The Most Influential Crusade Historians

(Originally Published on 7/27/2017- Updated on 8/9/2017)

In a recent blog post, I requested the lists of several medieval historians ranking the ten “most important” books on the crusades. Currently, 21 historians have submitted their lists (with more scheduled to come in). Based on a count of the lists submitted so far, and not including books mentioned in the annotated commentary provided by each historian, I have pulled together the following ranking based on whose books have received the most mentions.

It was no surprise, perhaps, that Jonathan Riley-Smith was cited the most by these historians, with 22 mentions of his various works. Overall, British historians dominate the ranking.

The Top Five

  1. Jonathan Riley-Smith with 22 mentions.
  2. Christopher Tyerman with 12 mentions.
  3. Carole Hillenbrand with 10 mentions.
  4. Steven Runciman with 9 mentions.
  5. [Tie] Norman Housley and Carl Erdmann each with 8 mentions.

*Honorable mentions go to Thomas Madden with 7 mentions and John France and R.C. Smail each with 5 mentions.

Again, this is based on the rankings of 21 medieval historians who had submitted their lists as of August 9, 2017. In cases where historians submitted two lists, one for the impact of books on the field and another for personal impact (see Cecilia Gaposchkin’s contribution), I only included those considering the impact on the field. If someone submitted more than 10 choices (See Andrew D. Buck’s list), I only used the first 10 choices. If anyone notices any counting errors, please email me at and I will update immediately.

N.B. As additional contributors submit their rankings in the future, I will periodically update and reissue this list. This is an ongoing project. I also intend (eventually) to post a ranking of the most mentioned books, rather than historians.