Books on Historical Duels
A little grisly perhaps, but this section is dedicated to books written on the subject of duelling, historical accounts, winners, losers, the etiquette and the arms.
By the Sword - Richard A. Cohen :15/11/2002
More fully entitled - By the Sword: A History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, and Olympic Champions. This book is currently on order, so should be reviewed no later than mid December.
The Complete Bibliography of Fencing and Duelling - Carl A. Thimm :10/08/2001
Considered by many to be one of the definitive works on fencing and duelling up until the end of the 19th Century when it ends. More fully titled: A Complete Bibliography of Fencing & Duelling: As Practiced by All European Nations from the Middle Ages to the Present Day(1898ish). Although very comprehensive this book is also commonly criticised for the inaccessible way in which the content is organised.
The Captains Concubine - Donald Weinstein :03/12/2001
A dramatic insight into the political and social conventions of the late 16th century. Based upon the Holy Thursday affair Weinstein's book outlines the issues of honour, family, religion, gender relations and power which served as a backdrop to the incident.
The Duel - Francois Billacois :03/12/2001
Fully titled: The Duel: It's Rise and Fall in Early Modern France. A well respected and comprehensive account.
Duelling - Kevin McAleer :04/12/2001
A sharp, often playful, cultural critique of the German duel, the deadliest type of one-on-one combat in fin-de-siecle Germany, questions what it took "to be a man". From initial provocation to final death agony, the book invites the reader into the complex mindset and protocol of the duel.
Duelling in the Old South - Jack Kenny Williams :04/12/2001
More fully entitled: Duelling in the Old South, Vignettes of Social History. This book is a lively account of the social demands upon a Southern gentlemans honours, along with necessary graces, provocations and weapons.
Men of Honour - Ute Frevert :04/12/2001
More fully titled: Men of Honour, A Social and Cultural History of the Duel. Men of Honour is a wide-ranging account of the duel and its significance, from the early modern period to the twentieth century. Ute Frevert challenges the conventional view that the practice of settling disputes by duelling had died out in Europe by the end of the nineteenth century. Focusing on Germany, she draws on newspaper reports, archives and biographies to show that duelling continued to be practised widely among bourgeoisie and nobility until at least the First World War, and even later.
Murder Amongst Gentlemen - Hugh Halliday :04/12/2001
Hugh Halliday not only describes some of the most interesting duels that took place in Canada but looks at duelling in light of our human tendency to ritualize conflicts with codes of acceptable and unacceptable practice. He also examines the steps that often led to a duel, including the public "posting" of allegations, or insults, that was frequently a part of the process.
Ritualized Violence Russian Style - Irina Reyfman :04/12/2001
More fully titled: Ritualized Violence Russian Style, The Duel in Russian Culture and Literature. In the Russian cultural imagination, duelling crossed the boundaries of purely aristocratic experience and acquired the status of heroic behavior representative of national character, as is shown in many works of literature, popular fiction, and history. This book argues that the Russian duel acquired its enduring prestige because it served to define and to defend personal autonomy in a hierarchical state that lacked legal guarantees against corporal punishment. Once made reciprocal, a punishing gesture lost its capacity to impose a hierarchy of authority and became a means of promoting equality between the duelling parties. Russian literature (from Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy to Pushkin, Lermontov, and Chekhov) carried the duel's high prestige into the 20th century and made it available to writers working under the Soviet regime as a means both to register and to tacitly protest at the totalitarian state's disregard for individual rights, personal integrity, and physical inviolability.
That Damn'd Thing Called Honour - James Kelly :04/12/2001
More fully titled: That Damn'd Thing Called Honour, Duelling in Ireland 1570-1860.
Savannah Duels and Duellists - Thomas Gamble :04/12/2001
No review available at this time.
Older books on fencing and duelling can be of particular use in classical and historic fencing, especially if written before the advent of electronic scoring equipment. Alibris and Bookfinder are large American sites. Scimitars is a UK bookshop specialising in books to do with swords and swordplay. All three sites have a fab selection.
The Duel - Robert Baldick :11/07/2001
A detailed account of duelling through the ages, numerous accounts of real duels as well as a fluid narrative that fills in the legal and environmental changes that contributed to the different styles of fighting and weapons used. A very enjoyable well put together book.
For more book reviews see J.Christoph Amberger's site, Swordhistory. The site itself is designed to provide information about his book listed above, but it also contains a number of interesting articles on the various aspects of swordplay ane EMA. It also has some nice links and a set of book reviews.