Usama ibn Munqidh, The Book of Contemplation: Islam and the Crusades (Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 2008).
The Crusades as seen through the eyes of Muslims
A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION to the understanding of the medieval holy wars between Christians and Muslims, this volume brings together the best and most complete eyewitness account of the Crusades from the perspective of a medieval Muslim writer. Focusing on twelfth-century Arab aristocrat Usama ibn Munqidh's Book of Contemplation but also including extracts from his Book of the Staff and Kernels of Refinement, this volume offers a strikingly human portrayal of Islamic perspectives on day-to-day life, warfare, and the curious European invaders who had so suddenly become part of his world.
"The Book of Contemplation, the 12th century memoir of the noble and poet Usama ibn Munqidh, conveys the texture of an age. Until recently, it was available in English only in a stiff and unwieldy translation from the 1920s. Thanks to a smooth new retranslation by Paul M Cobb, it will invariably soon start finding its way onto crusades studies syllabi. While it deserves this attention, The Book of Contemplation is more than a record of confrontation between Christians and Muslims: Munqidh's lively memory and stories transcend the limiting context of holy war."--Kanishk Tharoor, The National