Tyerman, Christopher 1953-
TYERMAN, Christopher 1953-
PERSONAL: Born May 22, 1953. Education: M.A., D.Phil.
ADDRESSES: Office—Faculty of Modern History, Hertford College, University of Oxford, Broad St., Oxford OX1 3BD, England. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Historian, educator, and writer. Hertford College and New College, Oxford, Oxford, England, lecturer in modern history.
MEMBER: Royal Historical Society (fellow).
England and the Crusades, 1095–1588, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.
Who's Who in Early Medieval England, 1066–1272, Shepheard Walwyn (London, England), 1996, Stackpole Books (Mechanicsburg, PA), 2001.
The Invention of the Crusades, Macmillan (Basingstoke, England), 1998.
The Crusades: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor of articles to journals, including the English Historical Review.
SIDELIGHTS: Christopher Tyerman is a British author of several books documenting the history of Medieval England and the Crusades. In England and the Crusades, 1095–1588 he discusses the second and third Crusades, Lord Edward's expedition, the English who fought for the Teutonic Knights in the Baltic wars, the Lollard crusaders, and the transition of crusading principles and actions into the Tudor period.
Nearly a third of Tyerman's book deals with the period following 1272. Instead of the traditional focus on economic, colonial, ecclesiastical, and military perspectives, the author concentrates on how the Crusades influenced various aspects of English society and domestic and international politics. He discusses the positions and activities of the English kings between 1154 and 1327, all of whom took the cross. He also provides considerable detail about the lives of English crusaders and compares individuals at all social levels. "References are exemplary, as are the index and bookmaking," wrote J.W. Alexander in Choice. Times Literary Supplement contributor Norman Housley noted that Tyerman "has done the job not only thoroughly but brilliantly. It is hard to believe that any important aspect of the subject has been omitted…. The attention to detail is meticulous, and the author's use of the sources critical and astute." A reviewer noted in the Virginia Quarterly Review that Tyerman "sheds new light on a complex and bloody period in English history."
The first part of Tyerman's The Invention of the Crusades is a reprint of a 1995 article he wrote for English Historical Review titled "Were There Any Crusades in the Twelfth Century?" The middle section of the book covers the period between c.1200 and 1500. It was during this time that the concept of a Crusade was fully defined and all Christians were able to join one. Tyerman examines how societies received crusading and how canon law was applied in secular courts. The final section covers historical accounts of the Crusade to the present time.
In A History of Harrow School, 1324–1991, Tyerman has written the first history of England's most famous public school after Eton. Using the school's archives, Tyerman reveals the significance Harrow has played in British history. Known as a school for the wealthy, the school has witnessed many changes over the years, from a de-emphasis on the classics and more emphasis on math, science, history, and foreign languages, to the end of the tradition of "fagging"—the bullying of new students. Michael V.C. Alexander wrote in History: Review of New Books that A History of Harrow School, 1324–1991 "will serve as a model for future educational historians."
Fighting for Christendom: Holy War and the Crusades is a brief overall history of the Crusades. In the book, Tyerman dispels some of the myths associated with the Crusades, such as the belief that they were only wars targeting Islam in Palestine and that they were part of a movement to establish Western dominance throughout the world. In addition to discussing events that occurred during the Crusades, the author offers analyses of how the Crusades impacted history both during the four centuries that the Crusades encompassed and beyond. For example, he ends the book with an essay on how the crusades influenced such historical eras and movements as the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment. In the essay, the author also argues that the twenty-first-century battle against terrorism emanating primarily from the Middle East is part of a legacy passed down by the Crusades. A Publishers Weekly contributor called the book an "excellent popular history." Writing in the Library Journal, Christopher Brennan commented, "Lacking the standard academic apparatus that intimidates many readers, this illuminating work is highly readable and highly recommended." Jonathan Sumption noted in the Spectator that the book is "short but stimulating" and also noted that the author offers "the best kind of historical analysis, and it will have served a valuable purpose if it makes readers think more carefully about historical analogies." A Contemporary Review contributor wrote that readers "will not find a better delineation of the issues and legacies of the events and their historians."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Choice, February, 1989, J.W. Alexander, review of England and the Crusades, 1095–1588, p. 992.
Contemporary Review, March, 2001, review of A History of Harrow School, 1324–1991, p. 187; February, 2005, review of Fighting for Christendom: Holy War and the Crusades, p. 126.
First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, June-July, 2005, Thomas F. Madden, review of Fighting for Christendom, p. 26,
History: Review of New Books, spring, 1989, p. 114; spring, 2001, Michael V.C. Alexander, review of A History of Harrow School, 1324–1991, p. 116.
Library Journal, December 1, 2004, Christopher Brennan, review of Fighting for Christendom, p. 138.
Publishers Weekly, February, 2005, review of Fighting for Christendom, p. 126.
Spectator, December 16, 2000, review of A History of Harrow School, 1324–1991, p. 87; October 23, 2004, Jonathan Sumption, review of Fighting for Christendom, p. 51.
Times Educational Supplement, November 24, 2000, Peter Gordon, review of A History of Harrow School, 1324–1991, p. S23.
Times Literary Supplement, November 18, 1988, Norman Housley, review of England and the Crusades, 1095–1588, p. 1276; February 16, 2001, J.H.C. Leach, review of A History of Harrow School, 1324–1991, p. 29.
Virginia Quarterly Review, spring, 1989, review of England and the Crusades, 1095–1588, p. 43.
Weekly Standard, July 4, 2005, Steven Ozment, review of Fighting for Christendom, p. 31.
University of Oxford Faculty of History, http://www.history.ox.ac.uk/ (August 30, 2005), faculty profile of author.