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The Crusades

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900 years ago, Christian Europe was seized by a fever that changed the world forever. Inspired by a Pope who offered rewards on earth and a certain place in Paradise thereafter, tens of thousands of men, women and children - knights and peasants, rich and poor, old and young - set out for the Holy Land to recapture the Holy City Jerusalem and save their fellow Christians from persecution by the Infidel. "Crusades", and the television series which this book accompanies, tells the dramatic story of these events, and the reality behind the myths: of Popes motivated by greed as well as faith; of power-hungry nobles and pilgrims on Crusade who murdered, robbed and raped not only Moslems but Jews and fellow Christians as well; of the great kings of the West, such as Richard the Lionheart of England, Philip of France and Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, leaders of the Third Crusade, who became the very stuff of legends; and of the Arab heroes, Zengi, Nur ed-Din and of course Saladin, who faced the Christian, onslaught often with much greater tolerance than their enemies, until finally the Crusaders were driven out of the Holy Land. The authors show how the Europeans used the morality of the Crusades to justify the conquest and destruction of any society which stood in their way, sowing the seeds of fear, suspicion - and even hatred - in the Arab world. A legacy which remains to this day. Hide synopsis

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