Customer comments on this Youngstown Ohio Book
Well written but biased
Saladin and the Saracens is a solid enough effort. Written by Osprey's in-house muslim apologist, David Nicolle, it gives a decent enough portrayal of Saladin and the armies he led during the Crusading era. It concentrates primarily on the Fatimid and Ayyubids and Abbasid dynasties of the moslem middle east. A thumbnail sketch of the Mamelukes is also thrown in for good measure.
As with most Osprey titles it is only meant to be used as a starting point, a general overview from which more serious study can then be undertaken.
The prints are certainly of high quality, much, much better than some of Osprey's other crusader era titles.
Again, as a jumping off point this book is a decent enough effort.
Part of the Osprey's series covering various troops and soldiers from important historical periods, this book takes a (very) brief look at the armies in the Middle East during the time of the Crusades. Over all, its a short, somewhat general read. The emphasis is, of course, on Middle Eastern soldiers, so much of it is devoted to Saladin and the Arab and Kurdish armies, but there is also some stuff on the tribal Turks and the Armenians and Cilicians, which I found interesting. Information is given on all the troops, how they fought, what sort of arms and armor they used, where they came from and so forth. Some things were skipped over, or left out entirely, but considering the limited scope of this book, that can be forgivven. Personally, I was amazed by how much they did manage to fit in at any rate! Of particular interest are the wonderful color plates, which go into magnificent details on specific troops and their equipment.
Its a pretty decent book. Not too detailed, perhaps, but it has some excellent visuals and can easily put the Crusades into context and sum things up. If this time period interests you, then by all means look into this book.
The Army of Shalahuddin was not presented enough
The Saracens were not the whole picture of Shalahuddin's army. I only wished that western 'scholars' would start using Arabic grammar for their names in islamic history for the sake of respect of others.
I found that his 'fire-brigade' that harrassed King Guy in the famous Battle of Hattin was not even presented. even his legendary 'light-cavalry' was not there either. Although, the uses of darts, short arrows, were there excellently enough.
I was a little bit disappointed with this work, that's something unusual from david Nicolle. Fortunately I found several new accounts from the Saracens which did not all campaigned with Shalahuddin.