Get to know our authors: William E. Welsh

We have been featuring our authors on the Medieval World blog, and today we bring attention to William E. Welsh. He has contributed 10 articles to the magazine (Medieval Warfare and Medieval World: Culture & Conflict), many of which concern the Latin Crusades. The latter include the Crusade of 1101, Montgisard 1177, La Forbie 1244, and Saladin’s apprenticeship in Egypt under his uncle Shirkuh in the 1160s. 

For the recent issue of Medieval World: Conflict & Culture - which looks at Louis as king, crusader, patron, and saint - Welsh authored the piece "Louis' Seventh Crusade: Disaster in the Delta," 24-27. The fantastic opening illustration, executed by Marek Szyszko - shows Louis wading ashore near Damietta in 1249. 

But let's learn more about our author. In his words:

I have focused heavily in the past two decades on writing about pitched battles in medieval warfare. For Medieval Warfare, I have written a number of articles on key battles in the Latin Crusades, such as Ager Sanguinis 1119, Montgisard 1177, and La Forbie 1244. My favorite of these is La Forbie (volume VI, issue 5) because of the unusual alliance of Franks and rebellious Syrian Ayyubids against Egyptian Ayyubids and Khwarazmian mercenaries from Central Asia who had been displaced by the advancing Mongols.  

One of the most important reference works in my personal collection is the three-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare that includes superb entries on historical figures, battles, and periods. It also has not only narratives of historical periods but also historiographical essays.

My favorite one-volume work on the Crusades is Christopher Tyerman's God’s War: A New History of the Crusades. I like it because Tyerman offers a comprehensive narrative on the crusades with enlightening statistics. I found Steve Tibble’s Crusader Armies particularly helpful in framing my recent article on Ager Sanguinis (volume 11, issue 2) as regards the composition of the Frankish and Muslim armies.    

I write in a room in my house that is strictly used for writing and editing. It is decorated with maps of medieval France and England and illustrations and paintings of medieval warfare. The room also has large bookcases housing my medieval warfare and Renaissance reference works. Having this scholarly environment puts me in the mood to write, as well as puts the reference works in easy reach.

In the course of researching articles on decisive medieval battles, I focus heavily on the political events occurring in the years preceding the battle and the makeup of the opposing armies. I make sure to include in my final draft direct quotes from both Latin and Muslim chronicles. I believe it is important that the quotes are not only informative, but also colorful, in order to make the text more compelling to readers.

I hold a bachelor of arts in history and a master of arts in English. I undertook the graduate work while employed as a staff writer and later managing editor for a technology magazine. When I left that job in 2013, I became the freelance editor for nearly a decade of Military Heritage magazine published in the United States. In this role, I was responsible for manuscript acquisition, issue planning, and copyediting. I also regularly contributed articles to the magazine.

I learned early on through continuing education workshops how to craft compelling query letters. This has helped me obtain assignments not only in the United States, but also in Great Britain, and with Karwansaray Publishers in The Netherlands.

I am a regular contributor to the British publication, Military History Monthly. I recently wrote an article on the Battle of Bauge in 1421 that is published in the April/May 2023 issue. Other articles I’ve written for that publication concern battles not often covered, such as Brunkeberg 1471, Ayn Jalut 1260, and Civitate 1053. I find covering obscure battles such as these particularly satisfying.

--William E. Welsh

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