Gentlemen's Blood: A History of Dueling from Swords at Dawn to Pistols at Dusk
The medieval justice of trial by combat evolved into the private duel by sword and pistol, with many thousands of honorable gentlemen facing each other ready to die - or to kill - to wipe out an insult...more
The book is quite entertaining, with Holland’s snarky style that never lets you guess whether she admires or despises the insanity of two men leveling guns at twelve paces. She gives wonderful examples of famous...more
”’In October of 2002, when America’s relations with Iraq were sliding quickly toward war, the Iraqi vice president suggested settling the conflict with a double duel: “A president against a pre...more
You really do need to read all the way through this, the recitals of various famous duels are especially funny and often biting. THe commentary is quite dry and witty, poking fun at the participants, the attitudes and the countries involved impartially.
The social conclusions at...more
I am only half-way through. So far I'd give it an A+ on the history and the questions it makes me ask myself.
So far I'd give it only a B+ on the detailed philosophical exploration of those questions... the part that will really grab me. Or maybe I'm supposed to do that work myself... we'll see...
Writing style/prose: 1.5
Sound content and well researched but with an extremely dry approach; a shame, this is a book that could have sung with a bit more adventurous--nay, cavalier--pen.