• The Crusades

  • The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land
  • By: Thomas Asbridge
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 25 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (3,645 ratings)

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The Crusades

By: Thomas Asbridge
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
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Publisher's Summary

The Crusades is an authoritative, accessible single-volume history of the brutal struggle for the Holy Land in the Middle Ages. Thomas Asbridge - a renowned historian who writes with "maximum vividness" (Joan Acocella, The New Yorker) - covers the years 1095 to 1291 in this big, ambitious, listenable account of one of the most fascinating periods in history. From Richard the Lionheart to the mighty Saladin, from the emperors of Byzantium to the Knights Templar, Asbridge's book is a magnificent epic of holy war between the Christian and Islamic worlds, full of adventure, intrigue, and sweeping grandeur.

©2010 Thomas Asbridged (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"Derek Perkins is, as always, a matchless narrator. One could relish this production entirely for the music of his pronunciation." ( AudioFile)

Featured Article: 20 Best History Audiobooks You Never Heard in School


While history is by definition the study of the past, no subject tells us more about the present, or is as exciting to follow in contemporary times. The range of subgenres within history writing is huge. Some authors cover a massive scope, while others zoom in to examine tiny, overlooked elements in a new way. Unlike your history class of old, these selections don’t demand memorization of names and dates. Read on for the best in our catalog.

What listeners say about The Crusades

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Comprehensive

There are a few topics that get short shrift in Asbridge's account, like the Albigensien Crusade and the People's Crusade. But if you want a comprehensive history of the wars fought in the Middle East, he's your guy. Asbridge writes with great narrative pace without sacrificing detail; he clarifies both the complex political history of Outremer and the moment-by-moment action of the great battles and sieges. The story is filled with great personalities - Saladin, Richard Lionheart, the sad Louis King of France, the brutal Baybars. A final chapter reflects on how the crusades have been used as reference points in later history. Derek Perkins' reading is brisk and interesting.

107 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Very good, but...

Performance is superb and research, storytelling, and putting it all together are very well done. Opened my eyes to a new viewpoint on pre-crusades and arguments on whether or not Muslim aggression sparked the crusades. Didn’t really care for the ending. Author felt he needed to do a little Bush bashing. He always strives to give context to Islamic actions, but isn’t willing to be that generous for contemporary Western actions. Should’ve and could’ve just left that whole part out.

85 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Learned more from this than in the past 60 years.

This book taught me more than just about any other historical piece I have read. It manages to masterfully put the Crusades in a format that shows the personalities on both sides that created the political conditions that fueled the hundred years of violence between two competing religions, philosophies and political systems for dominance of Palestine and its religious sites, holy to both sides.

81 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Blatant Bias

Anti-European bias is plain with unnecessary excerpts about the Crusaders, while painting Islam as flawless.

50 people found this helpful

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Interesting Biased Account

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

No.

What was most disappointing about Thomas Asbridge’s story?

It was a "story". It was an almost fictionalized account of the Crusades. It is obvious Asbridge is a Muslim sympathizer and nigh unto apologist, suffering from modern political correctness in completely ignoring the Historically documentable muslim aggression and blatantly misleads the Reader about the of battles instigated by the Muslims from Spain to Damascus on land and sea (including raids for slaves in mainland Europe). This a verbose, useless work suitable only for those knowledgeable in the period so as to know exactly where the errors, omissions, deceptions, inaccuracies, and bias lie.

Have you listened to any of Derek Perkins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Excellent performance.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Great disappoint with a bit of anger for the blatant one-sided, Islamocentric bias and lack of Scholarship.

Any additional comments?

AVOID this book.

47 people found this helpful

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Solid and objective history with minor innacuracie

Really good, with well researched and objective content. However, there are a few small problems. The author gets the characteristics of European arms and armor completely wrong. He says that mail was very poor armor, when in fact it is very effective, taking tremendously powerful hits and keeping the wearer safe. His view of European swords is also wrong, viewing them as crowbars rather than the agile weapons they truly are. This shows a disturbing lack of personal research of the primary sources. All one has to do is read contemporary accounts and handle accurate reproductions to know how wrong this segment was.
Also, the author consistently mentions different units of currency throughout the book but with no comparison of the currency or what a unit of the currency was worth. This information might be in the physical book.

41 people found this helpful

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A Thorough Look

A very interesting listen. Nice job connecting the history of the Crusades with other events going on, both at the time of the Crusades as well as since.

38 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Get an old map

I really enjoyed this book!. I did need an old (Time/year specific) map to really understand where the countries/cities were and their relationships to where people traveled. The first few hours of listening were a little difficult as the names were 'new" to my ears. After reviewing a map and understanding the names the book became a GREAT listen. Understanding who and why from most sides of 200+ years of Duking (pun intended) it out. We really never learn from the past, just relive it thinking we are better and smarter. I am glad I did not live beck then as life was very much harder than listening to true stories on a cruise ship.

32 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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not objective history

This book is anti-western revisionist history. The author of this book clearly picked a favorite side and did not tell the history of the age of battle in a subjective way

26 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Informative but vague on details.

Great if you want a series of events with a timeline but lacks in depth events and detail. I also felt the author was bias in his opinions on certain events against the Latin crusaders. It came off more as a history and evolution of Islam and the Middle East during the crusades rather than a History of the Crusades.

22 people found this helpful