Hot Best Seller

Saladin: Life, Legend, Legacy

Availability: Ready to download

Saladin remains one of the most iconic figures of his age. As the man who united the Arabs and saved Islam from Christian crusaders in the 12th century, he is the Islamic world’s preeminent hero. Ruthless in defence of his faith, brilliant in leadership, he also possessed qualities that won admiration from his Christian foes. He knew the limits of violence, showing such to Saladin remains one of the most iconic figures of his age. As the man who united the Arabs and saved Islam from Christian crusaders in the 12th century, he is the Islamic world’s preeminent hero. Ruthless in defence of his faith, brilliant in leadership, he also possessed qualities that won admiration from his Christian foes. He knew the limits of violence, showing such tolerance and generosity that many Europeans, appalled at the brutality of their own people, saw him as the exemplar of their own knightly ideals. But Saladin is far more than a historical hero. Builder, literary patron and theologian, he is a man for all times, and a symbol of hope for an Arab world once again divided. Centuries after his death, in cities from Damascus to Cairo and beyond, to the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf, Saladin continues to be an immensely potent symbol of religious and military resistance to the West. He is central to Arab memories, sensibilities and the ideal of a unified Islamic state. In this authoritative biography, historian John Man brings Saladin and his world to life in vivid detail. Charting his rise to power, his struggle to unify the warring factions of his faith, and his battles to retake Jerusalem and expel Christian influence from Arab lands, Saladin explores the life and the enduring legacy of this champion of Islam, and examines his significance for the world today.

*advertisement

Compare

Saladin remains one of the most iconic figures of his age. As the man who united the Arabs and saved Islam from Christian crusaders in the 12th century, he is the Islamic world’s preeminent hero. Ruthless in defence of his faith, brilliant in leadership, he also possessed qualities that won admiration from his Christian foes. He knew the limits of violence, showing such to Saladin remains one of the most iconic figures of his age. As the man who united the Arabs and saved Islam from Christian crusaders in the 12th century, he is the Islamic world’s preeminent hero. Ruthless in defence of his faith, brilliant in leadership, he also possessed qualities that won admiration from his Christian foes. He knew the limits of violence, showing such tolerance and generosity that many Europeans, appalled at the brutality of their own people, saw him as the exemplar of their own knightly ideals. But Saladin is far more than a historical hero. Builder, literary patron and theologian, he is a man for all times, and a symbol of hope for an Arab world once again divided. Centuries after his death, in cities from Damascus to Cairo and beyond, to the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf, Saladin continues to be an immensely potent symbol of religious and military resistance to the West. He is central to Arab memories, sensibilities and the ideal of a unified Islamic state. In this authoritative biography, historian John Man brings Saladin and his world to life in vivid detail. Charting his rise to power, his struggle to unify the warring factions of his faith, and his battles to retake Jerusalem and expel Christian influence from Arab lands, Saladin explores the life and the enduring legacy of this champion of Islam, and examines his significance for the world today.

30 review for Saladin: Life, Legend, Legacy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

    3.5 stars actually, this was a nice biography of Saladin and focuses mostly in his interaction during the Crusades, while this is an aspect that I loved , I wish the book would have focused a little bit more in his way of government, his life after the crusades . While this book tries to explain some of his life before and after the crusades, it leaves one wanting for more which in a biography is not a good thing. It is nonetheless very expected that any book about Saladin would focus on the Cru 3.5 stars actually, this was a nice biography of Saladin and focuses mostly in his interaction during the Crusades, while this is an aspect that I loved , I wish the book would have focused a little bit more in his way of government, his life after the crusades . While this book tries to explain some of his life before and after the crusades, it leaves one wanting for more which in a biography is not a good thing. It is nonetheless very expected that any book about Saladin would focus on the Crusades, as this was the action that defined him. Good read but not a good biography.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Eppenstein

