Knight of the Outremer 1187-1344 AD / Crusader
Knight of the Outremer is about the Knight of the languishing Crusader States, remnants of the once great conquest of Jerusalem and surrounding territories of the first Crusade. However these Crusader States continued long enough to have developed their own traditions. The period surveyed by David Nicolle (who is a specialist in medieval arms and armour) is over 150 years in time span.
The book is more than well illustrated (a hallmark of Osprey books) by Christa Hook, and based on the wealth of illustrations alone, is worth every penny or cent of the cost of purchase. In fact, it is better illustrated than many far more expensive books covering the same subject.
The book is written by an expert who knows his subject, and whilst the book may appear to be lightweight (total of 64 pages of which 12 are full page, full colour illustrations) the book is not lightweight in the information provided.
The following sections form the text of the book; Introduction; Chronology; Outremer; The Knight in Outremer; Education and Training; Society and Culture; On Campaign; Arms and Armour; Display and Heraldry; Collections; Bibliography; Glossary. The largest section (12 pages) which is central to the theme is that on Arms and Armour. Combined with the excellent colour illustrations, this is an excellent reference work.
The narrative reveals something of the interrelationships and influence of the Muslim East with the Crusaders States and the West. For example, romance as a Muslim concept influencing western literature (page 23) and the fact that Christian Knights, as mercenaries or converts fought for Islam (page 12).
If there is any criticism, it is a minor one, and that is the geographical illustration on pages 5 and 22, where shading is done by dots and lines reminiscent of 1950s school type books. This would have been improved by the use of grey scale. However this does not detract from the worth of the book.
The Reverend Michael Foster.
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