Contemporary interest in the period of the Crusades has intensified in the last decade or so, partly because of the inflammatory invocations of holy war and jihad made immediately after the traumatic events of 9/11.
Readers of English who want to know more about the experience of the Greek Orthodox Church under Ottoman rule have generally reached for Steven Runciman’s The Great Church in Captivity, first published by Cambridge University Press in 1968.(1) As an introductory guide to the topic, the book has stood up very well over the years but inevitably some aspects of i
Empires throughout world history have more often than not seen themselves as part of some cosmic grand narrative, set on earth to enact the will of the god or gods, spiritual or secular, they claim to serve. The Carolingian Empire was no exception.
The Complete Lives of Camp People by Rudolf Mrázek is part of the Theory in Form series by Duke University Press, which ‘seeks new work that addresses the politics of life and death’. (1) Set in the Dutch Boven Digoel isolation camp and the Theresienstadt Nazi ghetto, Mrázek’s work is well suited for the series.
Sometimes (not often enough) an academic book comes along that ticks all the boxes: it is based on thorough research, spanning archives on different continents, engaging with rich and varied source materials; it is held together by a tight set of themes; it is written in beautiful prose.