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The Knights Hospitaller (Hardback)

A Military History of the Knights of St John

Military/Maritime/Historical

By John Carr
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 218
ISBN: 9781473858886
Published: 31st October 2016

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The Knights of St John evolved during the Crusades from a monastic order providing hostels for Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. The need to provide armed escorts to the pilgrims began their transformation into a Military Order. Their fervour and discipline made them an elite component of most Crusader armies and Hospitaller Knights (as they were also known) took part in most of the major engagements, including Hattin, Acre and Arsuf.

After the Muslims had reconquered the Crusader Kingdoms, the Order continued to fight from a new base, first in Rhodes and then in Malta. Taking to the sea, the Hospitallers became one of the major naval powers in the Mediterranean, defending Christian shipping from the Barbary Pirates (and increasingly turning to piracy themselves as funding from their estates in Europe dried up). They provided a crucial bulwark against Islamic expansion in the Mediterranean, obstinately resisting a massive siege of Malta by the Ottoman Turks in 1565. The Order remained a significant power in the Mediterranean until their defeat by Napoleon in 1798.

Not knowing much about the period I felt some research was in order, so I tracked down Pen and Sword Books The Knights Hospitaller by John Carr. The book is written in a very easy to read, conversational style and I found it to be most interesting, from beginning to end. This is not a simple listing of historical events, but a more enjoyable journey through the history of the order. Taking the story from the inception of the Knights of Saint John (the order is known by several names, The Knights Hospitaller, The Order of the Knights of Saint John, The Knights of Malta ...) in Outremer, as a protective escort force for Christian pilgrims and hospital, through their more militaristic battle against the Ottoman Empire and right up to charitable organisation in it's modern form.

I would highly recommend the book for anyone interested in medieval knightly orders or the history of the Crusades.

Read the full review here.

Iron Mammoth's Blog, David Drage

Medieval times was a fascinating period of honor, ambition and grotesque violence. It laid the foundation for the Renaissance era which gave birth to humanism and many other philosophies that became the foundation of western civilization. I fully recommend this book as it offers us a valuable opportunity to reexamine medieval history through the lens of the Knights Hospitaller.

Kunwon Saw, Freelance

It is a story well-told, vivid, inspiring and well worth its place both in the mind and on the bookshelf.

Minerva, January/February 2017 - reviewed by Robin Price

Devoted to the history of the Knights of Saint
Jean, from the founding of their monastic order until the taking of Malta by Bonaparte in 1798.
The book takes the form of a narrative strictly
chronological, each chapter on one of the great events of history of the Hospitallers. The importance of "The fleet of Religion", its struggle against the Barbary pirates and the Ottomans is not forgotten either.

VaeVictis, January - February 2017

John's book gives us a rare insight into the monastic order that gave birth to the Knights Hospitaller, charting their history and exploits from their formation to the Napoleonic wars at the end of the eighteenth century. History doesn't get any better than this.

Books Monthly, December 2017– reviewed by Paul Norman

About John Carr

Throughout that career he has been steeped in Greek affairs, ancient and modern, which gave him the incentive to reinvent himself as a military historian specializing in southern Europe.

Since his teens he has also involved himself in music, and recently recorded a CD of self-composed instrumental rock, his main spare-time interest apart from writing.

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