In This Review

Hattin
By John France
Oxford University Press, 2015
240 pp.
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In 1187, the Muslim sultan Saladin defeated the crusader armies at the Battle of Hattin, restoring Muslim rule over Jerusalem and other places that the European Christian forces had captured during the preceding century. Yet Saladin’s victory did not lead to the complete expulsion of Christians from the region, and in fact, it prompted further bouts of crusading. In this book, which is part of Oxford’s Great Battles series, France reveals how divisions among the Christian leadership led to the slaughter at Hattin and explains how the battle has shaped the legacy of the Crusades. For one thing, many medieval Europeans came to see Saladin as a noble and worthy opponent—in some respects more honorable than the men he defeated. In more recent times, Saladin’s image has been appropriated by Arab and Muslim leaders such as Saddam Hussein, who have claimed to emulate the sultan’s leadership.

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