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4.2 out of 5 stars13
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 15 March 2011
I was disappointed with this book, partially as I was expecting a well researched piece of work. I found there was much conjecture and an overall lack of convincing research. There were large gaps in chronology, particularly in the use of the war bow in the Anglo-Scottish campaigns. I found also there were significant historical inaccuracies, which would have been obvious to any amateur historian.

Most annoyingly a large portion of the book was devoted to contemporary usage of the longbow as an instrument of amusement. Here the author did manage to provide good detail (a little too much in fact)about which archery associations were patronised by whom. This was frankly extremely tedious and the author clearly ran out of good material, having to pad out the remainder of the book with useless snippets. There are far more worthy and informed books on this subject, and I would direct any potential reader to them.
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on 31 July 2006
In The Crooked Stick Hugh Soar provides historically sound and wonderfully entertaining information about diverse aspects of the history of the longbow. Though he gives appropriate attention to the much-studied use of the longbow in the Hundred Years War, Soar begins his book with fascinating chapters about the early development of the bow and the place of the bow in the elaborate ritual of medieval hunting. After continuing through an excellent discussion of the English war bow, Soar moves on to the less familiar ground of the development of recreational and social archery in England, including the rise of the archery societies in the Victorian period.

Throughout the book Soar maintains a pleasant, somewhat conversational style. The reader can easily imagine that he is listening to Mr. Soar as he gives a talk to one of the longbow societies in which he is well known. The combination of this agreeable tone with the well selected historical information makes for a thoroughly pleasurable and rewarding read. The Crooked Stick should be read by anyone with even a casual interest in the longbow, and should be added to the library of anyone with a deeper interest.
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on 26 June 2013
This book takes a very wide view of the history of the longbow - and here is my first problem. Soar starts right back in the stoneage! These weren't longbows but simple bows. He also continues up into modern sporting archery. So it would have been a lot better to call this book a history of archery. I was looking for information specifically on the history of the longbow in the period before it back the great war weapon of the three king Edwards in the high middle ages, and I certainly didn't find it here. the problem with writing any book which covers such a huge historical spread is that, unless the book is going to be huge, there isn't room to put in much detail on each era.

So if you want a general history of bows and archery, and know little to start with, this slim book will give you a lot of sound information. If however, you want detailed information on the longbow itself you might want to look elsewhere.
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on 21 November 2006
At last... a book about the longbow that is informative, easy to read (and understand), and which isn't the size of a telephone directory. Written with a light but authoritive touch, Soar informs and entertains in equal measure. Excellent book, highly recommended.
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on 14 April 2015
as described sent quickly
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on 6 August 2015
Exactly what I expected
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on 17 April 2015
Good interesting.
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on 23 June 2016
Everything you wnt to know about the bow and archery, superb book!
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on 18 February 2011
This is a disappointment. The author has some knowledge of bows but the scientific investigation of the longbow is missing and should have been noticed by the publisher who should have seen Robert Hardy's quite excellent book in the last century. There is a bad lack of references which are always essential to scholars. The book, in short, has nothing in it which is not done better in books that already exist.

William Wallace Cunningham Scott, elenkus
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on 4 August 2013
This book is not a "robust" history, but given the sources and the rarity of preservation that is not surprising. Having read it I'm left with a sense of the importance of the long bow but I have to accept that there's a lot of speculation, especially pre Mary Rose.
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