Alfred J. Andrea and I recently had the opportunity to do an interview with Medievalists.net focusing on our recent book Seven Myths of the Crusades (Hackett Publishing, 2015). The book has been well received so far, with a number of nice endorsements from leading crusade historians (which can be viewed here).
Medievalists.net provided some excellent questions that allowed Al and I to provide some in depth responses considering a number of important issues.
One of the questions asked why we chose to write the book. My partial response is below.
“I do want to address your question, however, as to why we wanted to create another book on the crusades, specifically taking the approach of countering modern popular crusade myths. We and the contributors all agreed that the prevalence of the myths that we address in this book are repeated so regularly in all media, especially popular films and literature, as well as in political speeches and commentary, that it was worthwhile to pull together a book, written and edited by scholars, that targets general readers and undergraduates. The goal is to explain to the reader why scholars tend to see the issues covered in the chapters quite differently than popular accounts often suggest. We wanted to give readers a sense of the complexity of each of the historical issues dealt within the chapters and why historians often disagree with common popular, often unnuanced interpretations of historical events. It is a topic that crusade historians discuss among themselves quite often, occasionally publishing articles in popular publications and on the web to make such a point to just such an audience. So the essays we have collected here do not represent new or cutting-edge scholarship. Rather, our goal is to communicate current scholarship to undergraduates and a general reading public. Moreover, we want to make that scholarship accessible, affordable, and engaging in a way that many academic books are not.”
Please read the full interview here.