Catherine Nixey is right: the early Christians were violently destructive. So were the Romans, the Persians, and the plagues that swept across the ancient world.
Throughout history, people loyal to a higher law have been responsible for much violence. Should we reject appeals to a higher law?
Jay Rubenstein offers a lively and well-researched history of the First Crusade. He has a gift for making thousand-year-old history both exciting and relevant.
There clearly has been a marked rise of interest in the Crusades since the start of the present war in Iraq--an interest spurred at least in part by President George W. Bush's talk of an American crusade against terror in the days following the 9/11 attacks. Up to this point, the renaissance in publications about the Crusades largely has been limited to works that fit squarely within traditional historical scholarship. Stark and Housley, on the other hand, provide Crusades volumes for an age in which information is targeted to distinct and splintered interest groups.