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The crusades spanned over 300 years, and occurred mainly between Muslims and Christians. Even though the crusades ended nearly 500 years ago, they still have a lasting impact on the world today. The war on religion has a lot to do with crusades. The world has made improvements, but differing religions have a long way to go before attaining perfect peace. The crusades did a lot for the world. They were both good and bad. The world learned from the, but it maybe didn’t learn enough.
What are the Best Crusades Books to read?
The following books have plenty of information on the history of the crusades, how they came to be, and what resulted from them. These 20 books have their own facts and opinions that will help readers understand the crusades. These books are good for people who know nothing about the crusades, and for people with an advanced knowledge of the crusades.
Best Books on Crusades: Our Top 20 Picks
Here are some of the best crusades books that you can consider to expand your knowledge on the subject:
1. The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land
Disagreement in religious beliefs and feelings can lead to conflict. The crusades are one of the prime examples of when religion turned to war. The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land by Thomas Asbridge summarizes all of the struggles that went into the fight for the holy land.
This book is well-researched and informative. Asbridge does a great job of turning history into an adventure. He has a great way with words, which helps readers visualize the words on the page. This book lacks a lot of information on later crusades, though. The book starts in 1095 and is pretty in depth in the beginning, but starts to lose its complexity and interest in later pages.
Overall, this is a good book to read to understand the crusades, especially the early ones.
- Authors: Thomas Asbridge (Author)
- Publisher: Ecco; 1st Edition (March 9, 2010)
- Pages: 784 pages
2. God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades
There are plenty of opinions on the crusades and whose fault it was. God Battalions: The Case for the Crusades by Rodney Stark is about the history of the seven well-known crusades. Stark states that the war was justified, and that they were needed based on muslim terror.
This is controversial, and sort of biased, but it does a terrific job of recounting events as they happen and sparing no detail. It also explains why the westerners, though skilled fighters, were constantly losing battles. The book leaves no stone unturned. It explains the beginning of the crusades, how the rivals earned and used money, and why the westerners did so poorly. This book, however, does not tell every side of the story. It is very pro-christian soldiers. This book has lots of history, but it lacks perspective.
- Authors: Rodney Stark (Author)
- Publisher: HarperOne; Illustrated Edition (November 9, 2010)
- Pages: 288 pages
3. The Crusades: A History from Beginning to End
The Crusades: A History from Beginning to End by Henry Freeman is a full history on the crusades from the start, all the way to the end. Readers will get to learn more information about The King’s Crusade, All Out Holy Water, The Self-Defeating Crusade, and many more. This book ties the crusades to the war on religion today. Freeman relates the crusades to current Islamic extremists and the brutalities they cause.
This book is only 60 pages, but it has all kinds of useful information. This is a book for those who are interested in the crusades, but hate reading. The book goes by quickly and has simple language. This book is also great for educators who are teaching crusades units. It does not have some bias against Islam, however, so keep that in mind when reading.
- Authors: Henry Freeman (Author)
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 17, 2016)
- Pages: 59 pages
4. The Crusades Through Arab Eyes
There are two sides to every story. The Crusades Through Arab Eyes by Amin Maalouf is a book that tells the story of the crusades through the Arab perspective. Maalouf did lots of research with this book. Hee scoured through Arab documents that recounted the story of the crusades through another side. His story helps readers gain perspective they may not have had before. This story discusses the conflicts and the trauma from the crusades war, and how it affected Arabia. It provides plenty of intel on the strategies and information from the Muslim side of the war.
This book is easy to read, and quite brief. This book reads like a story, but it is actually historical and based on facts. This is a wonderful read for those who like to see all sides to every story, instead of a narrow one.
- Authors: Amin Maalouf (Author)
- Publisher: Schocken (April 29, 1989)
- Pages: 293 pages
5. The Glory of the Crusades
The Glory of the Crusades by Steven Weidenkopf is a book that debunks many myths that have been told about the crusades. Weidenkopf discusses the crusades with facts and research. He describes the crusades as, “armed pilgrimages driven by a holy zeal to recover conquered Christian lands.” The crusades in this book are explained through the people who participated in them. Heroes and villains of the crusades are discussed. The story of the crusades is explained through sieges and battles.
