Reviews

  • "Superb, highly readable and definitive ... One of the world’s leading crusades scholars ... Phillips's narrative of Saladin's career is vivid and judicious, punctuated by set pieces that charge along like battle scenes from Game of Thrones"

    Dan Jones, Sunday Times
  • "Superbly researched and enormously entertaining ... one of the outstanding books of the year"

    Gerard DeGroot, The Times
  • "An authoritative and brilliantly told account of the life of one of the world’s greatest – and most famous – military leaders. Jonathan Phillips leaves no stone unturned in this impressive and lively history of the genius who was Saladin"

    PETER FRANKOPAN, author of The Silk Roads
  • "Outstanding. Jonathan Phillips has written a compelling account of arguably the most inspirational of Islamic military heroes"

    CHRISTOPHER DE BELLAIGUE, author of The Islamic Enlightenment
  • "Fascinating, authoritative and intelligent"

    Spectator
  • "This illuminating and fascinating biography of Saladin could not be timely. Today political figures often inspire little admiration, but Saladin’s career at the height of the Crusades reminds us that moral charisma and integrity can be recognised and honoured by people on both sides of a vicious conflict. His concluding account of the intense emotion that the memory of Saladin still inspires in the Middle East today reveals the sensitivity and pain that underlies so many of the region’s unresolved problems"

    KAREN ARMSTRONG, author of Fields of Blood
  • "Beautifully researched and authoritative, Jonathan Phillips's very fine biography of this fascinating historical character underlines how serious history made accessible to the general reader is invaluable if we hope to understand our world today"

    JASON BURKE, author of The 9/11 Wars
  • "Vivid and authoritative, with glistening details on every page. Phillips explains Saladin’s ability to mesmerise not just through the achievements of his lifetime but through his inspiration of Arab leaders, including Nasser, Assad and Saddam Hussein, ever since"

    JAMES BARR, author of A Line in the Sand
  • "Jonathan Phillips explores new themes and makes use of various underused or wholly neglected Arabic sources ... vivid and convincing"

    Robert Irwin, Literary Review
  • "More than just a biography ... this book paints a rich, absorbing picture of the 12th-century Middle East ... gives expert accounts of the many hard-fought battles and sieges ... vividly describes the Crusader fightback ... One major lesson of this book is that the facts about the distant past are much, much more interesting than the opportunistic uses made of them by anyone in the present"

    Telegraph