    This is a relatively short biography of a true hero of the Muslim culture, Saladin. As such it is a history that westerners are relatively or completely unfamiliar with. The book covers roughly the period of Middle East history during the Second and Third Crusades in which Saladin rises from obscurity to unifier of a major portion of the then Muslim world. Saladin is truly a historic personage worth learning about as he exemplifies qualities that we westerners would like to think are possessed b This is a relatively short biography of a true hero of the Muslim culture, Saladin. As such it is a history that westerners are relatively or completely unfamiliar with. The book covers roughly the period of Middle East history during the Second and Third Crusades in which Saladin rises from obscurity to unifier of a major portion of the then Muslim world. Saladin is truly a historic personage worth learning about as he exemplifies qualities that we westerners would like to think are possessed by our historic heroes. While the history is well written and engaging it is a bit thin in my thinking considering Saladin's accomplishments and the obstacles he faced within his own culture. That he was able to do any of the things he did in the face of the Shia and Sunni animosity that still exists today and he, Saladin, being a mere Kurd on top of it is quite remarkable. The brevity of the biography may be due the lack of resource material available for this man. As the author admits there is virtually nothing known about Saladin's childhood and it is only because of his leadership positions that he is known at all. And while he was revered in life he was soon forgotten after his death. He is known today only because of a renewed interest in his life that began toward the end of the 19th century as a propaganda symbol of the Ottoman Emperor and those trying to win favor with the emperor. However, as Saladin's death is reported in this book there are still two more chapters and nearly 40 pages of text remaining. I expected to be treated to a description of the post-Saladin scramble for power and the intrigues usually associated with a power vacuum. Unfortunately, that id not happen. What you get is a chapter discussing leadership, its definition and its attributes and whether they applied to Saladin. The next chapter was the influence or lack of influence of Saladin in present day Middle East affairs. Such discussions were certainly not expected. Neither chapter was badly written or without merit but I question their value in a biography and maybe they should have been better placed in a scholarly paper rather than in this book. Nevertheless, not a bad book but I would have like more substance, more meat. The book did leave me wanting more so maybe that's not a bad thing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This is a fantastic book to those that are interested in the life of Saladin and the Second and Third Crusades. Saladin is an iconic figure of his age and till this day is remembered as a historical hero. John Man was able to bring Saladin to life, as a reader we learn who Saladin is, what his childhood was, his personality traits, his military abilities but also the political/social situation of his time. Overall, I very much enjoyed this book and was introduced to a period that before I had a This is a fantastic book to those that are interested in the life of Saladin and the Second and Third Crusades. Saladin is an iconic figure of his age and till this day is remembered as a historical hero. John Man was able to bring Saladin to life, as a reader we learn who Saladin is, what his childhood was, his personality traits, his military abilities but also the political/social situation of his time. Overall, I very much enjoyed this book and was introduced to a period that before I had a very limited knowledge about.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Philip Kuhn

    Good book. I love how it tells the story from the Islamic point of view, not the Western European one. You get a whole new feeling for the Crusades. The author, John Man, states on the first page that the Europeans are the bad guys in this story, they murdered, pillaged, destroyed. Saladin is the good guy. He was wise, virtuous, and generous. If you don't like that, then don't read this book. LOVE IT. More authors should do that. John Man is a great story teller. He's not about a dry retelling o Good book. I love how it tells the story from the Islamic point of view, not the Western European one. You get a whole new feeling for the Crusades. The author, John Man, states on the first page that the Europeans are the bad guys in this story, they murdered, pillaged, destroyed. Saladin is the good guy. He was wise, virtuous, and generous. If you don't like that, then don't read this book. LOVE IT. More authors should do that. John Man is a great story teller. He's not about a dry retelling of facts. He makes it lively and interesting. Several times, he tells the reader two or three different versions of the same story that exist, and lets them decide. The book tells the story of Salah al din (Saladin) the 12th century Islamic leader who rose to try to unify Islam and take all the holy lands back from the Europeans. He mostly did this, Man points out. There was still the Frankish castle holding out at Acre, and he unified Islamic peoples under his version of Sunni Islam. (Iranian Shiites probably are not quite so fond of Saladin). Man concludes the book with an analysis of Saladin's leadership style, as well as his standing in history until now. Interestingly enough, Saladin is probably more widely praised in Western cultures than Islamic ones. (they really forgot about him for 500 years. ) Recommended reading.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Someone in one of my book groups selected this out of an interest in Saladin and the Crusades, not because of the merits of this particular book. I didn't care for it, as I was looking for something more scholarly. If I have time I'll try to read some of Thomas Asbridge or James Reston, Jr..

