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The Last Duel: A True Story of Death and Honour
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The Last Duel: A True Story of Death and Honour

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  45 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
The Last Duel is a compelling investigation of one of Europe’s last recorded fatal duels by a BBC correspondent delving into his own family history. Using newly discovered archives and his family records and lore, James Landale reconstructs in vivid detail the deadly encounter between a Scottish merchant named David Landale and his banker in 1826, while also exploring the ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by Canongate U.S. (first published 2005)
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Jul 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
There are two narratives present in Duel, and as perhaps is expected in such situations, one is better than the other.

The first is the story of David Landale, an ancestor of the author, who in 1826 took part in the last fatal duel in Scotland. It covers the events leading up to the duel itself, and through to the end of the subsequent trial. It's the better of the two sections, as it's more focused though it suffers from a few flaws. The first is that Landale's sources are perhaps of questionabl
Jason Pettus
Jul 09, 2008 rated it liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of what I call "NPR-worthy" nonfiction books, or in other words a book which contains all the precise research and fact-checking of an academic paper, but written in a narrative style engaging enough to score them an interview on NPR; but there's also a big problem with
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is one of my top five favourite books, very readable and (unlike many books written about periods in history) not padded out with pages of waffle, guess-work and bluster.

Duelling is a very interesting subject and not one I knew much about before picking this book up. My guilty confession was that I bought this book in Waterstones because I liked the front cover. I am so glad I did!

The book goes into plenty of detail on the subject of dueling in general but never falls into the trap of being
Barry Hammond
Apart from being a detailed account of the last duel ever fought in Scotland, the book is also something of an historical and sociological overview of the practice of duelling in general. Several interesting anecdotes emerge in the telling, including an extremely interesting one about co-framer of the American constitution, Alexander Hamilton, whose face adorns the ten dollar bill to this day. It's a fascinating book which is something of extension to Joseph Conrad's short story, "The Duel," and ...more
Michael Heneghan
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
A so so book, though it does get more interesting after its slow start.

The author weaves the history of dueling, especially the kind with guns, with the tale of the final duel in Scotland, which so happens to have involved a relative of the author, in the 1820s.

The author does include many references to primary source texts about dueling which lay out the complex, ever evolving "code duelo", which includes how many paces apart you should be, what constitutes an honorable duel, the role of the "s
Nov 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Well-written and addresses the history of dueling as a custom quite well. I also liked the description of the story of this individual duel. Great mix of personal family history and historical analysis.
S. J.
Dec 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Great writing. Interesting story. Well done.
Aug 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Interesting topic - a little too cut and dry .
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