Longbow: A social and military history
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Top Customer Reviews
I found the book both fascinating and informative. I did however feel that some of the photographs could have been slightly better, but this is a minor criticism and I suppose there are only so many ways that you can photograph a bow before the photographs begin to look repetitive. The book covers every conceivable question anyone could possibly ask on the subject of the longbow the medieval equivalent of the automatic rifle.
The book takes us from when the longbow was first used, possibly 8,000 years ago, right through until the present day. It gives detailed information on how to make a longbow from scratch, showing the tools and material needed. It covers all the major battles where either the outcome was decided by this fearsome weapon, or it featured heavily in the battle and even shows photographs of bows that were raised with the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's ship of war.
I found it fascinating to read about a weapon that virtually every Englishman had to practice using at some point during his life, much like the football practice that many young men religiously attend today. Although in the case of the longbow, depending on the period in history, we are talking about it was compulsory.
It is clear that the Scottish historians have learnt nothing from this book for the reasons given: they think they know it all already; and yet know nothing. They do not study anything at depth because they assume it cannot be understood or known.
There may be a few undiscovered facts about the longbow, most of which may have emerged in the years since the book appeared. But make no mistake: this is the book on the subject. No historian knows enough about science to take this line. Well done Robert Hardy.
There is a long section about the longbows found aboard the Mary Rose when excavated. Hardy was closely involved in person as in everything else.
Is any criticism possible? Only this: Hardy gives the average height of archers as about 5ft 7 or 8, I think. His own height, I guess. In fact the skeletons of archers found in the Mary Rose were bigger, as he tells us. How was it they were known to be of archers? Because of the stress fractures in the spine, caused over time by drawing the powerful bow.
A brilliant, very accessible book.
William Scott (elenkus)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting, factual book. A great edition to my archery library.Published 19 months ago by John Semple
Fascinating but quite difficult to follow. Hardy has not got a natural writing style. The subject matter does make up for this howeverPublished on 7 Mar. 2014 by Nicholas Thornton
This was a present for my husband who had tried unsuccessfully to purchase this book. He found it to be most interestingPublished on 1 Feb. 2014 by madcat
Very informative. I appreciate the fact that Thomas Hardy, an expert with the longbow, shares his considerable knowledge and passion with those who would like to learn more about... Read morePublished on 9 Mar. 2013 by Marigold
I think this is probably the first book I have ever read whose back cover boasts a painting of the author! (Naturally, holding a longbow). Read morePublished on 30 May 2012 by T. D. Welsh
A excellent book on the history and use of the long bow. The best I've seen so far. Robert Hardy writes in an easy to read and understandable wya. Read morePublished on 5 Dec. 2010 by tinhat
This book contains a wealth of information about all aspects of longbows and it is written in an easily accessable style. Read morePublished on 29 Mar. 2009 by Gem
A really well written book which for me as both an archery and history enthusiast gave me great pleasure. buy it now !Published on 25 Mar. 2009 by Mr. P. A. Thorp