THE ACCURSED TOWER
The Crusaders' Last Battle for the Holy Land
Yale U.P./Basic Books
Sold: Albanian, Chinese, Czech, German, Hungarian, Spanish, Turkish
Roger Crowley was born in 1951 into a naval family and educated at Cambridge University. The author of numerous bestselling books, including 1453 and Empires of the Sea. Crowley lives near Stroud, UK.
The 1291 siege of Acre was the Alamo of the Christian Crusades -- the final bloody battle for the Holy Land. After a desperate six weeks, the beleaguered citadel surrendered to the Mamluks, bringing an end to Christendom's two-hundred year adventure in the Middle East.The city of Acre, powerfully fortified and richly provisioned, was the last crusader stronghold. When it fell, two hundred years of Christian crusading in the Holy Land came to a bloody end. With his customary narrative brilliance and immediacy, Roger Crowley chronicles the tumultuous and violent attack on Acre, the heaviest bombardment before the age of gunpowder, which left this once great Mediterranean city a crumbling ruin. The ‘Accursed Tower’ was the focal point of this siege. As the last garrison of the Crusader defences, it came to symbolise the disintegration of the old world and the rise of a new era of Islamic jihad. Crowley’s narrative is based on forensic research, drawing heavily on little known first hand sources, both Christian and Arabic. This is a fast-paced and gripping account of a pivotal moment in world history. In The Accursed Tower, Roger Crowley delivers a lively narrative of the lead-up to the siege and a vivid, blow-by-blow account of the climactic battle. Drawing on extant Arabic sources as well as untranslated Latin documents, he argues that Acre is notable for technical advances in military planning and siege warfare, and extraordinary for its individual heroism and savage slaughter. A gripping depiction of the crusader era told through its dramatic last moments, The Accursed Tower offers an essential new view on a crucial turning point in world history.
"Crowley's enviable mastery of atmosphere and narrative are on full display in The Accursed Tower, transporting the reader to a Holy Land bursting with exotic and alien sights, smells, and sounds. His recounting of the siege and fall of Acre combines hair-raising action, ferocious savagery, and fascinating characters in an utterly compelling story. For my money, this is narrative history at its best: a living, breathing world full of real people struggling, living, and dying in an epic clash." ―Patrick Wyman, PhD and host of Tides of History "Roger Crowley has once again found a subject worthy of his immense talent. In The Accursed Tower, he brings the climactic stages of the Crusades roaringly to life, as Popes, Kings, and Sultans-in-the-making lead holy warriors into battle alongsi...