In 1095, the world was very different from our world today. For those were the days when knights rode forth to battle in heavy armor, and military might determined all things. In that year Peter the Hermit led thousands of men, women and children in a march to Jerusalem to rescue the Holy Land from the Moslems. Each of his followers wore a cross as an official sign of membership in what was called the First Crusade.
In the next 200 years, millions of Europeans headed toward Jerusalem on a series of crusades. They were a motley lot -young and old, rich and poor, those who were deeply religious and those who were seeking their fortune at any cost, those who craved high adventure and those who followed blindly. When they signed up, few realized they would have to walk hundreds of miles, through mountains and deserts, fighting their way across enemy territory, and finally attacking a well-fortified city.
Some of the Crusaders kept journals from which we can piece together the full story of their adventures. InThe Crusades Anthony West recounts the extraordinary events of those expeditions that surged out of Europe and on to the Holy Land almost a thousand years ago.
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