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Warriors Of God

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Warriors of God by James Reston Jr. is a non-fictional view of the third crusade. This particular crusade spanned from 1187-1192, containing many gruesome battles and a lot of intense moments between Islam and Christianity. Reston supplies the reader with a little background to the third Crusade when he talks about the first Crusades happening since 1095. Reston gives a fairly impartial view of this holy war. He discusses the battles, politics, and emotions of the Crusade as an outside party and if he takes any side at all it is with the Muslims. He often speaks badly of King Richard and he speaks well of Saladin, the sultan. He portrays Richard as a greedy, anti-Semite, who is intolerable of other religions, while he shows Saladin as tolerant to the Jews, reasonable, and an overall good leader. Reston wrote this book mostly to inform readers about the third Crusade but also to add some of his own insights. His thesis was a little unclear but he stated that the Crusades were the most violent event in history all the way up to Hitler's rein. Reston did a good job in proving this when he told of battles and then analyzed them. He told of a time when King Richard had twenty thousand Muslims executed and when Saladin had Reginald of Chatillon beheaded along with many other Christian prisoners.

Reston is a well established writer, his most famous work being Galileo. Reston made a very extensive bibliography with many primary and secondary sources. He had about forty-five primary sources and about ninety secondary sources so I would say that he is now an authority on the third Crusade and probably all of them for that matter. Saladin says straight out in this historical book that Richard the Lionheart, King of England is a homosexual. This has been debated and so one really knows for sure one way or another so to call him an unquestionable homosexual is a little unusual. Reston says that Richard was gay with his childhood friend who in the future would rule France, Phillip Augustus. This relationship would later come into play in the book when they have to work side by side to overthrow the Islamic Empire.

The way that Reston told the story in Warriors of God was very well done. He would tell a chapter from Richard's point of view and then one from Saladin's. Sometimes the story would be from King Richard's point of view for two or three chapters but it would even out later and Reston stayed very consistent with this. He organized the book in chronological order, which seems appropriate for the circumstances. I liked the way that Reston wrote, first he would lay down the facts and then he would offer up his opinion on the subject. This was valuable because Reston seems very well read on the subject and it is good to have an opinion of a person who knows what he's talking about. This wasn't your normal history book, it was actually interesting. He not only kept my attention but I wanted to read more to see how battles or pilgrimages would end. His language wasn't too technical either. Reston also added some visuals to put images in the reader's mind. I'm sure that not everyone that reads this book knows beforehand what ancient Tyre,



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