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vikas Datta

    Superb... a comprehensive account and compelling analysis

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nour

    ''It was over. Distraught 'as a mother who has just lost her child', he had no choice but to accept the deal. How could this reverse have come about? True, his forces were spread too thinly, fending off rivals to the east and north. But the main reason was that the caliph had sent no help, to Saladin's distress. 'Jihad is the personal duty of all muslims,' he wrote. 'Yet your servant is left to the bear that oppressive burden all alone.'" In an echo of the Muslim world today, the world Salah El-Di ''It was over. Distraught 'as a mother who has just lost her child', he had no choice but to accept the deal. How could this reverse have come about? True, his forces were spread too thinly, fending off rivals to the east and north. But the main reason was that the caliph had sent no help, to Saladin's distress. 'Jihad is the personal duty of all muslims,' he wrote. 'Yet your servant is left to the bear that oppressive burden all alone.'" In an echo of the Muslim world today, the world Salah El-Din grew up in was shattered by sectarian struggles, internal strife and, perhaps as a result, foreign invasion, which fostered a strong desire within him to unite muslims under one banner against what was perceived as the real enemy, the Crusaders. Uniting muslims ( to no one's surprise) was no easy feat, as each city required particular political manoeuvring. Troubles ended not with an military invasion, but with securing a foothold in the political landscape and rallying public opinion to Salah El-Din's cause, all the while evading attempts to both overthrow his rule and to end his life. Perhaps, most disheartening to me in this story was after the monumental effort launched by Salah El-Din to retrieve Jerusalem and all the sacrifices that were made in service of his cause, there persisted so much animosity and distrust between muslim leaders that when the time came to defend Jerusalem and keep it in muslim hands, no reinforcements from supposed allies arrived to aid him in his quest and Salah El-Din and his army were left to fend for themselves. ''Where now are his ideals - of Arab and Islamic unity, of freedom from outside interference, of a peaceful life under Islam? Never realized by him, and today more tattered than ever, torn by the elements Saladin despised: sectarianism, civil war, exploitation, foreign intervention'' This is a short read and is meant to offer only a quick view of the challenges and tribulation that faced Salah El-Din. Nevertheless, it was a pleasure to read a (short) account of the life of such a magnificent and benevolent figure.

  8. 4 out of 5

    James

    A breezy populist account of Saladin. The author runs at pace making no attempt to hide his admiration for Saladin, rightly so I think. I am sure there is a plethora of far mor rigorous tones available. But for a curious dilettante like myself this was perfect.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

    This was very interesting. I've heard about Saladin but never really knew what his story was. At the end of the book my thought was that the divisions between all the religions in this part of the world and elsewhere continue. As I was reading about Saladin considering taking Mosul I heard on the news that Iraq took back Mosul from Isis. I know it's way more complicated than a sentence but it just really makes me sad that we're never going to stop fighting these endless battles

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nur Haslinda

    If you enjoy watching Kingdom of Heaven or Saladin The Animated Series. This is the book that you’ve got to read. Saladin’s biography from the westerner’s eyes, because John Man wasn’t a Muslim himself. John Man explains in details the great qualities of this Muslim hero and how did Saladin became an ideal, charismatic leader respected by friends and foes of all the time. I was so nervous while reading this book. Afraid that John Man might have the wrong interpretation about Jihad and relate Jih If you enjoy watching Kingdom of Heaven or Saladin The Animated Series. This is the book that you’ve got to read. Saladin’s biography from the westerner’s eyes, because John Man wasn’t a Muslim himself. John Man explains in details the great qualities of this Muslim hero and how did Saladin became an ideal, charismatic leader respected by friends and foes of all the time. I was so nervous while reading this book. Afraid that John Man might have the wrong interpretation about Jihad and relate Jihad with the extremism. Brilliantly, he did not. John Man’s analysis says that there is not such thing as extremism in leadership. Saladin was the great hero because of his ability to ruled justly, he resist the urges to collect riches, he dealt, negotiated with the enemy, he had series of almost failure in war but determination in the name of Jihad and his aim to take back Jerusalem drove him to success. He treated his foes and enemy with diplomacy though he has the authority to show his brutality. I’m not going to write in depth about the book. Let it be surprise. But, there’s a last paragraph that John Man wrote in the book which made me feel like I have been slapped and gave me sad ending. “It goes on. Islam tears its own flanks, offering opening for foreign alliances here and extremism there, with all hope shattered by civil war, bombs and grotesque barbarities of the so-called Islamic State, destroying the ideal of Islam in the name of Islam. They even blew up the citadel of Tikrit, birth-place of Islam’s greatest hero. There is no sign of a new Saladin today.” brutally truth. Its a shame. Kerana yang merosakkan Islam itu ialah orang Islam itu sendiri.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Habeeba Sadaf

