Nine hundred years ago Pope Urban II initiated one of the most controversial episodes in Christian history by stating that, in spite of the apparently pacifist message of the New Testament, God actually wanted European knights to wage a fierce and bloody war against Islam and recapture Jerusalem. Thus was the First Crusade born. Its story is compelling, capable of inspiring awe through tales of bold adventure, and revulsion through excesses of violence and barbarity -- while at the same time providing us with significant insights into early medieval society, morality and mentality. Focusing particularly on the characters that drove this extraordinary campaign, and what drove them in turn, Tom Asbridge re-creates this fascinating period of history in a stunning narrative. Compelling and enlightening in equal measure, and drawing on new research which has radically remoulded our understanding of the movement, THE FIRST CRUSADE is a major work by an outstanding young historian.