The Most Influential Crusade Historians

(Originally Published on 7/27/2017- Most recent update on 10/21/2017)

In a recent blog post, I requested the lists of several medieval historians ranking the ten “most important” books on the crusades. Currently, 33 historians have submitted their lists. 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 solely 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 31 mentions of his various works. Overall, British historians dominate the ranking.

The Top Five

  1. Jonathan Riley-Smith with 31 mentions.
  2. Christopher Tyerman with 14 mentions.
  3. Carole Hillenbrand with 13 mentions.
  4. Norman Housley with 12 mentions.
  5. [Tie] Carl Erdmann and Steven Runciman each with 11 mentions.

*Honorable mentions go to Joshua Prawer with 10 mentions; John France and Hans Eberhard Mayer with 8 mentions; and Thomas Madden, R.C. Smail, Eric Christiansen, and Kenneth M. Setton each with 7 mentions.

Again, this is based on the rankings of 33 medieval historians who had submitted their lists as of October 21, 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.

See also: 15 “Most Important” Books on the Crusades

N.B. If additional contributors submit their rankings in the future, I will periodically update and reissue this list. This is an ongoing project.