    Well researched book, initial 1/4th of the book gives a brief picture of crusade wars, Shi'ite-Sunni animosity and the atmosphere Saladin was growing up in. John Man has tried his best to collect every possible detail of Saladin's personality, his enemies and the wars fought. Begins the book with a similarity of current situation in middle-east with that of Crusade/Saladin's days and concludes with the same, but grieved about how middle-east now lacks a figure like Saladin. Conclusion: "There is Well researched book, initial 1/4th of the book gives a brief picture of crusade wars, Shi'ite-Sunni animosity and the atmosphere Saladin was growing up in. John Man has tried his best to collect every possible detail of Saladin's personality, his enemies and the wars fought. Begins the book with a similarity of current situation in middle-east with that of Crusade/Saladin's days and concludes with the same, but grieved about how middle-east now lacks a figure like Saladin. Conclusion: "There is no sign of a new Saladin, nor any vision of what he might achieve, let alone how......"

  12. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I had a lot of fun reading my Feb non-fiction pick. It’s a very fast read, very concise and compact history of Saladin’s rise to power and his involvement with the Crusader states. John Mann is a very good writer for quick and easy non-fiction – I enjoyed the wry colloquialisms, even though they made me kind of laugh at times, in the almost-heavy handed effort to be accesible. I read this on commutes, so yeah, I was in the mood to have the author, dealing with the most stupid brutal fuckery in h I had a lot of fun reading my Feb non-fiction pick. It’s a very fast read, very concise and compact history of Saladin’s rise to power and his involvement with the Crusader states. John Mann is a very good writer for quick and easy non-fiction – I enjoyed the wry colloquialisms, even though they made me kind of laugh at times, in the almost-heavy handed effort to be accesible. I read this on commutes, so yeah, I was in the mood to have the author, dealing with the most stupid brutal fuckery in human history, kind of taking a step back and going ‘get a load of this guy’. It's definitely a positive slant on Saladin, and a critical one of the Crusaders - if wry mockery can count as critical. It was also good because I genuinely really know a lot about this stage in history, both Western and Islamic, and I didn’t want to spend pages upon pages running through sources to create some deep illustration of daily/cultural/political life in this period, didn't need tangents explaining who what where huh the Fatimids/Komnenos/Seljuks/Abbasids/Plantagenets were. Maybe for other readers they were lost, but I liked the fact that we got on with it and really just had a look at Saladin. And what a guy, Saladin! I appreciated the chapters on his leadership style and cultural legacy, because that really is what made him stand out among dozens of war leaders throughout history. His rise to power was probably the section I enjoyed least, because it was the story of every rise to power throughout history ever, but then those dumbass Crusaders decided to kick off again, so off the book flew at a truly incredible pace. (Seriously, I’m kind of floored by how just any shitty dumb random with a big enough cock can become King of Jerusalem. One day I’ll get myself a history of the Crusades themselves, because I’d love to see a thorough examination of how this culture came about. It’s so staggeringly awful) Even then, though, without the incredible backdrop of the Crusades, the history is very much every other history of Man-Wants-Land-Other-Man-Has and They-Fight-With-Lots-Of-Other-Men. And after reading the truly wild war tactics of the Mongols, this military history came off as a little bland? But the man the myth the legend Saladin himself was a very interesting personality, as were the other figures who crossed his own history – Nur al-Din, Reynald de Chatillon, Baldwin IV, even the scant mentions of women like Sibylla and Stephanie and my fave Eleanor d’Aquitaine. Equally so is his status as a pan-Arab figurehead (which is just LMAO he was Kurdish.... really highlighting something about pan-Arabism right there lmaoooo) and icon of Islamic unity (if the slim mentions of his tendencies to fall into sectarianism are anything to go by.... heh) Anyway now I want to reinstall and spend another 300 hours of my life playing Crusader Kings II bye.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    I hate negative reviews but this book went nowhere far too quickly and as a text that was supposed to be a biography of Saladin, a majority of the text was largely about the figures around Saladin. Man has limited knowledge of Arabic, not to mention poorly executes several of the names. There's next to nothing in terms of footnotes so it becomes impossible to trace quotes and summaries back to the bibliography which itself really isn't that impressive. And finally, Man far too often allows senti I hate negative reviews but this book went nowhere far too quickly and as a text that was supposed to be a biography of Saladin, a majority of the text was largely about the figures around Saladin. Man has limited knowledge of Arabic, not to mention poorly executes several of the names. There's next to nothing in terms of footnotes so it becomes impossible to trace quotes and summaries back to the bibliography which itself really isn't that impressive. And finally, Man far too often allows sentiment or paltry comparisons to Churchill to act as filler for his analysis of Saladin that often is less than a paragraph long. This biography was a disappointment, especially because Saladin is a fascinating man. I was looking forward to learning more about a figure I've heard about so often in video games and Ridley Scott movies and so by the end of the book I was disappointed to find that I hadn't learned much of anything about Saladin himself but I knew far more about the Assassin Order and Reynauld de Chatillon. This is a popular history that will likely be many people's introduction to Saladin and it's a pity because there are far, far better books out there that give a real telling of the life of this figure who has lingering mythos not solely in the East or West, but for all time.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Khairul Azlan

