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The Life and Legend of the Sultan Saladin

Jonathan Phillips

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Bodley Head
07 May 2019
Biography: historical, political & military; Biography: religious & spiritual; History; Middle Eastern history; Crusades; Religious & spiritual leaders
An epic story of empire-building and bloody conflict, this ground-breaking biography of one of history's most venerated military and religious heroes opens a window on the Islamic and Christian worlds' complex relationship.

When Saladin recaptured Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187, returning the Holy City to Islamic rule for the first time in almost ninety years, he sent shockwaves throughout Christian Europe and the Muslim Near East that reverberate today.

It was the culmination of a supremely exciting life, fraught with challenges but blessed occasionally with marvellous good fortune. Born into a significant Kurdish family in northern Iraq, Saladin shot to power far way in Egypt under the tutelage of his uncle. Over two decades, this warrior and diplomat worked tirelessly to build an immense empire that stretched from North Africa to Western Iraq. His even greater achievement was political- uniting this turbulent coalition of people from a bewildering variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds behind his assault on the Holy Lands. And yet the capturing of Jerusalem was by no means the end of Saladin's epic and confounding story.

Drawing primarily on Arabic as well as European sources, this is the most comprehensive account yet written not just of the man but of the legend to which he gave birth, describing vividly the relentless action of his life and then tracing its aftermath through culture and politics all the way to the present. It reveals the personal qualities that explain his enduring reputation as a man of faith, generosity, mercy and justice, even while showing him to be capable of mistakes, self-interest and cruelty. After Saladin's death, it goes on to show how in the West this Sunni Muslim acquired the status of a chivalric hero, even while throughout the Islamic world he became - and continues to be - the greatest jihadist ever to have lived.

The Life and Legend of the Sultan Saladin shows how this one man's life takes us beyond the crude stereotypes of the 'Clash of Civilisations' even while his legacy explains them- an intimate portrait of a towering figure of world history that is thrillingly relevant today.
By:   Jonathan Phillips
Imprint:   Bodley Head
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   761g
ISBN:   9781847926012
ISBN 10:   1847926010
Pages:   496
Publication Date:   07 May 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jonathan Phillips is Professor of Crusading History at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of Holy Warriors- A Modern History of the Crusades; The Second Crusade- Extending the Frontiers of Christianity; The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople; The Crusades, 1095-1197; Defenders of the Holy Land, 1119-1187 and the co-editor of three academic essay collections on the Crusades. Phillips is the co-editor of the academic journal Crusades and writes for BBC History and History Today. He has made numerous radio and television appearances and has been a historical consultant for Shakespeare?s Globe.

Reviews for The Life and Legend of the Sultan Saladin

Superb, highly readable and definitive ... One of the world's leading crusades scholars ... Phillips's narrative of Saladin's career is vivid and judicious, punctuated by set pieces that charge along like battle scenes from Game of Thrones -- Dan Jones * Sunday Times * Superbly researched and enormously entertaining ... one of the outstanding books of the year -- Gerard DeGroot * The Times * An authoritative and brilliantly told account of the life of one of the world's greatest - and most famous - military leaders. Jonathan Phillips leaves no stone unturned in this impressive and lively history of the genius who was Saladin -- PETER FRANKOPAN, author of The Silk Roads Outstanding. Jonathan Phillips has written a compelling account of arguably the most inspirational of Islamic military heroes -- CHRISTOPHER DE BELLAIGUE, author of The Islamic Enlightenment This illuminating and fascinating biography of Saladin could not be timely. Today political figures often inspire little admiration, but Saladin's career at the height of the Crusades reminds us that moral charisma and integrity can be recognised and honoured by people on both sides of a vicious conflict. His concluding account of the intense emotion that the memory of Saladin still inspires in the Middle East today reveals the sensitivity and pain that underlies so many of the region's unresolved problems -- KAREN ARMSTRONG, author of Fields of Blood


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