SACRED SWORDS: Jihad in the Holy Land

Author Name James Waterson
Publishing house Frontline Books
Country – city USA
Date of issue 2011
Number of pages 288 

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In 1071 Muslim Turks crushed the Byzantine Emperor’s Anatolian army at Manzikert. The Crusades, the West’s response to this catastrophe, are well known as are the names of the European nobles who fought in them. The names and deeds of many of the Crusaders’ opponents in the Holy Land are often unfamiliar to Western readers.Using primarily Muslim sources, Sacred Swords reconstructs the politics of the Levant on the eve of the First Crusade and places it in the wider context of the Muslim world of the period. This was a realm where war with the Crusaders was only one part of the military and political endeavors of a Muslim prince of the Levant. Much of the action is comprehensible only when the outlook and position of the Princes is understood.Waterson tells the story of the famed leaders of the jihad – the lives and deeds of Zangi, Nur al-Din, Saladin and Baybars are all recounted. Sacred Swords also illustrates the evolution of the jihad in which these Princes were engaged. The story of the Holy War that would eventually destroy the Latin Kingdom is traced and analyzed from its origins among the Princes of northern Iraq, as is the long naval contest that raged between the navy of Egypt and the Crusader fleets.

James Waterson is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and received his Masters Degree from the University of Dundee. He travelled and worked in the Middle East, the United States and China for a number of years but now calls Tuscany home and Dubai ‘the office’. He lives with his wife Michele and a number of spoilt pets and he only ever leaves Italy when he is really, really short of money. 
In pursuit of a living wage he has, at various times, been an actor in Chinese movies, a radio host, an oil rig worker [every one of his books is dedicated to ’39’ the first North Sea rig he ever worked on], the voice of Chinese Steel, a university lecturer, a nurse and a contadino. He still writes and consults on healthcare in areas as diverse as disaster management and children’s intensive care. 

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