    Great book for those who like history. Saladin Al Syuib a legendary Islamic leader who freed Jerusalem and spreading Islamic empire to the world.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aamer Mogul

    prettry neutral view by author, nice and smooth way of explanation. he was not baised at any point. The author's writing approach is splendid and drives you to continue reading kinda of engulfs you to medieval world.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mohammed Alzahrani

    Reading this book at this time of desperation for a new Saladin is heartbreaking. I liked that the book included some reflections about the current Syrian civil war, it added a great meaning for what Saladin represents for Muslims. I quote the last sentence in the book: "There is no sign of a new Saladin, nor any vision of what he might do, let alone how. Saladin's dream is for the past, or very distant future."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hashim Shafiq

    One of the best book I have read until now. Well researched work. Well written. Reading about one of the most prominent hero of Islam is something you cant describe in words. John Man, the writer did a fabulous job. The main thing about the book that it is not biased. One must watch the movie "Saladin" before reading the book because then you can memorize the characters well in your mind.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Richardson

    This book had its good moments, but I don't think it quite ever captured Saladin for me. I got through the first 100 pages without really ever knowing the man, his motivations, desires, and what drove him. But the book is well-written and thoroughly researched and is as much (if not more) a history of the Crusades and this era than Saladin himself.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Govind Nagarajan

    Knocking down a star as I wish there were more maps explaining the military campaigns.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Annabelle