The crusades and the facts behind them have been clouded by the opinions of others for generations. This book aims to clear the air, and set the record straight about what actually happened during the crusades, and the misconceptions behind them. This book is a simple read, has plenty of footnotes with summaries, and is well-organized.
- Authors: Steve Weidenkopf (Author)
- Publisher: Catholic Answers Press (September 1, 2014)
- Pages: 285 pages
6. Crusaders: The Epic History of the Wars for the Holy Lands
Wouldn’t history be so much more interesting if the people who lived it, taught it. Crusaders: The Epic History of the Wars for the Holy Lands by Dan Jones tells the story of the crusades through the lens of people on both sides of the war. Jones not only looks at the crusades through the eyes of kings and popes; he tells them the story through the eyes of everyday people. He discusses the perspective of princesses, slave soldiers, friars and scholars.
This book tells all their stories. Whether they are muslim or christian, it doesn’t matter. This book tells their individual journeys, and explains how the crusades affected everyone. This is the book to read to understand the crusades, the impact it had then, and the impact it has in modern day society.
- Authors: Dan Jones (Author)
- Publisher: Head of Zeus (September 5, 2019)
- Pages: 512 pages
7. God’s War: A New History of the Crusades
God’s War: A New History of the Crusades by Christopher Tyerman is about the years of the crusades from 1096 to 1500. This book approaches the crusades from a different angle. Tyerman explains the actions on crusade legends, such as: Saladin, Richard the Lionheart, and Phillip Augustus. This book accounts for all of the good and the bad that came from the crusades. It discusses how paranoia, aggression, and wishful thinking played a part in the many years of crusades. This book is long and detailed.
Tyerman uncovers every little detail that made the crusades what they were. He disproves theories on the barbarities of both sides, and tackles the historical event with no bias. He simply tells history as it was, not how he thinks it was. This book is a complicated, grueling read. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is worth it for those who wish to give it a try.
- Authors: Christopher Tyerman (Author)
- Publisher: Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press; Illustrated Edition (February 28, 2009)
- Pages: 1040 pages
8. The Concise History of the Crusades
The crusades went on for many years. There are so many books and information on them, it’s hard to know what is noteworthy. The Concise History of the Crusades by Thomas F. Madden reduces all the crazy research, and makes it easy for readers to study the important bits of the crusades. Like it says in the title, this book is concise. It is easy to read, and only includes the most monumental events from the crusades. It mainly focuses on the most important crusades, the first through the third. These crusades set the ground for four that would follow.
This is a great book for teaching the crusades at a high school level. The language is not difficult to understand, and it gets right to the point. Plus, the book isn’t too long so students won’t get bored before finishing it.
- Authors: Thomas F. Madden (Author)
- Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; Third Student Edition (September 19, 2013)
- Pages: 264 pages
9. The Crusades: A History
What exactly were the crusades, and what is their history? The Crusades: A History by Jonathan Riley-Smith provides a comprehensive background into the history of the crusades. Riley-smith writes about the expeditions of the crusades, the major crusades that happened, and the people who participated.
This book is informative, but dull. It is, no doubt, a great history book. Riley-Smith does his research, and discusses history through a non-partisan point of view. That being said, this book falls flat. It is not particularly interesting. It is great for those who are learning about the crusades through class, but readers should not expect fun from this book. It is straight-forward, factual, and a bit boring. It does have plenty of information on all the crusades rather than a select few, so it still has something to offer.
- Authors: Jonathan Riley-Smith (Author)
- Publisher: Yale University Press; Second Edition (June 11, 2005)
- Pages: 400 pages
10. Chronicles of the Crusades
Chronicles of the Crusades by Jean de Joinville takes the crusades to a whole new level. This book approaches the crusades in a simple way. Joinville talks about the crusades through the perspective of two westerners during the crusades.
This book draws inspiration from a knight in the fourth crusade, and from the perspective of King Louis IX of France. By drawing from the thoughts of actual people during the crusade, Joinville reaches a wider, more interesting audience. Readers get the opportunity to feel what these men felt during the crusades, and reach a more in-depth understanding of what they meant. This book can be a difficult read at times. In spite of that, it truly does reach a new perspective that few authors have covered. Readers won’t be able to put this historical book down.
