The Crusades are often invoked, but rarely understood. Runciman’s modern classic remains the benchmark for its objectivity, clarity and literary merit. Of immediate value for military officers and civilian analysts, this work explodes pernicious current myths, while reporting human valor and folly, treachery and brilliance with enthralling narrative style. The reader will be struck not by the antiquity of this Western effort to master the Middle East, but by its uncanny relevance. Essential reading for those who wish to understand today’s crises in the Levant or to counter specious historical claims by political activists or zealots: For two centuries, Crusaders clung to a narrowing strip of terrain along the Mediterranean Coast; Islam occupied great swaths of Europe for 1,200 years.
Ralph Peters is the author of twenty-nine books, including works on strategy and military affairs, as well as best-selling, prize-winning novels. He has published more than a thousand essays, articles, and columns. As a US Army enlisted man and officer, he served in infantry and military Intelligence units before becoming a foreign area officer and global scout. After retiring in 1998, he covered wars and trouble spots in the Middle East and Africa. He now concentrates on writing books but remains Fox News’s strategic analyst. His latest novel, Hell or Richmond, a gritty portrayal of Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign, follows his recent New York Times best seller, Cain at Gettysburg, for which he received the 2013 Boyd Award for Literary Excellence in Military Fiction from the American Library Association. Video: Ralph Peters on the importance of military history education in the military. Peters is also the author of the Civil War novel, The Damned of Petersburg.