Saturday, 5 October 2013

Tragedy of the Templars: Recommended Reading Along with The Crusades by Thomas Asbridge

For anyone interested in medieval history, The Tragedy of the Templars by Michael Haag should be read alongside The Crusades by Thomas Asbridge, says Booklist, the influential American journal.  

Booklist, which is the magazine the New York Times calls 'an acquisitions bible for public and school librarians nationwide', is the review journal of the American Library Association. It recommends works of fiction, nonfiction, children's books, reference books, and media to its 30,000 institutional and personal subscribers. In-house editors and contributing reviewers from around the country review more than 7,500 books each year, most before publication.

'In league with The Crusades, by Thomas Asbridge, Haag’s work will pique the interest of medievalists.'   

The Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount was the headquarters of the Templars.  The central three arches are Templar work.

The Booklist review of The Tragedy of the Templars follows:

Their formal name shortened from the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, the Templars were the elite military force of the Christian states established by the Crusades. Haag’s history of the Templars prefaces the organization with the origins of the First Crusade, which in 1099 reclaimed Jerusalem for Christianity. Travel to the Holy Land nevertheless remained dangerous, and providing protection to pilgrims was one reason the pope sanctioned the Templars. The order’s ensuing growth into a religious army reigns as the theme of Haag’s account, which covers the Templars’ role in the wars between Christendom and Islam. But beyond spiritual fervor and organizational discipline, landholdings and banking operations underlay the corporate success of the order. Wealth also, Haag recounts, contributed to the Templars’ ultimate downfall. Having lost its military justification to exist with the final extinction of the Crusader states in 1291, the order’s assets were snatched by the king of France, leaving the pope to abolish the Templars in 1312. In league with The Crusades (2010), by Thomas Asbridge, Haag’s work will pique the interest of medievalists.             

The Booklist review can be seen online here

British edition.
American edition.