The first Crusade: Military leadership entails the management of violence

Among the books I’ve been reading with regard to military history is Armies of heaven: The first Crusade and the quest for apocalypse (2011). Jay Rubenstein does a commendable job of citing sources in such a way that the story is driven forward at a steady pace, covering vast amounts of ground while maintaining the interest of the reader.

An underlying subtext refers to the capacity of any strongly held belief system to serve as a key driving force for destruction of large mumbers of fighting men and non-combatant children, women, and men in the course of warfare.

Military leadership, in this context, involves the skilful management of violence – and the creative employment of subtrefuge, impression management, and strategic alliances – in pursuit of political goals.

Below are links with brief overviews of the book:

History Musings

Union Books

I’m looking forward to reading Saladin (2011) by Anne-Marie Eddé. As noted in a Kirkus Review of Rubenstein’s book, in her book about the medieval Crusades Eddé seeks to compare the stories of eleventh and twelfth century chronicles with the diplomatic and political record.

Update

A March 6, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “René Girard’s theories still explain the violence all around us: French-born scholar spent his career trying to understand what what makes violence a chronic problem.”

 

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