Wednesday, July 9, 2008

394: First book

I've finished my first book! Well, the first one that counts for the contest anyway.

It is a selection from 394.8, General Customs, titled The Duel: A History of Dueling, by Robert Baldick.

Overall, I found it a very interesting and well-organized look at the evolution of dueling over time and location. The first appearance of the duel was in Europe around 500 AD, and it was used to determine innocence or guilt in a criminal trial or a dispute. Over time, as criminal codes and judicial systems took over the role of criminal justice, dueling evolved into a method of resolving disputes, primarily among the gentry. Dueling was often officially illegal, but the laws were sporadically enforced and rarely deterred the combatants.

The book primarily focuses on France and England, but also includes a good section on dueling in other countries, including Germany, Russia, and America. The majority of the book is spent recounting famous, infamous and often ludicrous duels over the centuries. It bogs down a little at times as it recounts duel after duel, but remains a fun read, and well worth checking out.

The book is very attractive, with some nice woodcut illustrations and period paintings throughout, and even a few very early photographs. One minor criticism I had was that the illustrations are generally nowhere near the text in the book that refers to the picture.


Jill said...

Good job. You're well on your way to attaining your knighthood in geek.

Anonymous said...

So what do you think - a book every three days... should knock this out in 10 years....

You are seriously insane...

With love from your older brother