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Hank Reinhardt's Book of the Sword by Hank Reinhardt
Review by Steve Sawicki
Baen Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781439132821
Date: 11 August 2009 List Price $20.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Swords have played a role in most fantasy books as well as in any number of science fiction books, and yet the reader has been left with little idea of just how many different types of swords there are and how they should be used. Well, Hank Reinhardt, himself a sword master, has put together a volume to remedy that. Reinhardt's The Book Of Swords covers just about every aspect of swords, swordplay and history that any reader would want.

Reinhardt covers the history of the sword and how different metals enabled different types. He covers the difference between Eastern and Western Swords and how those differences came into play. He covers the different types of wounds each weapon gives and how form follows function. He talks about how to make the weapons as well as the social and cultural aspects that often led to how they would be used. And he talks about use as well, how to fight, how to fight for real versus just for show, and how these weapons should be used for the ultimate purpose, to inflict more damage to your enemy than you receive.

Simply, put, if you have any interest at all in swords or swordplay then this is a book that you should get and read. Reinhardt is not only an aficionado but a knowledgeable guide to the use and misuse of edged weapons. While the book focuses mostly on swords he also talks about halberds, axes, African edged blades, maces, and many other weapons from history. Typically he's using these as examples to compare to swords, but you learn about them in any case.

I found this book to be quite fascinating, after getting over the confusion with the title. Reinhardt, who died prior to the book being published, is very knowledgeable. His writing style is also very clear, simple and straight forward. His sense of humor is fannish. His final four chapters are simply without compare as he guides you through exercises, experiences, and examples on how to use many of the weapons he has described.

An excellent read and full of great info.

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