The Crusades: Recommended Resources


• Sir Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, 3 vols. (Cambridge, 1951–54) remains a striking historical narrative.

• Kenneth M. Setton, ed., The History of the Crusades, 6 vols. (Wisconsin, 1969–89) is a comprehensive work by dozens of specialists. Though some articles are out of date, it is still valuable.

• Hans Eberhard Mayer, The Crusades, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 1988) stresses the relationship between the Crusades and contemporary religious movements.

• Jonathan Riley—Smith The Crusades: A Short History (Yale, 1987) differs from Mayer chiefly in the broad sweep of his coverage, which extends to the sixteenth-century struggles of Europeans against Ottoman expansion.

• Malcolm Billings, The Crusades (Sterling, 1988) is based on a BBC radio series. A high-quality popularization.

• Carl Erdmann, The Origin of the Idea of Crusade (Princeton, 1977) sparked interest in the question of Christianity’s involvement in these wars.

• The Atlas of the Crusades edited by Jonathan Riley—Smith, (Facts—on—File, 1990) is useful for those interested in the geographical aspects of the Crusades.

Arabs and Jews

• Amin Maalouf, The Crusades through Arab Eyes (Schocken, 1985) is a popularized yet important work directed to an Arab audience.

• Peter M. Holt, The Age of the Crusades (Longman, 1986). This clearly written narrative provides a useful companion to Maalouf.

• Arab Historians of the Crusades, edited and translated by Francesco Gabrieli; translated from the Italian by E. J. Costello (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969; California, 1984) is a major collection of Arabic sources.

• Robert Chazan, European Jewry and the First Crusade (California, 1987) studies the Jewish persecutions that broke out.

• The Jews and the Crusaders: The Hebrew Chronicles of the First and Second Crusades, translated and edited by Shlomo Eidelberg (Wisconsin, 1977) makes these important sources readily accessible.

Specific Aspects

• Jonathan Riley-Smith, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading (Pennsylvania, 1986) analyzes the motives and participants in the First Crusade.

• Jean Richard, The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (North Holland, 1979) is an outstanding study of the kingdom established by the First Crusade.

• Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Knights of St. John in Jerusalem and Cyprus, ca. 1050–1310 (St. Martin’s, 1967) deals with the quasi-religious military orders.

• Charles Brand, Byzantium Confronts the West, 1180–1204 (Harvard, 1968) explores the background of the Fourth Crusade from a Byzantine view.

• William Chester Jordan, Louis IX and the Challenge of the Crusade (Princeton, 1979) discusses the involvement of King Louis IX.

By James M. Powell

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #40 in 1993]

Dr. James M. Powell is professor of medieval history at Syracuse University and author of Anatomy of a Crusade, 1213–1221 (Pennsylvania, 1986–1990).
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