Thomas Madden’s Crusades is an exposition of the crusades, which occurred during the Middle Ages. The Crusades were a series of military conflicts of a religious character. They remain a very important movement in human history, and are hard to understand, as they include several themes and they lasted for a long time (about two hundred years, and the author covers a period of about eight centuries in his chronological work). Religion is, of course, the most recurrent theme we think about the Crusades, but is it the only factor to explain them? How does Madden, considered as one of the most foremost historian of the Crusades, expose them in his book? Is his work effective to understand this period of History? Madden has the ambition to
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Madden also identifies and presents several important figures of the Middle Ages, and those who had a great influence during the Crusades. The lives and the personalities of these characters are described, and help the reader to understand the decisions that were made, and how some situations happened. Several maps also accompany the reader through the different steps of the Crusades, and have a positive impact for the understanding.
However, Madden’s study of the Crusades is set apart with the biased information it offers. The author being a Christian, it is not strange to note that he chooses to side with the Christians. He highlights the Crusades as a series of religious wars and a movement by the Christians against the Islamic world in particular, and sometimes to Jews, as mentioned earlier. The subject takes sides with the Crusaders, and often presents them only as pious, religious, and with good intentions. He states that the Crusades were “acts of love and charity”, and waged “in defense” (222). Also, some of the characters, even if they are well introduced, are sometimes idolized, for example Richard the Lionheart. The subject title thus makes a successful attempt at clarifying some of the commonly believed misunderstandings and misconceptions on the particular topic of Crusades and the