Monday, November 28, 2011

Full Week of Patron Reviews! Enjoy...

If you love tales of King Arthur (especially the parts about Excalibur), can name Frodo's and Gandalf's swords -- and both the names of Aragorn's sword -- from Lord of the Rings, and/or ever wondered what it was really like to use a sword in battle, this book is for you.

In The Book of Swords, Hank Reinhardt steers the reader through the history of the sword, throwing in some metallurgy, archaeology, poetry, and applied research as needed along the way. The focus is on how these weapons were used in combat and how they were adapted over time to changing technology (i.e., the discoveries of iron and then steel), battle conditions, and societal conditions. Each chapter ends with suggestions for further reading, most from Reinhardt himself. (The book was edited and published posthumously by Reinhardt’s wife, Toni Weisskopf Reinhardt.)

Whenever possible, Reinhardt tried out reproduction blades himself and described the results (sacrificing innumerable pork shoulder roasts in the process) — what kinds of wounds different swords made; how well they penetrated chain mail; which were good for cutting, thrusting, or both. He also takes time to discuss armor and other weapons used against swordsmen to give readers a clearer context for how swords were used. Finally, he discusses the differences between the sport of fencing and sword combat, and dispels a few myths and excessive liberties taken with the facts, perpetrated by the movies and other popular sources.

It’s an interesting topic, and Reinhardt made it a delightful read, full of quirky asides and fascinating details. Highly recommended.

Sarah K.

All week long, we will be posting reviews submitted by patrons, so a big THANK YOU! for those submissions. We encourage everyone to send in a review - they are much appreciated and (while supplies last) you get Lawrece Public Library promotional items for the effort.

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