The Last Crusaders


Barnaby Rogerson spent his childhood living on military bases around the world with his family. He played in the coves once used by the corsair captains of the Mediterranean and his father told him tales stirring tales about Barbarossa, Dragut and Don Juan – adventures sure to fire the imagination of a young boy. This love of the Mediterranean shore inspired Rogerson and he has written guide books and conducted lecture tours around the region. Who better, then to write part of its history with, as he says himself, “some of the passion of a native”?

The Last Crusaders is much more than a description of the struggles between Christendom and the Ottoman Empire in the 15th and 16th centuries: it is the story of the Mediterranean region as we know it, for many of the religious and cultural boundaries that were laid down in the 1570s, when an uneasy peace at last broke out, are still in existence today. The book is meticulously researched (even the notes are extremely readable!) Explanatory maps and the appendices of the key characters and comparative timelines are very useful for those of us who are not familiar with the subject. Full of fleshed-out characters and eye-witness statements, this is no dry and dusty retelling of the facts but a highly readable account of the struggle for supremacy by neighbouring powers. Sometimes heroic, often brutal, the action is as vivid and fast-paced as a novel. An excellent read.

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