England and Its Rulers, 1066-1272: With an Epilogue on Edward I (1272-1307)
(M. T. Clanchy)
England and its Rulers has established itself as an attractive and authoritative account of English history from 1066. It brings the chronicle sources to life and makes original assessments of the kings and political events. Examining a period in which England was dominated by successive waves of foreign rulers, the book emphasizes how the Norman Conquest was followed by the Angevin Empire and then by the Poitevin ministers and favorites brought in by King John and Henry III. The identity of English culture is analyzed in the light of these strong external influences.This new edition retains the characteristics of the widely-acclaimed original, but it now includes an epilog on Edward I (1272-1307), which considers his wars in Wales and Scotland and reassesses his character and achievements. The second edition also contains a new bibliography covering all aspects of English history in the period 1066-1307.
Lionhearts: Richard I, Saladin, and the Era of the Third Crusade
When the Muslims captured Jerusalem in 1187, Christian rulers across Europe responded to the call. While they raised funds and mustered armies, priests preached that killing "infidels" was morally proper and that crusaders would be guaranteed a place in heaven. Lionhearts is the story of the Third Crusade (1189 to 1192), which sent thousands of men into a holy war. Geoffrey Regan details the day-to-day life of the common crusader--long sieges, marches through swamps, lost supplies, and occasional fierce battles--and the political squabbles between leaders sworn to fight together. Though Regan is a fine military historian, Lionhearts is, at its center, really a rose-colored dual biography of the Third Crusade's two main antagonists: Richard the Lionhearted and Saladin. Alternating chapters focus on each leader's rise to power, noting similarities between them. Regan is clearly enamored of his subjects, and spends a great deal of time enumerating their noble qualities. This is all well and good (and common in biography), but it's difficult to stomach Regan's description of Richard's massacre of 3,000 Muslim prisoners after the siege of Acre as an action "requiring the greatest moral courage."
Regan is a skillful writer, and his pages are peppered with vivid odds and ends: pious crusaders operating "God's own catapult"; Saladin sending a gift of snow and fruit to Richard I, preparing to besiege Acre; small rodents called jerboas leaping up and alarming the crusaders. With its maps, concise chronology, modern photographs, and handy list of the main personalities, Lionhearts is an excellent introduction to the history of the Third Crusade. --Sunny Delaney
Richard The Lionheart : The Mighty Crusader
In a biography as compelling and controversial as its subject, Richard I of England, “the Lionheart,” comes bursting to vivid life. Richard’s personality was as imposing as his legend, and his far-ranging adventures make fascinating reading. Travel with Richard through a lifetime dedicated to chivalric warfare, from his campaigns in France to his fearsome battles with the Muslim hero Saladin for control of the Holy Land. A commander who led from the front, Richard devised tactically brilliant military operations that are among the finest examples of the early use of combined arms; they are discussed in detail here. An extensive collection of maps, diagrams, and illustrations, as well as a special section featuring Richard in his own words, enhance the story of his dramatic life.
The Reign of Richard Lionheart: Ruler of the Angevin Empire, 1189-1199
(Ralph V. Turner, Richard R. Heiser)
Richard Lionheart (Richard I) , has been traditionally viewed as warrior king, and a model of kingly and knightly virtues. In this work, the king's greatness as a military commander is demonstrated, his skills as politician and administrator are also highlighted. Draws on the latest work of feudalism, corrects many misconceptions and presents a vital new approach to one of medieval history's most fascinating periods. Uses original French as well as English sources. Covers England, as well, as the Crusades.
The Troubadour's Song : The Capture and Ransom of Richard the Lionheart
On his long journey home from the Third Crusade, Richard the Lionheart--one of history’s most powerful and romantic figures--was ship-wrecked near Venice in the Adriatic Sea. Forced to make his way home by land through enemy countries, he traveled in disguise, but was eventually captured by Duke Leopold V of Austria, who in turn conveyed him to Henry VI, the Holy Roman Emperor. Henry demanded a majestic ransom, and Richard's mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, raised the historic sum--one quarter of the entire wealth of England--and Richard was returned. But a peculiar legend followed him--that a troubadour named Blondel, a friend of Richard's, had journeyed across Europe singing a song he knew Richard would recognize in order to discover his secret place of imprisonment.
David Boyle recreates the drama of the Third Crusade and the dynamic power politics and personalities of the late 12th century in Europe, as well as the growing fascination with romance and chivalry embodied in the troubadour culture. An evocation of a pivotal era, The Troubadour’s Song is narrative history at its finest.
Warriors of God : Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade
(James Jr Reston)
Throughout the medieval era, the Holy Land was a fiercely contested battlefield, fought over by huge Muslim and Christian armies, by zealots and assassins. The Third Crusade, spanning five years at the end of the 12th century, was, writes James Reston Jr. in this absorbing account, "Holy War at its most virulent," overseen by two great leaders, the Kurdish sultan Salah ad-Din, or Saladin, and the English king Richard, forevermore known as Lionheart.
Writing with a keen sense of historical detail and drama, Reston traces the complex path by which Saladin and Richard came to face each other on the field of battle. The Crusades, he observes, began "as a measure to redirect the energies of warring European barons from their bloody, local disputes into a 'noble' quest to reclaim the Holy Land from the 'infidel'." Of the five Crusades over 200 years, only the first was successful, to the extent that the Christian armies were able to conquer their objective of Jerusalem. The Third Crusade, as Reston ably shows, was complicated by fierce rivalries among the Christian leaders, by a chain of military disasters that led to the destruction of an invading German army and its emperor, and by the dedication of an opposing Islamic army that shared both a goal and a language.
Saladin, Reston writes, was a brilliant leader and a merciful victor, but capable of costly errors; Richard was extraordinarily skilled at combat, but his lack of resolve cost him many battles, and, ultimately, Jerusalem. Richard returned to Europe, Saladin to Damascus. Neither leader has long to live, and the peace they made would soon be broken. James Reston's splendid book does them both honor while examining a conflict that has never really ended. --Gregory McNamee