This DVD provides a general overview of the English (and in some extent French) involvment in the Crusades.
It’s very much a traditional documentary, not neccessarily a bad thing, but doesn’t engage the viewer as much as some recent documentarys do. It is fairly short which means it doesn’t get boring, but also means it doesn’t go into too detail. It doesn’t even mention the involvment other other nations in the crusades or the religous orders like the Knights Hospitallers and the Knights Templar which would have added to the depth.
Whilst it uses some “fight scenes” to give a bit of action rather than just showing static images there was only a handful of actors which made it look unrealistic. Better than just showing the static pictures, but it could have been a lot better.
If you just want a quick overview of the crusades then this provides a useful overview of what happened. Particularly useful to teenagers studying the holy wars, or adults wanting to get a insight into what happened, which I guess would be the reason for most wanting to watch this. Not much use if you already understand the basics and want to go a bit further.
A related book that may be of interest is “Hospitallers The History of the Order of St John” by Jonathan Riley-Smith. I won’t write a full review at the moment, but the book spans 900 years of the Order of St. John, from it’s humble beginnings, to it’s involvment in the crusades (both caring for the sick both Christian and Muslim) and the role of the Knights as a fighting force, through it’s relocation in Rhodes and Malta, the establishment of the English Order of St. John, right up to the present day St. John Ambulance.