people in relationships.It's a workbook that helps couples to work out their differences in a positive way.It is not filled with obvious answers or pat advice, but instead guides a couplethrough argument "techniques" designed to increase communicationand decrease strife.I highly reccomend it to all couples. ... Read more

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