This is Richard H. Bezdek's follow up to "German Swords and Swordmakers", and it is a fine work which will have great appeal to those with an interest in British swords. It really concentrates on later swords i.e. Not mediaeval swords. Therefore if your interest in swords is prior to 1600AD then you will not relish the reams of Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian swords.
I am not expert enough to comment on the English swords, it is not my field of study. But Scottish swords are, and I can assure the reader that if you are looking for information on Scottish swords then this is currently the ONLY book in print with a section devoted to the subject.
There are at least 100 swords of Scottish form illustrated in b&w photographs. Now the big problem for anyone producing a book on swords is that they are difficult to photograph well in their entirety and to do so means a very small photograph. I am afraid the book doesnt always succeed here. The photographs of complete swords remain small, and being b&w dont relate much detail. The photographs of hilts however are generally good with one sad exception and that is the plates which have been copied from "Culloden. The Swords and the Sorrows" that work has suberb colour photographs of 40 or so hilts, but they have failed to reproduce well in Bezdek's work. It is a great pity the publishers were not able to obtain the original photographs to make decent prints.
There is little new in the text on Scottish swords but it is a notoriously difficult subject to study, and I would still recommend the work.
I am afraid the definitive work on CLAIDHEAMHMOR has yet to be written but this fills a void which has existed since John Wallace's "Scottish Swords and Dirks" (1970) went out of print.
There are about 34 pages listing Scottish sword makers and 25 pages of photographs of Scottish swords, and the reader will have to judge for himself if it is worth buying a near 400 page book for such a relativly small Scottish section. Perhaps the book should have been two books! Anyway at least someone has gone to trouble of representing Scottish swords at all! and for that we Scots are indebted to Mr Bezdek.
If you prefer to do deeper research then "Scottish Arms Makers" (1977) Charles E Whitelaw is the definative listing, but it is out of print and very pricey (likely over £50). "Scottish Swords and Dirks" (1970) as mentioned remains the standard work on Scottish swords despite being out dated, again out of print and expensive (the last copy I bought cost £25 and I was very lucky) The National Trust for Scotland published "Culloden. The Swords and the Sorrows" (1996) and it is to date the only work containing good colour photographs of Scottish swords, it is not to be reprinted, but it is highly sought after (it only cost £4.95 and is trading at 6 or 7 times that now!)
I would certainly recommend Bezdek's book it is a useful addition to the subject, and the only easily obtainable book with a excellent section on Scottish swords. However I would have liked to have seen colour plates for this price. This leads me on to my last point. It is too expensive. £60+ is half a weeks wages to myself and most people I know. This price is unjustifiable, £30 or £40 would be more realistic. I appreciate that that is probably beyond the authors control. I've got dozens of books twice this size with high resolution colour plates throughout, on every conceivable subject, and some of them cost little more than £10. If this book had been printed in Spain, Italy or the Far East it would be colour throughout and cost £17!!!!!!!! It will come as no suprise to learn then that it was printed in the US.
I have no connection with anything I have recommended.