I'm an avid reader of history, as well as processing a degree in the subject. So imagine my surprise when, after receiving this book from a friend of mine for Christmas, I read the erroneous account of the Children's Crusade of 1212. I had done research on this topic, so I was horrified to read the completely inaccurate account of what occurred. Had the author not read any historical analysis on the subject from the last 50 years? If he had, he would have realized that there were actually two crusades - one consisting of mainly French people led by Stephen of Cloyes who, when told to turn back by King Philip II, did so. That ended that crusade. The other one, led by a shepherd from Germany named Nicholas, led a group across the Alps into Italy. Some left for home while others continued on to Rome. It's interesting to note that in Rome, many received dispensations from their crusading vows because these "children" were either too old or because they were pregnant. Perhaps until relatively recently, people believed in the Children's Crusade because it represented a morality play or because some historians gave too much credit to chronicles (like Chronica Albrici monachi Trium Fontium) which were written long after the crusade supposedly occurred, rather than relying on more contemporary sources. Nor did they realize that the latin word "pueri" used in the chronicles can have several meanings (such as unmarried men rather than children).
In the final analysis, you just can't rely on books like these to really teach you history. The best you can do is read what they tell you and then try to verify it. If only the author had bothered to check the History Channel's own account of the Children's Crusade on their website, or perhaps read the excellent paper done by Peter Raedts in the Journal of Medieval History, or even just checked out the brief but accurate entry online in wikipedia. The book gave two pages to this event, and sadly got it completely wrong.
For this gross oversight, I am compelled to give it one star. Readers of history, never just believe what you read - verify.