Crusade and jihad are often reckoned to have represented two sides of the same coin: each resonated on the opposing sides in the holy wars of the Middle Ages and each has been invoked during the war on terror. Arguing that this simple opposition ignores crucial differences, Christopher Lambert shows how jihad reflected early internal tensions in Islam from its beginnings, and reflects on its modern incarnation as a tool of terror, while French colonialism is a product of the crusades. Including 16 pages of illustrations—and brimming with such figures as Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, and Ghengiz Khan—this history also reveals the ways in which crusade and jihad were used to justify atrocity, yet also inspired acts of great chivalry and heroic achievement.
"Enthusiastically embracing intricacy and eschewing oversimplification, Lambert boldly plunges into the struggle between Christianity and Islam to control the Middle East between the seventh and 13th centuries. Recommended not only for history buffs but for anyone seeking a better understanding of the deep roots of today's news stories."—Library Journal