    My fascination with the Crusades must have started young, romanticized by the comic books and movies I was exposed to. But these were almost always partial to the Crusaders, so I know little of the Saracens' story. A viewing of Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven made me curious of the Saracen Saladin, and this book explains how and why his achievements need to stay relevant today. Here are some of the things I learned and hope to remember: - Saladin, who was a Sunni, unified the Muslims against the My fascination with the Crusades must have started young, romanticized by the comic books and movies I was exposed to. But these were almost always partial to the Crusaders, so I know little of the Saracens' story. A viewing of Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven made me curious of the Saracen Saladin, and this book explains how and why his achievements need to stay relevant today. Here are some of the things I learned and hope to remember: - Saladin, who was a Sunni, unified the Muslims against the common enemy, the foreigners from Europe. He was also able to subdue the much-feared Assassins. - Saladin has got to be one of the most forgiving, generous, and chivalrous battlefield commanders I've ever come across in my readings, fiction or otherwise. I grew up reading stories of pure, principled paladins and brave, chivalrous knights, but they were all men of myth, like Galahad and Percival. Ironic how my true paragon of a paladin should now be Saladin. - Juxtapose that with the king who beheaded 2,600 Muslim prisoners in one go, the much-lionized Richard the Lionheart--surely one of the first products of articulate spin doctors. For he was not the man Hollywood and Disney have made him out to be. As ruler of England, he could not even speak English, and spent a combined total of roughly two months on English soil. His vilified (via Hollywood) brother Prince John was the much better king--the Magna Carta was drafted on his watch. - The main mode of communication/news during the Crusades: homing pigeons! Given the many skirmishes between Christians and Muslims and Muslims against Muslims, a lot of people must have made a brisk market out of the homing pigeon market. - Saladin was much revered for his achievements, particularly getting back Jerusalem from the "Franks," but largely forgotten by the very people he was fighting for after his death. Ironically, his lionization was chiefly due to the very Christian infidels he had fought so hardly against. Short of claiming him for their own (which some quarters did, actually, insisting he had converted to Christianity), it was the Christians who continued to extol his benevolence in the face of visceral enmity and strife. Saladin's story is a win for humanity. May it continue to be told.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jap Hengky

    The second most famous Muslim in the Western world, after the Prophet Muhammad, was probably Yusuf ibn Ayyub (1137-93), universally known by his courtesy title Salah al-Din, or Saladin. A Kurd born in Tikrit in modern northern Iraq, he rose from service as a mercenary commander to unite Egypt and Syria under his rule between 1169 and 1186. The next year, he conquered most of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, which had been established in coastal Syria and Palestine after the First Crusade. His rule The second most famous Muslim in the Western world, after the Prophet Muhammad, was probably Yusuf ibn Ayyub (1137-93), universally known by his courtesy title Salah al-Din, or Saladin. A Kurd born in Tikrit in modern northern Iraq, he rose from service as a mercenary commander to unite Egypt and Syria under his rule between 1169 and 1186. The next year, he conquered most of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, which had been established in coastal Syria and Palestine after the First Crusade. His rule now stretched from Armenia to Yemen, from Iraq to Libya. Despite the massive western European counterattack of the Third Crusade (1188-92), which recaptured some bases on the Mediterranean, Saladin's empire survived, outlasting its founder by more than 50 years and establishing a new regional equilibrium that endured until the Ottoman conquest of the Near East in the 16th century. Oddly, Saladin's reputation for clemency and wisdom was more cherished in western Europe than in the lands he once ruled. This popularity was based on a partial reading of his acts of calculated mercy, such as allowing the Christians in 1187 to evacuate Jerusalem unmolested, and on the need for Westerners to elevate their conqueror into a worthy opponent. Saladin "is probably the only Muslim ruler in history whom Hollywood studios could imagine casting as a hero." Saladin the devout Muslim focused unwaveringly on pursuing jihad against Muslim heretics and Christian infidels. Salah al-Din even means "uprightness [or goodness] of Faith." Yet the evidence can be played to show Saladin as a ruthless upstart who cut his way to power through blood, treachery, bribery, brute force and deceit, manipulating religion in search of the legitimacy his rule lacked.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Muizzu

    It's a good book to read. Some said the author is not well studied about the reference he used. Personally, I am not very good at history. It's a well-written book if you are just someone with a lot of curious trying to figure out, wondering how the struggle throughout his life until at his deathbed. The books were written mostly throughout the countless war Saladin has lead. At the early of the chapter, there is not much contribution from Saladin itself, the writers are more focused on the backg It's a good book to read. Some said the author is not well studied about the reference he used. Personally, I am not very good at history. It's a well-written book if you are just someone with a lot of curious trying to figure out, wondering how the struggle throughout his life until at his deathbed. The books were written mostly throughout the countless war Saladin has lead. At the early of the chapter, there is not much contribution from Saladin itself, the writers are more focused on the background of his related family, the economics and how those environments shape Saladin itself. Later the writer move to the first war Saladin had joined and how he becomes a leader and leading the Muslims army for the next endless war with only one aims. After when through every page until the last cover. It's manage to bring me to get another historic book which somehow related during this age of time. Lastly, lease thing you would hope for, probably pack your bag and had a visit to all the historical places mentioned in the books. It's always a good idea to have the world map hung on the wall while reading this book. Cheers~

