Top positive review
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Interesting little book
on 6 January 2012
This book will most likely be purchased by fans of Conan-Doyle's most famous character, or by those looking for a small gift for those who love their Holmes. However, it has a somewhat wider appeal, particularly to those interested in the development of western, or at least westernized, martial arts.
The text and pictures / drawings appears to be an amalgamation of two articles written for Pearson's Magazine by E. W. Barton-Wright on his 'new' system, which was largely a combination of basic jujitsu holds and grappling combined with some practical stick-fighting techniques, suggestions of how to use a bicycle as a practical aid to self-defence, and interspaced with a handful of select quotations from Conan-Doyle's Holmes cannon. Books of this kind were very popular in the final decade of the 19th century and early 20th century, a good example being 'Broadsword and Single-Stick' by R. G. Allanson-Wynn & C. Phillips-Wolley, and 'The "Walking Stick" Method of Self-Defence' by Mr. H. G. Lang. It reads in a very similar way, and is quite entertaining, while certainly providing a useful additional insight into the contermporary late Victorian and Edwardian life and environment, and the kind of fighting methods Conan-Doyle had in mind for his character. Although this is perhaps the selling point and main object of the book, it should be noted that what it describes remains quite practical. Granted, relatively few able-bodied men or women carry walking sticks in the 21st century, which reduces some of the value of the sections on stick use, but they are still interesting to read, and retain a certain indirect interest and use.
The book itself is beautifully presented; the hardback covers are of good quality, with chamfered corners, and a nice maroon cloth spine. The paper and print are of equally good quality, while the presumably reproduced pictures are as clear and well defined as could be hoped for. Well worth buying.