A historical summary of the crusades written by Jonathan Phillips, published by Random House, reviewed by J.S. Bradford.
Holy Warriors provides the reader with an illuminating historical overlay of the apocalyptical struggle between the crusades and jihad. The review, although remarkably concise, isn’t limited to the two hundred years from the Christian capture of Jerusalem in 1099 to the Muslim victory at Acre in 1291. It also addresses the events leading up to the call to arms issued by Pope Urban II in 1095 and then continues the story with a reserved but articulate analysis of the extended after-effects of the never ending hostilities. To paraphrase a remark by Picasso, wars end but hostilities go on forever. The author confirms that this is indeed the case with the crusades, illustrating how the epic series of battles have retained a protracted shelf life as a metaphor not just for military engagements but cultural engagements as well. The author extends the metaphor not only to the events of September 11, 2001; but also to the response of President Bush when he used the word “crusade” in his response to the attacks. In the words of the President, “This crusade … this war on terror is going to take a while.” The author suggests the remarks of the President were incendiary if not pious but, in retrospect, they simply appear to be painfully honest.