  23. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    I want to learn about Saladin! But this book was too complex and detailed about the Islamic / Arab world for my first attempt to read about this culture and history. I need to start with a lighter book. The names and places will take me some study so that I can really enjoy the story of Saladin. I did get a sense of the divide between Shiite and Sunnis; and the history and differences between Abbasid and Fatamid. Like Christianity with its endless Protestant 'sects', Islam is also very divided l I want to learn about Saladin! But this book was too complex and detailed about the Islamic / Arab world for my first attempt to read about this culture and history. I need to start with a lighter book. The names and places will take me some study so that I can really enjoy the story of Saladin. I did get a sense of the divide between Shiite and Sunnis; and the history and differences between Abbasid and Fatamid. Like Christianity with its endless Protestant 'sects', Islam is also very divided like that. The world was fascinating during these early times, 1100_1300. Turks, Arabs and Europeans were enemies and rivals, but also allies, trading partners and friends, often all these things in quick succession. The complex relationships were new to me. I will read this book again when I can take in and understand the history and the constant violence (not unlike England in the same timeframe) . Of course, England did not have the strong economy and intellectual and artistic enlightenment and stability that the middle eastern people were able to maintain despite the war and violence.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Azmar Khan

    A wonderful biography of one of Islam's greatest leaders, who not only was loved in the East but equally admired in the West too. Western libraries are filled with praise for Sultan Saladin whose main goal was to unify the Muslims engaged in civil war to defend their empire and take Jerusalem from the Christians. He was Crusaders' biggest enemy in the 11th century; his austerity, commitment, and respect to allow Christians and Jews to still operate independently in Jerusalem after taking it from A wonderful biography of one of Islam's greatest leaders, who not only was loved in the East but equally admired in the West too. Western libraries are filled with praise for Sultan Saladin whose main goal was to unify the Muslims engaged in civil war to defend their empire and take Jerusalem from the Christians. He was Crusaders' biggest enemy in the 11th century; his austerity, commitment, and respect to allow Christians and Jews to still operate independently in Jerusalem after taking it from the Christians after a century won hearts of many. Christians took Jerusalem from Muslims during the first crusade, and it was no less than bloodshed killing thousands, while Saladin reciprocated but not through bloodshed but smart political pacts that led his control over Jerusalem without wasting lives of innocent. No wonder Sultan Saladin goes down in history as one of the most respected Muslim commanders of all time.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rabia

    Very well written, a page turner. A great start for people who want to know about the great warrior. However the author can't seem to hide some ingrained biases against Islam and benefits Saladin for all his qualities begrudgingly. The bias although subtle in the beginning, comes forth very obviously towards the end of the book. One important part where the book fails is the complete negation of the incident where Reynald de Chatillon or his associates tried to dig up the grave of Prophet Muhamma Very well written, a page turner. A great start for people who want to know about the great warrior. However the author can't seem to hide some ingrained biases against Islam and benefits Saladin for all his qualities begrudgingly. The bias although subtle in the beginning, comes forth very obviously towards the end of the book. One important part where the book fails is the complete negation of the incident where Reynald de Chatillon or his associates tried to dig up the grave of Prophet Muhammad (saw) but were intercepted just in time. It's a historical fact and reported not only in all Muslim historical accounts but also in many Christian historical narratives. Brushing it off as a simple propaganda machine by the Muslim rulers of the time to rile up people to come together against the crusaders is great injustice to history. I could understand the bias against Islam so apparent in the narrative to some extent but complete distortion of facts is quite inedible.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lesley Schultz