- Authors: Jean de Joinville (Author), Geoffroy de Villehardouin (Author), Caroline Smith (Editor, Translator, Introduction)
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Illustrated Edition (March 31, 2009)
- Pages: 384 pages
11. The Crusades: The World Debate
Take any event from history and there will be a multitude of opinions on it. The thing is, no one is wrong and no one is right. Even those who experience moments in history can only speak from their perspective. The Crusades: The World Debate by Hilarie Belloc explores how essential the crusades were. Belloc is a known Catholic that uses his own experience with religion to explain that crusades and why they failed.
This book is overly informative, and well-researched. It tells of the reason for the failings of the First Crusade’s leaders, and how things only went downhill from there. Not only does Belloc discuss the history of the crusdes, he also warns of the eventual return of Islam to destory Christianity. This book combines the past and the present in a way that truly grasps how the crusades affected the world.
- Authors: Hilaire Belloc (Author)
- Publisher: Cavalier Books (February 14, 2013)
- Pages: 269 pages
12. The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam
The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam by Jonathan Riley- Smith is all about the crusades, how long they lasted, and where they took place. Some of the places the crusades occurred were: Portugal, Spain, North Africa, The Balkans, Hungary, Poland, and Western Europe. The wars were waged between Muslims and Christians from all over.
This book explores why the crusades happened, how they were fought, and how they affect religion today. The way the crusades are perceived has a lasting impact on various churches and religions in modern society. This book is essentially full of Bampton lectures that discuss all of the topics listed above. Different people have different opinions– this book includes many of them. This book is brief yet informative. The general consensus is that the christendom was in the right, but some argue otherwise.
- Authors: Jonathan Riley-Smith (Author)
- Publisher: Columbia University Press; Reprint Edition (May 17, 2011)
- Pages: 136 pages
13. The Crusades: A Captivating Guide to the Military Expeditions
The Crusades: A Captivating Guide to the Military Expeditions by Captivating History is a manual that recounts every little bit of the crusades. The book is split into various sections based on the crusades. The crusades are split up by what happened, and what year it happened.
This book has every battle, every notable event, and lots of details that are often glossed over. The book is fairly easy to read because of how well organized it is. It has a lot of insight into the crusades. It is a very good overview that doesn’t drag on for too long. Captivating History does a good job of producing a book that is well-researched with more facts than opinions. This is a great read for anyone interested in the crusades.
- Authors: Captivating History (Author)
- Publisher: Ch Publications (December 2, 2019)
- Pages: 110 pages
14. A History of the Crusades
A History of the Crusades by Steven Runciman is a three volume set. It includes these three books: The First Crusade, The Kingdom of Jerusalem, and The Kingdom of Acre. These books recount the history of the crusades in detail. Each book also contains illuminated illustrations, and maps that show where each crusade occurred. The books all have stories that are interesting and captivating the audience. These are both history books, and fun books to read. The beauty of the pages is incomparable. The illustrations really take the books to a new height.
However, these books are not for beginners who know nothing about the crusades. They have too much detail, and name too many names. This information will go over the heads of those who have never read about the crusades. Nonetheless, this is an informative and sensational read.
- Authors: Steven Runciman (Author)
- Publisher: Folio Society (January 1, 1994)
15. Battles of the Crusades
Battles of the Crusades by Kelly Devries is a beautiful illustrated and highly informative book on the crusades. The book has art, maps and so much more. Each chapter is full of information and illustrations. Every section has an intro, a quick recap of what happened, and an analysis on what happened, and how it affected the world today. This book has everything.
This is a great book for teaching the crusades because it is easy to read, and it has plenty of pictures and examples. It includes the tactics and warfare that was used during the crusades, and any other detail a reader may need/ want to know. This book has no bias. It is simply a straight-forward account of what occurred during the crusades, that is done in a fun and modern way.
- Authors: Kelly DeVries (Author), Iain Dickie (Author), Martin J. Dougherty (Author), Phyllis G Jestice (Author), Christer Jorgensen (Author), Michael F. Pavkovic (Author)
- Publisher: Amber Books (May 7, 2019)
- Pages: 224 pages
16. The Crusades: A Reader
The Crusades: A Reader by S.J. Allen is on its second edition. The second edition of this book provides lots of new researched information from the crusades. This edition includes information on people’s perceptions and opinions on the crusades today, how they relate to political cartoons, and how 9/11 can be related to them. This book contains the history of the crusades, but is more focused on how it has to do with modern day society.
