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There has never been a more important time to study the Crusades. Religious conflict is a fact of life in the twenty-first century no less than it was in the medieval world. And yet the world of the Crusades is so different from ours that it takes a massive leap of imagination to make sense of these events. This book takes on that challenge: opening a window onto the 12th and 13th century worlds to understand what on earth was going on. It examines the Crusades themselves; the controversies surrounding them; and the past and current re-interpretations of the period.