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A History of Weapons [Hardcover]

John O'Bryan
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: £11.99
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Book Description

1 Jun 2013
From butterfly swords to bo staffs, the only history of weapons you'll ever want. John O'Bryan hilariously explains weapons like the Bola, Atlatl, Khopesh, Aspis, Falx, Tomahawk, and Flaming Pigs (for real), while delivering real content about history, uses and badass potential. Stories about Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, the 'peaceful' Shaolin monks and the ass-whipping Rajput's of India compliment fun sidebars like 'So You Want to Sieze a Fortified City.' Each entry features an illustration of the weapon, either on its own or in action. A smart package and a great price point complete a book that will elicit a nerdy gasp of appreciation from anyone who can still make good explosion noises.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle (1 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452110549
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452110547
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 15.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 640,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John O'Bryan was raised by professional whittlers in the backwoods of Western Tennessee and Northern Mississippi. His father worked as a Baptist minister on weekends and instilled in him many of the Bible's most important lessons on how to smite someone. His mother would read him the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual when he couldn't sleep. While living in Memphis, he learned to run from the sound of gunfire. He cut his writing teeth typing obituaries for Mississippi's most prestigious newspaper and would later abandon his southern roots to write for Hollywood. There, he would use his wealth of nerd knowledge to his advantage, writing for Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender (not the crappy M. Night Shyamalan movie of the same name) and Disney XD's Motorcity.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting but NOT suitable for children 8 Mar 2014
By nak23
Format:Hardcover
This book is really interesting and every page is engaging. I thought ideal for my eight year old son however it is peppered with unnecessary swear words. An example "due to the Muslims knowing not to wear heavily padded armor in the hot f...... Desert. just not needed. What a shame.
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Format:Hardcover
very informative and very funny, made me laugh many times, so many weapons i had never heard of, so many ways to die!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange but pretty thorough anthology 29 Jun 2013
By John R. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a hard book to categorize. From a purely factual point of view, this is a reasonable anthology of weapons used around the world as humans gradually evolved effective ways to slaughter each other, and is a pretty good synopsis for those like me who are interested in the subject or would like a handy little reference book. The trouble is the author's use of language. I've never before read anything that professes such authority and that appears to be aimed at dirt-talking teenagers. As an ex-Special Forces weapons specialist, I'm not prude, but the language of this book seems to be a cheap shot. The information really doesn't deserve such clumsy devices. Still, if you go through and cross out all the adolescent adjectives, there's good information here.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I did enjoy the book, but really got tired of the "F-word" 10 July 2013
By Kurt A. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This interesting book was created by author John O'Bryan to give you a humorous look at pre-modern weapons. The author does a good job of covering everything from rocks to early machineguns, hand-held weapons and missile weapons, and animals and devices of war. The illustration work by Barry Orkin is very good, and really adds to the book.

My one complaint against this book is that the author seems to find the "F-word" hilariously funny, and makes sure that he uses it on just about every page. For example, Chapter 5 is entitled, "The Romans: Sick F___s." Personally, I stopped finding that word funny when I left High School, and the author's overuse of it really started to grate on my nerves.

But, that said, I did enjoy the book, and was really interested in the weapons he included and what he had to say about them. If you are interested in reading about all sorts of strange and interesting weapons, then you should give it a look!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Childish and repetitive 13 Jan 2014
By S. Radler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I borrowed this as an ebook from our library, thinking it was a serious, adult history book. Instead (my fault for not researching it more carefully) it seems to be aimed at 12-year-old boys who snigger at every f-word and each mention of human genitalia. Like Ben Thompson's "Badass" series of books, "A History of Weapons" gives the reader sound bites filled with trash talk as a substitute for wit.

Also, it's formatted very poorly as an ebook; pictures of the weapons often fill up three pages each, with the middle page being nothing but a section of a straight pole. After seeing that ten or twelve times, it gets really old.

Look elsewhere for serious weapon history.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rollicking run through a history of humans perfecting murder tools 10 May 2013
By Mclain Causey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is special for a couple of reasons. First, the subject matter is interesting. Even if you're not sniveling in your mom's basement between D&D sessions and occasionally see the light of day outside of LARPing, weapons are an interesting topic and have had a profound impact on human history, for sometimes better and sometimes worse. Sometimes WAY worse.

Secondly, the author is hilarious. The book perfectly blends historicity and humor about an interesting topic--what else do you want? Why are you still reading this review? See that one-click purchase button? Go for it. It's a perfect session reader or reference, though I enjoyed a cover-to-cover read.

The author was judicious in which weapons, eras, and cultures he covered, and these are laid out roughly in historical order. This makes the book, beyond a reference and work of humor, a history and a story, tracing from some early hominid first bashing something with a rock forward.

Finally, I enjoyed the illustrations and thought they really complemented the excellent writing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save Your money..Poor wiith Lots of Innacuracies 21 Jun 2014
By John P. Painter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This book could have been a serious treatise on weapons, instead it is a flippant foul mouthed (not for children) and often grossly inaccurate account of the hiistory and origins of weapons (especially Chinese). Photographs often do not match the text, for example the Derringer discussed in the text is a cap and ball version but the photo is of a modern cartridge version. The Bowie knife is an illlustration of a modern hunting knife and is not even close to either of the two blades associated with Jim Bowie the Searles Bowie or the James Black blade. As a law enforcement trainer, martial arts instructor and grandfather (bought the book for my grandson) I was offended by the authors almost constant use of the F word and many curse words and by his at times sordid and insulting remarks about historical figures and celebrities. I am glad I only paid $9.00 for this garbage. I left it in a Bozman Montana hotel room drawer next to the Gideon Bible. If you want a historical work on weapons do not buy this book it is a waste of paper and money. Shame on you John O'Bryan.
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