A Brief History of the Knights Templar by Helen Nicholson

When I got my paws on this book, I was hoping – but not expecting – that it would dig a little deeper than some of the bigger books on the Crusades by virtue of being focused on just the Templars. Turns out, I got what I hoped for and then some. While this book is a good one for beginners that want to hit the ground running, I think it does help to have some background knowledge on the Crusades and a general idea of who the Templars were before diving in. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be for the more detailed parts of this book. It makes for a richer experience.

There are few books on the Templars that have made it to audiobook format that really dig in and give you some of the details. When it comes to tracking something like this down in paper format, most of the books out there seem to be either really basic and sometimes insulting, or they are written for the academic sect, far beyond the ability of most to keep pace with. That’s what I love about this book, specifically. Nicholson tells you up front this isn’t written for her colleagues in academia, but for the layperson with an interest. I am exactly her target audience as I have the scholarly enthusiasm for the subject matter, but my dedication is generally interrupted by other shiny objects. Still, I keep coming back.

There are a lot of names and dates, and at times you’ll need to break out the scorecard, especially if you’re preparing for deeper research. But for the most part, this book covers things such as the culture of the Templars, how outsiders reacted to them, and other bits of interest that it seems like most other books tend to avoid. Where other books lean on the “there’s little actual information surviving” crutch, Nicholson comes right out and says there’s actually quite a bit, and breaks it down in a way that’s easy to understand. Don’t you just love it when a real historian contradicts to the conventional bullshit of the pop writer?

Not being familiar with Nicholson’s work before now, I can tell you her name is definitely on my radar where this subject is concerned. I am truly impressed with this book. I’m hoping to find companion books on the Hospitalers or the Teutonic order that aren’t on Audible, and also even more expanded writings on the Templars.

5 stars

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