Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Crusades through Arab Eyes by Amin Maalouf

I love history.  The Crusades has always been a topic that I was drawn to.  The world changed after the Crusades.  I've always read books from the Christian or Western point of view.  This book was fascinating because all the sources were from Muslim Chronicles.  I can now understand why and how the first crusade was so successful.  The Muslim world (like Europe) was fractured.  Egypt was not friends with the Turks.  Baghdad wasn't getting on with Damascus and so forth and so forth.  In many ways the east were far advanced in science, medicine and obviously mathematics.  Algebra was one of the things that came to Europe because of the Crusades (art, medical practices and the carrier pigeon were other things that the Europeans took back with them). 
Muslims saw the Christians are barbarians.  Uneducated blood thirsty warriors(there were a few stories of Christians eating Muslims that they had just killed).  It would take 200 years before Saladin was able to bring forces together to finally kick them out of the Holy Land.  The author goes on to explain while the Christians took so many things back with them the Muslims rejected everything and anything Christian.  This maybe as simple as invader/invaded.  The conquerors take and the invaded reject.  In fact many Muslims believe Crusades are still going on in the middle east and have a mistrust of the west dating back to the 1100.  This book is a must read for all the history buffs out there.  It takes a different spin on a sad and desperate time. 
I rate this book 10/10.
I am now reading Brave new world by Aldous Huxley

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