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Swords and Swordsmen Hardcover – Illustrated, 21 Oct 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (21 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848841337
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848841338
  • Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 3.4 x 25.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 439,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

This book
is truly a high quality product, beautifully
produced and with lavish illustration
throughout, many in full colour. As well
as pictures of weapons, often in close-up,
there is a wide range of pictures showing
swords being used for ceremonial
purposes, in battle and for sport. A great
read and highly recommended.
--Military Illustrated, January 2011

About the Author

Mike Loades is best known as the presenter of Weapons that Made Britain and Weapon Masters, but has appeared in dozens of other documentaries as an historical weapons expert and military historian. As a fight arranger he has choreographed fight and battle sequences (most of which involved swords!) for over a hundred television productions, plays and operas. He has also directed several historical documentaries for National Geographic and History Channel. He has lectured and written widely on arms and armour, contributing to both periodicals and books. Swords and Swordsmen is his first full-length, solo book. Although British, Mike now lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife and dogs, where he continues to work on various television and writing projects.



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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My first impression of this book was that it is a fascinating and thorough history of the most famous swords and swordsmen to grace the battlefield. The beauty of this book is it covers numerous civilisations from the ancient egyptians to the japanese samurai, and gives an insight into the culture of that part of the world at that time. There are some beautiful photos which accompany the swords or armour, and more importantly the author has presented a breakdown of the different parts of the armour or sword. I have a particular interest in norse sagas and history, and was glad to see a chapter on Raedwald the Viking king of the east angles. This chapter provided an additional support to my understanding of norse tactics in war and their culture with the sword and its magical properties. One such occassion recalls the sword Skofnung, which can if used correctly produce a serpent to accompany the wielder in battle, however in the context of Kormac's saga (to whom the author is referring), Kormac unsuccessfully wields the sword and is consequently subjected to a stalemate. Overall the sheer vastness of the cultures and societies covered makes the book impossible to put down, and i often refer to it when i have questions surrounding the topics of warfare and swords. The chapter on Henry V, the warrior king and his subsequent conquest of France, is also a fascinating insight for this era of warfare, and tells of Henry's gradual rise to the crown and victory at Agincourt. The japanese samurai Uesugi Kenshin was clearly a fabulous warrior, and the chapter relating to him and his feud with Takeda Shingen is very interesting.Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been fencing for a few years now and really wanted to expand my knowledge of swords throughout history, this book was recommended by one of my instructors and I have really enjoyed reading it. It gives a very good overview of the sword that it talks about before going into details about its manufacture, use and history. Complete with photos and illustrations it really makes each sword come to life.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
mikes book amazing
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Format: Hardcover
Having read many books on the development and typology of swords, I have finally found one that not only has fantastic information, but is a cracking good read as well. Mike Loades has taken his considerable passion and knowledge of the sword to create a work that enables everyone to gain an understanding of it's development, and the men who used them. The perfect mix of historical background, evolution of design and anecdotal experience, this book is a must read for anyone interested in the most widely used weapon in history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I apologise for posting this review long after purchasing this book. I have read it twice over the years of owning it.

I am so glad there are publishes who are willing to print books that are away from main stream interests. The quality and layout of the book is excellent. The only reason I don't give it five stars is that in the earlier chapters, there are numerous historical references, that require you to stop and check their chronological order. This may say more about my state education, rather than Mr Loads knowledge and desire to put the swords in their historical context. As the author alludes to, it must of been a editorial nightmare, to decide relevant information to include or discard.

The book is a real 'page turner' as it is written in a enthusiastic style and despite my earlier criticism of the first few chapters, most people will read it with pleasure.

If you get the chance to purchase this book, please do. It will encourage publishes to continue to print books that have have historical research and experimentation, to advance historical facts over glamorised versions of history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am myself, historian, sword collector and enthousiast. As such I am constantly on the lookout for new sources that can give me insight into manufacture, use and history of swords from various era. And it is during that search that I stumbled upon this book. Without much further research, I bought it, it did have a quite a few good reviews so I didnt think it could be a bad choice. I know better now.

I know only basics about bronze swords and early on I was very interested in what I read. Loades brings up sources and uses them to pass on info to the reader. It definitly seemed a lot better than the TV shows which he has done. Many TV shows like to 'bend the rules' when it comes to history, I even remember an advisor being hired for a movie, but never being asked a single question about historical accuracy, the studio was just having the advisor there so as to say that they had one in the credits.

But then as the book moved on to other era, it started going bad. The author makes up stuff or turns theories and opinions into facts whenever it fits the story. His theory about pulling behind a shield with a Khopesh is an example that I looked into. Yes, he has tried it in the past for TV as he stated, but neglects to mention that he did it with a steel version of the sword, which is a bit stronger than the bronze variety.
Another example would be him telling us that Roman soldiers wore their gladius on the right because it was supposedly painful to wear both gladius and scutum(shield) on the left. It was supposedly 'excruciantingly painful to wear both left for several miles(heavy equipment is always a pain to carry for long distances, hardly an argument here).
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