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A Concise History of Modern Europe
They Saw the Elephant
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Making Grateful Kids

The New Concise History of the CrusadesThe New Concise History of the Crusades

Thomas F. Madden

Narrated by Claton Butcher

Available from Audible

Book published by Rowman & Littlefield

How have the crusades contributed to Islamist rage and terrorism today? Were the crusades the Christian equivalent of modern jihad? In this sweeping yet crisp history, Thomas F. Madden offers a brilliant and compelling narrative of the crusades and their contemporary relevance.

With a cry of "God wills it!" medieval knights ushered in a new era in European history. Across Europe a wave of pious enthusiasm led many thousands to leave their homes, family, and friends to march to distant lands in a great struggle for Christ. Yet the crusades were more than simply a holy war. They represent a synthesis of attitudes and values that were uniquely medieval—so medieval, in fact, that the crusading movement is rarely understood today.

Placing all the major crusades within the medieval social, economic, religious, and intellectual environments that gave birth to the movement and nurtured it for centuries, Madden brings the distant medieval world vividly to life. From Palestine and Europe's farthest reaches, each crusade is recounted in a clear, concise narrative. The author gives special attention as well to the crusades' effects on the Islamic world and the Christian Byzantine East.

Thomas F. Madden is professor and chair of the Department of History at Saint Louis University. A widely recognized expert on the Crusades and Christian-Muslim conflict, he has written and spoken widely on the topic in such venues as The New York Times, National Public Radio, and PBS. He is the author of Enrico Dandolo and the Rise of Venice and The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople, a History Book Club selection. He is the editor of Crusades: The Illustrated History and The Crusades: The Essential Readings.


“In little more than 200 pages, in crystal-clear and economical prose, Madden does a superb job of exposition. As an introduction to the vast literature of the crusades, this is a jewel of a book. It has all one needs to understand the epic nature of the various mobilizations and invasions, who the important players were and how they operated, and why what was for centuries romanticized as chivalrous has today become odious.”

— James Reston Jr., Washington Post Book World

“Readers will owe Thomas Madden warm thanks for so clear an introductory account of so complex a phenomenon as a crusade. ”

The Historian

“This enjoyable book is an excellent introduction for anyone interested in the Crusades.”

World History Connected

“Readers will be pleased that Thomas Madden has hit just the right note in his sweeping but concise account of the crusades. ”

The Catholic Historical Review

“Madden's small, accessible book is comprehensive, judicious, and fair. It should be required reading for anyone presuming to discuss crusading, crusaders, and the Crusades.”

Catholic Missourian

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University Press Audiobooks
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University Press Audiobooks