by J. Gerlach
On the new edition of J. Gerlach's Simple History series Crusades zine we look at the period between 1095 and 1229, a time of widespread cruelty, political expansion, and religious hypocrisy. As Gerlach says in the zine's intro, "It is said that religious differences have caused most wars. Certainly this reasoning could be applied to the Crusades - a battle of Christians against Muslims for control of the 'Holy Land.' But as in other 'religious wars,' religion was not the main reason to fight."
What comes next is an intelligent, fast-faced look at the hows and whys of this dark (and oft romanticized) spot in our history. Gerlach's illustrated, 48-page take on the Crusades is an accessible but richly detailed piece of cultural documentation. In this day of terrorists and nationalism, oil-wars and martyrs, this text will ring true to modern readers. The big, hot button themes-jihad, imperialism, propaganda, religious fervor-are all the same and the result can be chilling. As says Gerlach, "It goes back and forth, with no end in sight." Scary and synchronistic, this is the most relevant Simple History zine yet.