    I liked this book a lot. It had enough detail and objectivity so that someone who knew little or nothing about the Crusades or Saladin could feel like they learned something meaningful without feeling overwhelmed by historical detail or bulldozed into sharing someone else's opinion of the great Sultan. He has a ruthless and partisan side of his character and didn't miss an opportunity to press an advantage when it would benefit himself. But he wasn't driven by any vices, wasn't venal or duplicit I liked this book a lot. It had enough detail and objectivity so that someone who knew little or nothing about the Crusades or Saladin could feel like they learned something meaningful without feeling overwhelmed by historical detail or bulldozed into sharing someone else's opinion of the great Sultan. He has a ruthless and partisan side of his character and didn't miss an opportunity to press an advantage when it would benefit himself. But he wasn't driven by any vices, wasn't venal or duplicitous and had a strong sense of personal morality. He really was an admirable man and a very fine leader. Although it's true that you can't always believe what a man says but you can always believe what he does, it's hard to get that much of a sense of a personality out of an historical chronicle of deeds. Despite this a sense of the man who was Saladin doies come through a little. I appreciated that.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Izaz Haque

    The book captures a slice in time in the Middle East with constant religious conflict and Saladin's rise amidst it. The book is a bit slow to grab you in the beginning, and reflects the writers detailed study and knowledge of events of the time - there are just too many personalities and events to describe- it is quick to pick up and is definitely a worthwhile read . A masterful strategist and a graceful, gentle personality in marked contrast to his crusader opponents, Saladin weaves an intricat The book captures a slice in time in the Middle East with constant religious conflict and Saladin's rise amidst it. The book is a bit slow to grab you in the beginning, and reflects the writers detailed study and knowledge of events of the time - there are just too many personalities and events to describe- it is quick to pick up and is definitely a worthwhile read . A masterful strategist and a graceful, gentle personality in marked contrast to his crusader opponents, Saladin weaves an intricate path towards realizing his vision - the conquest of Jerusalem and its restoration to Muslim rule.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Molly Meenaghan

    The book certainly is informative however I personally was not keen on John Man's writing style. To some degree, he would draw you in writing in a more narrative focused way. Followed quickly by bringing you out of the narrative with an abundance of rhetorical questions and comparisons to other historical events. As someone who does study the crusades, this book could certainly be used for referencing However, reading it from front to back eventually became a slog itching to finish it. Once becomi The book certainly is informative however I personally was not keen on John Man's writing style. To some degree, he would draw you in writing in a more narrative focused way. Followed quickly by bringing you out of the narrative with an abundance of rhetorical questions and comparisons to other historical events. As someone who does study the crusades, this book could certainly be used for referencing However, reading it from front to back eventually became a slog itching to finish it. Once becoming immersed in the narrative and retelling of battles I would quickly be slapped out of it with a plethora of rhetorical questions and comparisons.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Faraz Muhammad

    It was a good read. Very well written narrated stories about the war. Only thing I was expecting more was the act of how Saladin handled the large empire beside war. His administrative decisions were missing. But anyone who is interested in reading war strategies and how to remain calm and cool more importantly focused on the bigger picture during the intense war, this book is the best fit for it. The way he used war prisoners to capture more and more castles without the bloodshed and waited for n It was a good read. Very well written narrated stories about the war. Only thing I was expecting more was the act of how Saladin handled the large empire beside war. His administrative decisions were missing. But anyone who is interested in reading war strategies and how to remain calm and cool more importantly focused on the bigger picture during the intense war, this book is the best fit for it. The way he used war prisoners to capture more and more castles without the bloodshed and waited for negotiations till the very end was amazing to read. Especially how he kept the pact between Muslims and Christians but acted swiftly after the pact was broken by Franks.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hassaan Anjum

    An amazing account of one of history's most admirable general. Good insights into the life of a general who died with nothing but a few dirhems to his name. The book is very engaging and does not feel biased at any point. The author presents both sides of a very complex story and captures the readers attention through every chapter. The book is filled with thought provoking questions that make the reader search for more knowledge to separate truth from myth. An overall amazing book. Recommended t An amazing account of one of history's most admirable general. Good insights into the life of a general who died with nothing but a few dirhems to his name. The book is very engaging and does not feel biased at any point. The author presents both sides of a very complex story and captures the readers attention through every chapter. The book is filled with thought provoking questions that make the reader search for more knowledge to separate truth from myth. An overall amazing book. Recommended to anyone looking for an unbiased account on the life of a famous historical figure, Saladin.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.