The Siege of Acre, 1189-1191 Saladin, Richard the Lionheart, and the Battle That Decided the Third Crusade John D. Hosler

Publication date:
25 Feb 2020
Yale University Press
272 pages: 197 x 127mm
12 b-w illus.
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The first comprehensive history of the most decisive military campaign of the Third Crusade and one of the longest wartime sieges of the Middle Ages

The two-year-long siege of Acre (1189–1191) was the most significant military engagement of the Third Crusade, attracting armies from across Europe, Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Maghreb. Drawing on a balanced selection of Christian and Muslim sources, historian John D. Hosler has written the first book-length account of this hard-won victory for the Crusaders, when England’s Richard the Lionheart and King Philip Augustus of France joined forces to defeat the Egyptian Sultan Saladin. Hosler’s lively and engrossing narrative integrates military, political, and religious themes and developments, offers new perspectives on the generals, and provides a full analysis of the tactical, strategic, organizational, and technological aspects on both sides of the conflict. It is the epic story of a monumental confrontation that was the centerpiece of a Holy War in which many thousands fought and died in the name of Christ or Allah.

John D. Hosler is associate professor of military history at the Command and General Staff College. His previous books include John of Salisbury: Military Authority of the Twelfth-Century Renaissance.

“Hosler has produced a thorough military description of this major, dramatic confrontation, and it is unlikely to be bettered.”—Christopher Tyerman, Literary Review

“A gripping account” — Tony Barber, Financial Times (Books of the Year 2018)

“Hosler [has a] pleasing eye for detail and commendable mastery of original sources.”—Dan Jones,  The Times

“The crusaders’ successful siege of Acre, the war’s main military engagement, has never received fuller treatment than in this absorbing account by John Hosler.”—Tony Barber, FT

“Exhaustively researched, acutely analysed, beautifully written” —Theodore K.Rabb, The Times Literary Supplement (Books of the Year 2018)

“John Hosler has provided a careful account of this crucial and neglected episode of the Third Crusade, demonstrating a careful and detailed grasp of events and their significance. This very readable account is of great value to historians of the crusades and of military history.” —John France, The Journal of Military History

“John Hosler has written an exceptional work of nuanced scholarship. His research and conclusions will provide the fodder for many other scholars following in his footsteps.” —Laurence W. Marvin, Michigan War Studies Review

“This is an important contribution to the historiography of the Third Crusade”—James Sewry, Times Literary Supplement

"Hosler’s book opens a new chapter of research on the Third Crusade and demonstrates the need to re-examine this surprisingly neglected expedition."—Stephen J. Spencer, The English Historical Review

“Writing on the Third Crusade is almost as daunting as fighting in it.  It takes bravery, confidence and tenacity. John Hosler possesses all three.  The result is an impressive analysis of the siege of Acre, the largest, longest and most decisive conflict of the Crusade.”—Kelly DeVries, author of Joan of Arc

“Confident and highly engaging, Hosler offers us a perceptive and thorough analysis of the characters, the challenges and the mechanics of one of the great sieges of the medieval period; an important contribution to the history of the crusades and medieval warfare.” —Jonathan Phillips, author of The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople

“One of the most important books to be published on the crusades in recent years … Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand not only the details of the siege of Acre, but the broader outcome of the Third Crusade. Hosler has long been a respected medieval military historian, but with this book he has now become an important voice in debates over the crusades.”—Andrew Holt, Co-Editor of Seven Myths of the Crusades

"An impressive piece of work - a scrupulously researched account of one of the most complicated military events in crusader history."—Roger Crowley, author of 1453

"John Hosler has done what no other historian has yet achieved: he has created a lucid, thoroughly researched, insightful account of the most complex military campaign in the medieval crusades ... This study is unlikely to be replaced for a long time. It is essential reading."—Daniel P. Franke, co-editor of Prowess, Piety, and Public Order in Medieval Society