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From a renowned historian who writes with "maximum vividness" (The New Yorker) comes the most authoritative, readable single-volume history of the brutal struggle for the holy land Nine hundred years ago, a vast Christian army, summoned to holy war by the Pope, rampaged through the Muslim world of the eastern Mediterranean, seizing possession of Jerusalem, a city revered by both faiths. Over the two hundred years that followed, Islam and Christianity fought for dominion of the Holy Land, clashing in a succession of chillingly brutal wars: the Crusades. Here for the first time is the story of that epic struggle told from the perspective of both Christians and Muslims. A vivid and fast-paced narrative history, it exposes the full horror, passion, and barbaric grandeur of the Crusading era, revealing how these holy wars reshaped the medieval world and why they continue to influence events today.