We were thinking of renting Kingdom of Heaven (Broken link, active November 4, 2005), that movie about the Crusades with all the big stars in it. We are not sure, though. Although I love historical epics, we didn’t go see this movie when it was in theaters, because we heard it was soooo PC. What we heard seemed to parrot the plot being peddled by the anti-Iraq War crowd – you know, evil war-mongering Christians invade the home of peaceful Muslims for no good reason – and we weren’t interested in being preached at (more) by Hollywood (funny how they see themselves as the arbiters of true enlightenment). But I have found a good review from a source I trust, so we will most likely give it a try.
But those who have seen Kingdom of Heaven might be interested in separating the wheat from the chaff, and learning the real history of the Crusades. Begin with The New Concise History of the Crusades by Thomas Madden. Concise is the key word, covering several centuries of history in 225 pages. So it is an overview, and of necessity the details are lacking. For further study, try The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades by Robert Spencer. Robert Spencer is not afraid to state the truth. Visit his website Jihad Watch for a sample.
Update: speaking of re-writing medieval history … read But what have you done for civilization lately? by Hugh Fitzgerald over at Jihad Watch …
Update: we did watch this movie. It was good, however, my biggest complaint was that the greatest heroes in the movie: Orlando Bloom and the Saladin character, were secular; the biggest promoters of war and cruelty were “religious zealots” – the true believers – on both sides; and the clergy in the film were corrupt and obviously ungodly. When facing a defeat from Saladin’s army, the bishop of Jerusalem tells Orlando Bloom to convert to Islam and repent later. It is true that some clergy were corrupt by this time in the Middle Ages. But in the movie the stereotypes were universal and extreme, obviously written to make a larger point.