The Field of Blood

The Battle for Aleppo and the Remaking of the Medieval Middle East

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Regular Price $36.5 CAD

Regular Price $28

Regular Price $36.5 CAD

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On Sale

Feb 20, 2018

Page Count

256 Pages




A history of the 1119 Battle of the Field of Blood, which decisively halted the momentum gained during the First Crusade and decided the fate of the Crusader states

During the First Crusade, Frankish armies swept across the Middle East, capturing major cities and setting up the Crusader States in the Levant. A sustained Western conquest of the region appeared utterly inevitable. Why, then, did the crusades ultimately fail?

To answer this question, historian Nicholas Morton focuses on a period of bitter conflict between the Franks and their Turkish enemies, when both factions were locked in a struggle for supremacy over the city of Aleppo. For the Franks, Aleppo was key to securing dominance over the entire region. For the Turks, this was nothing less than a battle for survival — without Aleppo they would have little hope of ever repelling the European invaders. This conflict came to a head at the Battle of the Field of Blood in 1199, and the face of the Middle East was forever changed.


"The text is lit by vivid re-creations of battles as well as concise descriptions of each warring group's military tactics, training and equipment."—Wall Street Journal
"Nicholas Morton masterfully brings this period alive--and delivers some pointed lessons for our own times--in his lively and compact historical survey.... History can be weaponized, as Morton points out, but, in the author's capable hands, it can also be used to illuminate and defuse."—Washington Independent Review of Books
"Through a lean, fast-paced prose line, he distills a large amount of background context into a smooth reading experience. A particular strength of the book is the multifaceted look it gives readers at the polyglot Turkish forces involved and the fractious internal sultanate politics that frequently derailed Turkish progress against the western invasion."—The National
"Recommended for bringing multiple perspectives and a sense of immediacy to this historic period and for better understanding how the battle for the Syrian city of Aleppo existed in the 12th century as well as today."—Library Journal
"A riveting account of a battle that changed the course of the Crusades. Nicholas Morton captures the intensity, importance, and aftermath of the confrontation to produce a sparkling history of one of the key turning-points of the Middle Ages."
Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads: A New History of the World
"More than just a chronicle of a battle, this book sheds revealing light on the First Crusade and its aftermath, disposing of myths, and laying bare the high stakes that drove men on all sides of the conflict."
Thomas Madden, author of Istanbul: City of Majesty at the Crossroads of the World
"Morton's analysis is meticulous, his knowledge of the politics and military practices of the medieval world formidable, and his ability to understand these events from multiple perspectives--Turkish, French, Arab, Armenian, among others--wholly remarkable."
Jay Rubenstein, author of Armies of Heaven: The First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse
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