The Crusades continue to exert a fascination as a story of perceived gallantry and battles against impossible odds. Yet what is less often considered is their effect on the Holy Land, and in particular the response of the Muslim world to the invasions of west European Crusaders. By a previously divided Islamic world, they gave an unstoppable impetus towards the declaring of jihad against the West, a holy war against Christendom. They also helped to shape the careers of some important figures, most notably Saladin but also other great men like Sultan Baibars and Nur al-Din. The rise of these great leaders is traced in this book, as are the many great battles that were fought by men just as devoted to their cause as the Crusaders were.