While “the crusades” have become a synonym for brutality and bigotry, the crusader states represented a positive example of harmonious coexistence between Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Likewise, while scholars from a wide range of disciplines including archaeology, art history, and medicine have shed light on diverse aspects of the crusader states, to date there is no single introductory source that provides a comprehensive overview of these unique states as a starting point for the uninitiated.
The Holy Land in the Era of the Crusades: Kingdoms at the Crossroads of Civilizations by Helena P. Schrader fills this gap while correcting common misconceptions. It brings together recent scholarly research on a range of topics to create a comprehensive description. It will cover the history, demography, state institutions, foreign policy, economy, art, architecture, and lifestyle of the people who lived in the crusader states in the period from 1100 to 1300. It provides a chronological summary of the history of the crusader followed by a thematic discussion of key aspects of these unique political entities. The final chapter on the rise and fall of the House of Ibelin gives the entire history a human face.
The Holy Land in the Era of the Crusades: Kingdoms at the Crossroads of Civilizations is available for pre-order at amazon.com and amazon.co.uk.
Helena Schrader does an excellent job of introducing the reader to the latest scholarship surrounding the Crusader States. High level historical material is presented in a readable, entertaining, and fascinating format thanks to Schrader's punchy and clear writing style. Undeniably, she dispels many of the myths surrounding the Crusader States, and she backs this up with the historical facts. Medievalist
Schrader approaches the phenomenon of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Crusader States with lucid consistency: An introductory history of the Holy Land Crusades. Colorfully readable text. Chapters organized to examine all aspects of life in a hybrid civilization that existed nine hundred years in the past. Plentiful afternotes, a widely inclusive bibliography, and an easily accessible chronology of events. History is presented strictly as such, without “presentism” or concessions to contemporary issues: “political correctness” and political/religious polemics.
In summary, with "The Holy Land in the Era of the Crusades", Dr. Schrader has made a long-needed and invaluable contribution to the fields of medieval history and Crusades studies that should prove attractive to a broad-based readership. Recommended without reservation. J. Scott Amis
["The Holy Land in the Era of the Crusades"] dispels several of the misconceptions that still so often appear in the more popular accounts of the crusades and the Latin East, and sometimes in academic works as well. The outcome is an attractive and indeed affordable volume that, while certainly an appropriate read for the layman, would also not go amiss as an introduction for students of the field. Most of the books on the crusades that are directed towards the general audience, lean heavily on military aspects and deal almost exclusively with major historical events and the principal and well-known historical figures. Schrader’s book, however, although it does in a lengthy section cover the principal events from the First Crusade to the fall of Latin Syria in 1291, is not, after all, about the crusades. Rather, as the title shows, it is about the Holy Land under Frankish rule, about the kingdom of Jerusalem, and to a degree about the other crusader states. In this regard, this book does a real service, by introducing the broader public to aspects of this important ad fascinating historical period that are sometimes distorted, but more often entirely overlooked. Prof. Adrian Boas, Hebrew University at Jerusalem