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Paperback The Book of the Sword: With 293 Illustrations Book

ISBN: 0486254348

ISBN13: 9780486254340

The Book of the Sword: With 293 Illustrations

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

"The history of the sword is the history of humanity." With these words, British author, Victorian scholar, and world traveler Richard Burton begins his eloquent and exceptionally erudite history of the "Queen of Weapons." Spanning the centuries and a wide range of cultures, Burton's rich and elegant prose illuminates the sword as both armament and potent symbol. For nearly all peoples of the world, the sword embodied the spirit of chivalry, symbolized...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Detailed and Engaging Historical Survey!

"The history of the sword is the history of humanity." With these words, British author, Victorian scholar and world traveler Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton begins his eloquent and exceptionally erudite history of the "Queen of Weapons." Spanning the centuries and a wide range of cultures, Burton's rich and elegant prose illuminates the sword as both armament and potent symbol. For nearly all peoples of the world, the sword embodies the spirit of chivalry, symbolized justice and martyrdom and represented courage and freedom. In battle, it served universally as a deadly offensive weapon. Drawing on a wealth of literary, archaeological, anthropological, linguistic and other sources, the author traces the sword's origins, from its birth as a charred and sharpened stick, through its diverse stages of development, to its full growth in the early Roman Empire. Recounting man's long associations with this weapon, the author describes in brilliant detail: The ages of wood, bone and horn. The appearance of stone swords and exotic weapons such as the boomerang. The ages of copper and alloys such as bronze and brass--used in producing the long, narrow blades of rapiers. The Iron Age during which the Viking sword of carbonized iron took shape--a weapon whose form would set the standard for the next thousand years. Enhanced by nearly 300 excellent line drawings, the text provides an incredible wealth of detailed data about the sword and its variations: sabre, broadsword, cutlass, scimitar, rapier, foil, and a host of other arms, including dirks, daggers, throwing knives, flails and much more. Military and social historians, scholars and students of weaponry will find this volume a fascinating, abunantly illustrated and highly readable account of this potent symbol of power. Five stars.

Indispensible for the Sword Fancier

I'm not the expert fencer I long to be (yet), but I do have an ever-growing collection of swords, mostly gifts from grateful Spanish patrons, but I've also been able to purchase and acquire blades from several countries. The pride of my collection is a fairly well-preserved Roman sword from the reign of Trajan. Burton was, as we all know, something of a dabbler. In this book, he offers us not only straight history of the sword, but also countless fascinating bits of sword lore. I quite frankly can't imagine any sword lover being without this book. I am looking for a first edition, but for now, this reprint is a valued part of my library.

ABSOLUTE CLASSIC - THE BEST

If you like swords..this book is for you. If you like Victorian writing...this one is for you. Please, before you read the book, realize who wrote it and when he wrote it. The book is very, very detailed. It is written in a style which most are not use to, therefore making it a difficult read for some. Burton, a Master Swordsman, did a tremendous amount of reasearch on this book and it was not written for those looking for a light hearted literary romp. If you are not particularly interested in sharp weapons, word roots or wonderful Victorian writing, then this one may not be for you. On the other hand, if you are a serious student of such, then this one is a must for your book collection. I do wish that more of Burton's writings had been saved. I highly recommend.

The Book of the Sword

This book is one of the most comprehensive books about swords, their history, their use, and the concepts behind their effectiveness. Burton's wording may be a little hefty, but his illustrations do an excellent job of conveying the point to the reader. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in swords and their history.

A must for sword and fencing enthusiasts!

Written in 1884, this book is full of the history and lore of the sword. Richard Burton (not the actor)was a historian, an explorer, and a fencer, and he managed to blend all three interests in this fascinating biography of "the Queen of Weapons." His passion for the sword is obvious as he follows it from its origins in prehistory to Roman times. For Burton, no praise is too great, no detail too small when it comes to the sword. He had a burning desire to illuminate, to tell what he knew, and this he did with the full force of a tidal wave. Originally planned as the first of three volumes, THE BOOK OF THE SWORD unfortunately sold poorly when it was first published, so the later volumes never materialized. Today, the book is recognized for the work of art it truly is. As a fencing master and writer, I recommend this book highly.
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