This book opens disarmingly with a novice historian stumbling through a lecture, “wondering why he had ever begun”. He is saved by his students, who storm the hall and, with cries of “Deus lo volt”, demand to be taken to Jerusalem, AKA the pub next door. Thirty-six years later, Christopher Tyerman, now professor of the history of the Crusades at the University of Oxford, returns to the subject of his lecture: how to plan a crusade.
How to Plan a Crusade is serious and scholarly, the synthesis of decades of work on difficult, fragmented sources. Administrative records weren’t routinely kept until around 1300, which makes Tyerman’s task harder and more impressive.