In 1940, the eminent crusade historian John L. La Monte complained of how, with the possible exception of Renaissance Florence, “no field” of historical research “has been the subject of so much worthless historical trash” as the medieval crusades. Over the last fifteen years, since I first began to study the medieval crusading movement as an undergraduate, I have increasingly come to appreciate the dim view of La Monte, as many crusade historians have continued to have very similar concerns about much of what has been published on the subject in the seventy-five years since La Monte first made his claim.
Consequently, when historian Alfred J. Andrea and I began to consider the idea of a book on modern popular myths of the medieval crusades, we were not surprised by the widespread interest we found among crusade historians in the project. Indeed, since 2008, when Al and I first discussed the topic at a crusade history conference in St. Louis, a number of crusade historians have had serious questions about the project, expressed curiosity over which of the many possible myths we might address, and often also expressed an interest in contributing to the project. Thus, it is not surprising that our final effort, Seven Myths of the Crusades, to be published in September 2015 by Hackett Publishing, involves the collective efforts of ten professional medieval historians who all teach, research, and write about the crusades. One of those historians is the widely respected and well-known Dr. Paul Crawford of California University of Pennsylvania.