This book also includes a section on Margaret of Beverly. Margaret was a pilgrim during the crusades who helped defend the city walls in Jerusalem. She made a great impact on the crusades, but is not often included in history books. Speaking of history, this book is great for history classes because it includes study questions in each chapter and has plenty of helpful images and examples.
- Authors: S.J. Allen (Editor), Emilie Amt (Editor)
- Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division; 2nd Edition (April 21, 2014)
- Pages: 464 pages
17. The Crusades: A History
John Riley Smith is the author of many books about the crusades. One of those books, The Crusades: A History, is on its third edition. This new edition has information on the crusade theory, and historical text that goes with it. It has more illustrations, such as maps and a chronology. It includes an index and bibliography. This book looks more into the decline of the crusades in the nineteenth century.
The Crusades: A History books are some of the best books for teaching students about the crusades. They have lots of information on the crusades, as well as pictures that help garner a better understanding of what happened. Riley-Smith is a well-informed author who is always updating his books as he learns more about the crusades, and how they affected the world today.
- Authors: Jonathan Riley-Smith (Author)
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 3rd Edition (April 10, 2014)
- Pages: 448 pages
18. Crusades: The Illustrated History
Who doesn’t love a picture book? Crusades: The Illustrated History by Thomas F. Madden combines history and drawings. This book is easy to follow because of all the beautiful illustrations. The book has beautiful pictures of places, buildings, important people, and more. This book helps readers understand the atrocities of the crusades in a fun-loving way.
The book has art that has been contributed by a number of noteworthy artists. A few of them are: Helen Nicholson, James M. Powell, and Carole Hillebrand. This book uses pictures to explain five centuries of religious conflict and crusades. This book has little bias. Overall, it’s an easy read with amazing pictures, quality information, and lots of research. This is a good book on the crusades for every level. After all, no one can say no to pictures.
- Authors: Thomas F. Madden (Author)
- Publisher: Duncan Baird Publishers Ltd; 2nd Printing Edition (December 31, 2004)
- Pages: 221 pages
19. Seven Myths of the Crusades
There are as many myths about the crusades as there are facts. Seven Myths of the Crusades by Alfred J. Andrea and Andrew Holt debunks the most common of those myths. This book gives readers a glimpse into how misrepresentation of historical events can lead to awful consequences. This book discusses myths related to the crusades, protest movements in the 1960s, and 9/11. Andread and Holt do a good job of researching the crusades and disproving the popular myths that came from them.
This book uses facts to discredit claims that have come with other authors and historians. This book has a lot of great information. This is the perfect book for people who know nothing about the crusades, and for people who claim to know everything about the crusades.
- Authors: Alfred J. Andrea (Editor), Andrew Holt (Editor)
- Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.; UK ed. Edition (August 21, 2015)
- Pages: 248 pages
20. The Crusade for Justice: Chicano Militancy and the Government’s War on Dissent
The crusades are known as the wars between the Muslims and the Christians that occured from the early 1000’s to the 1200’s. This is true, but there are other crusades that have happened since. The Crusade for Justice: Chicano Militancy and the Government’s War on Dissent by Ernesto B. Vigil is about the history of a Chicano (a person of mexican descent) rights group that lived in 1960s Denver.
The book recounts the history of the group, their conflict, how they came to be, and more. This book helps readers learn about this event, and the struggles the Crusade for Justice endured. This book does something many are scared to do; it criticizes the United States and its oppression. This is a great book that follows a different, unknown crusade through its troubles and glories.
- Authors: Ernesto B. Vigil (Author)
- Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press; 1st Edition (June 15, 1999)
- Pages: 487 pages
Choosing the Best Crusades Books
These are some of many books on the crusades. The crusades may have ended, but they still affect the world today. History has a way of repeating itself. By reading books about the crusades, people can gain a better understanding of what happened, and what to do if it happens again. The war on religion is far from over. Reading some books, like these 20, about the crusades will help the world prepare.