Since the September 11th attacks, we have heard the Crusades mentioned in the news. The terrorists and others have called the United States and other Western countries Crusaders, harkening back to the days of the Crusades which occurred from 1095 to the late 1200s when Christians tried to take back the Holy Land from the Muslims. The fighting went back and forth, with the Muslims ultimately winning and controlling the Holy Land.
The Crusades did not only involve the war between Christians and Muslims but Catholic Christians warring with Orthodox Christians, which has strained relations between the two Churches ever since.
This four-volume set of reference books is a great source to find information concerning the Crusades. The “Almanac” volume serves as an introduction to the Crusades. It has thirteen thematic chapters that cover the origins, history, and aftermath of the Crusades. The “Biographies” volume has twenty-five biographical entries on Christians and Muslims connected with the Crusades. The “Primary Sources” volume contains several excerpts from sources from the Crusader period. These are firsthand accounts connected with the Crusades. There are introductions to the excerpts to set their contexts in time, and the entries finish with what happened afterwards.
In each of these volumes, there are several black and white illustrations. There are no maps, which could have helped. Each volume has a “reader’s guide” that shows the reader how to use this set. Each volume has a time line of events, glossary of terms, and an index. Each entry ends with a short bibliography of books and Internet sites.
The fourth volume is an eight-page cumulative index that covers subjects of the other three volumes.
This set from reputable reference book publisher Thomson Gale is meant for high school students, but it can be helpful for lower class undergraduates to help in their research on the Crusades. General readers looking for information on the Crusades will like this set.