The Crusader Strategy: Defending the Holy Land
Steve Tibble

The Crusader Strategy: Defending the Holy Land

A new look at the crusaders, which shows how they pursued long-term plans and clear strategic goals

Medieval states, and particularly crusader societies, often have been considered brutish and culturally isolated. It seems unlikely that they could develop “strategy” in any meaningful sense. However, the crusaders were actually highly organized in their thinking and their decision making was rarely random.
In this lively account, Steve Tibble draws on a rich array of primary sources to reassess events on the ground and patterns of behavior over time. He shows how, from aggressive castle building to implementing a series of invasions of Egypt, crusader leaders tenaciously pursued long-term plans and devoted single-minded attention to clear strategic goals. Crusader states were permanently on the brink of destruction; resources were scarce and the penalties for failure severe. Intuitive strategic thinking, Tibble argues, was a necessity, not a luxury.

Book Details:

  • Author: Steve Tibble
  • Published Year: 2020
  • All rights are available
Steve Tibble

Steve Tibble

Dr Steve Tibble is a graduate of Cambridge and London Universities, and is a research associate at Royal Holloway College, University of London. He is one of the foremost academics currently working in the field of the crusades.   His latest book, 'Templars - The Knights Who Made Britain' (2023) was published by Yale University Press to wide acclaim. Other recent publications have been similarly highly praised and include 'The Crusader Armies' (Yale, 2018) and 'The Crusader Strategy' (Yale, 2020, short-listed for the Duke of Wellington's Military History Prize). He is...
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Book Reviews

  • "Confident, brisk and engaging, this book offers a sharp new understanding of the crusader states. Tibble deftly reveals the strategic imperatives that shaped the early eras of conquest and consolidation ... Insightful, original and persuasive – the perfect sibling to Tibble’s Crusader Armies."
    Jonathan Phillips, author of The Life and Legend of the Sultan Saladin
  • "Yes indeed! The kings of Jerusalem did have a strategy. The case is argued with great panache. Tibble brings a freshness and a breadth of knowledge to his subject and has clearly thought long and hard as to why things went wrong. A welcome addition to a lively debate."
    Peter Edbury, author of The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade
  • "Viewing the crusader states’ first century through the lens of strategic theory, Steve Tibble finds broad designs amid a whirlwind of battles, sieges and negotiations. It is a compelling story vigorously told of medieval men and the plans that they made."
    Thomas F Madden,author of The New Concise History of the Crusades
  • "The Crusader Strategy tackles the fundamental problem faced by “the defenders of the East” in the twelfth century. How did practical men implement God’s will in almost impossible circumstances? Tibble’s penetrative analysis shows that they responded by developing intelligent long-term strategies, skilfully adapted to the numerous challenges which confronted them."
    Malcolm Barber, author of The Crusader States