This is the first English translation of the main contemporary accounts of the Crusade and death of the German Frederick I Barbarossa (ruled 1152-90). The most important of these, the 'History of the Expedition of the Emperor Frederick' was written soon after the events described, and is a crucial, and under-used source for the Third Crusade (at least in the Anglophone world). The account begins with two letters describing the disaster of Hattin and Saladin's subsequent conquest of most of the Holy Land (the second of these is addressed to the duke of Austria). It goes on to describe how the emperor took the Cross, the preparations and recruitment for the Crusade, the diplomatic contacts of Barbarossa with the Byzantine Emperor and the Sultan of Iconium in an attempt to secure a peaceful passage for the expedition, and the Crusade itself: the journey through the Balkans and the gruelling march through Asia Minor, beset by Turkish attack, until its arrival at Antioch on 21st July 1190, eleven days after the emperor had drowned while crossing a river in Cilician Armenia. The 'History' gives a vivid account of the sufferings of the German army as it traversed Asia Minor. The account of the expedition itself appears to be, or to be based upon an eyewitness record, cast in the form of (often) a daily memoir. However, it concludes with an account of the captivity and release of Richard I in Germany, Henry VI's conquest of the kingdom of Sicily, and of the preparations for a new Crusade under his leadership. In addition, a number of further accounts related to, and expanding, the 'History of the Expedition' have also been translated, including a contemporary newsletter about the death of the emperor, as well as the narrative of Otto of St Blasien, placing the Crusade into context twenty years later, and a contemporary account of the capture of Silves in Portugal by German crusaders on their way to the Holy Land in 1189. This collection is a valuable companion volume to the three other volumes relating to the Third Crusade in this series: The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade, trans. Edbury, the Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi, trans. Nicholson, and The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin, trans. Richards.
When Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan visited Yosemite National Park, they both called out Fredrick Law Olmsted as a major influence and inspiration for their documentary film, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea." To celebrate Mr. Olmsted and his contributions to our National Parks, the Yosemite Conservancy, in partnership with Heyday Books, has reprinted "Yosemite and the Mariposa Grove: A Preliminary Report, 1865" with a new foreword by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns. This seminal book is a must read for anyone interested in the National Parks and our public lands. The first eloquent expression of the need for conservation in 1865 is found in this remarkable and prescient report by Frederick Law Olmsted. No statement since has been so cogent or powerful. Pristine natural landscapes, Olmsted observed, provide people with "refreshing rest and re-invigoration." They are good -- perhaps essential -- for the soul. Which is why, he noted, that from time immemorial they have most often become the exclusive domain of any society's most privileged classes, "a monopoly, in a very peculiar manner, of a very few, very rich people." Olmsted believed a great democracy had a greater obligation: "to provide means of protection for all its citizens in the pursuit of happiness." That meant, he argued, that "the establishment by government of great public grounds for the free enjoyment of the people ...is thus justified and enforced as a political duty." Olmsted gave additional reasons for creating public parks, including that they are undeniably good for the local, state, and national economy because of the tourist business they engender. His report also included practical advice about building roads and shelters, as well as instituting regulations to zealously protect the "dignity of the scenery." All of his points are as pertinent today as they were when he first read them to his fellow Yosemite commissioners nearly 150 years ago. But in deliberately borrowing from our nation's founding document, which proclaims that the "pursuit of happiness" is among the inalienable rights of every human being, and in attaching that notion to why Yosemite (or any other future park) should not be allowed to become "a rich man's park," Olmsted infused the national park idea with its most enduring principle."
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