The Field of Blood: The Battle for Aleppo and the Remaking of the Medieval Middle East

Basic: Perseus. Feb. 2018. 256p. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9780465096695. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780465096701. HIST
The First Crusade captured Jerusalem in 1099. Europeans spent the next century trying to defend and expand their political power in military conflict with the Turkish states surrounding them. Morton (history, Nottingham Trent Univ.) provides a clear outline of military tactics that were used by both sides, rivalries within and between European and Turkish leaders, and crusader strategies to build economic and political institutions to support their primary goal of Christian rule for the Holy sites in Jerusalem. Despite constant military operations, the land east of the Mediterranean grew as a vital center for trade and cultural interaction between Europe and the East. Morton draws extensively from contemporary sources to portray the key actors; driven by political ambition, greed, and faith to build and to challenge a Christian outpost far from Europe that survived for several centuries before being vanquished. This well-done study reminds us that this region has been the scene of battles between local peoples and Western invaders many times.
VERDICT Recommended for bringing multiple perspectives and a sense of immediacy to this historic period and for better understanding how the battle for the Syrian city of Aleppo existed in the 12th century as well as today.
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