God's Battalions

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Stark, Rodney. God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades. 1st ed. New York: HarperOne, 2009. 276 pp $11.05.

God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades by Rodney Stark, will cause readers to question much of what they know about the Crusades, the Crusaders themselves, and the formidable Muslim forces they encountered along the way in liberation of the Holy Land. Stark gives compelling reasons for the Crusades, and argues that readers should not be too quick in following the lead of historians who cast the Crusaders in less than positive light. Stark makes his case supported by evidence that vindicates the valiant struggles of the Crusaders who accomplished the task of keeping Christianity alive through troubled times.

Stark believes the Crusades occupy a valuable place in Christian history. He also recognizes that most historians would not agree with his findings. His goal is to examine the motives of the Crusaders and thereby defend their mission to recapture the city of Jerusalem. Most historians portray the Crusaders as barbaric, greedy for material gain, and on the prowl to convert souls. Stark claims misunderstandings like this have been around for three hundred years. Stark spells out the common misconception: “During the Crusades an expansionist, imperialistic Christendom brutalized, looted and colonized a tolerant and peaceful Islam” (8). Stark lays the blame for the Crusades at the feet of the Muslim community. Islamic colonization began in the seventh century and swept over Christian communities in “the Middle East, Egypt and all of North Africa, and then Spain and southern Italy, and many major Mediterranean islands including Sicily, Corsica, Cyprus, Rhodes, Crete, Malta, and Sardinia” (9).

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...nt in his research for the book, he becomes a believer in Christ.


God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades by Rodney Stark is well written and extremely interesting. His work is easy to read, yet scholarly in its approach to the Crusades. Every pastor should add this book to his library! In general, the book would be a valuable resource to any Christian who wants to better understand the historical struggle of faith during this important era of history. God’s Battalions is well researched, and contains a critical response to anyone who thinks the Crusades or Crusaders were greedy, anti-Jesus, or barbaric. The Crusades were necessary to defend the Christian faith from Islamic forces bent on making the world its footstool. This book is an essential tool and a reliable resource for understanding the present struggle between Christianity and Islam.
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