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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 7:12 am    Post subject: New book on Scottish swords         Reply with quote

An FYI to basket hilt enthusiasts...

Amazon.com has Harvey Withers' latest book listed, although it does not appear to be in print yet:

THE SCOTTISH SWORD 1600-1945 - An Illustrated History by Harvey J.S. Withers

I am not sure that it will be as "academic" as Mazansky (I doubt he will be creating a typology or anything), but hopefully it will avoid the pitfall of only illustrating the hilts! Its color photos will be a nice change from the mostly black and white images of other titles on the subject.

Jonathan
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 7:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll have to check that out. Thanks! There's also this new one, due out soon:

Scottish Arms and Armour (Shire Collections) by Fergus Cannan

Happy

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 7:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just bought the book Chad mentioned, but I'm hesitant about the Withers title. With 1,200 color photos it'd be hard to go too far wrong, but the 1600 start date leaves out the vitally important first century of the basket hilt. How do you discuss Scottish swords and leave out that period? I'd much rather have that than 19th and 20th c. Mazansky's book is frustrating, but a photo of just a hilt is still better than no photo or discussion at all. If somebody else buys the book, please let us know what you think.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 8:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good point, Sean. I hope that the 1600 date is not firm and that he discusses and illustrates 16th century basket hits, too. However, the book is not basket hilt specific so time will tell what treatment he gives basket hilts. As with his previous title, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Swords and Sabers, I will be buying the book for the photos and out of curiosity. Again, I don't think this title is meant to break any new academic ground, but simply to be a high quality photographic publication. Hopefully it is priced in the same range as ...Swords and Sabers!

Jonathan
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 8:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Hopkins wrote:
Good point, Sean. I hope that the 1600 date is not firm and that he discusses and illustrates 16th century basket hits, too. However, the book is not basket hilt specific so time will tell what treatment he gives basket hilts. As with his previous title, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Swords and Sabers, I will be buying the book for the photos and out of curiosity. Again, I don't think this title is meant to break any new academic ground, but simply to be a high quality photographic publication. Hopefully it is priced in the same range as ...Swords and Sabers!

Jonathan


It's $50 USD. That's a good deal even if its only value is in the photos. It's probably a steal for those mainly interested in the arms of the 18th c., with that period bracketed by 17th and 19th c. I'll probably buy it, if only as a companion to Mazansky and Culloden: The Swords and The Sorrows.

I'm curious about the little book Chad mentioned. At $14, shipped, and with a scholarly author, it seems like a safe bet.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Christopher Gregg




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 9:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I purchased a couple of antique swords (not basket hilts, though) from Harvey Withers about 9 or 10 years ago. He seemed very knowlegeable and a good person to deal with. I look forward to hearing you reports on his new book. I'm still enjoying the John Wallce book I purchased from Chad last month, but it looks like I'll be needing to save up the bucks for another one soon enough!
Christopher Gregg

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 1:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just bought the Withers book. Even if the focus is on Jacobite arms, it'll be good to have, and I'm sure it has at least some earlier arms. I'll report.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 6:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
I just bought the book Chad mentioned,


How did you manage that Sean? I've got that book on pre-order and I thought it was still going to be some time before the publishers release it. Was it a display item, or do you have special connections?

Does it cover medieval period (I hope) or just renaissance?
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 7:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Sean Flynt wrote:
I just bought the book Chad mentioned,


How did you manage that Sean? I've got that book on pre-order and I thought it was still going to be some time before the publishers release it. Was it a display item, or do you have special connections?

Does it cover medieval period (I hope) or just renaissance?


I just ordered it too with an estimated shipping date of the 7th. Ordered from Amazon.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 8:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I ordered mine through Amazon.com but from a third party vendor. The confirmation says "available to ship Aug. 6," which is a close match to Lin's ship date. I guess we just happened to order the week of release.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Wed 05 Aug, 2009 6:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paladin Press has the Withers book in stock!!! That's where I've ordered mine from....
David K. Wilson, Jr.
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2009 8:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Okay, mine has arrived! I have not had the opportunity to "get into it", yet, but I've glanced it over. On first glance, it looks good... lots of color pictures, full swords (not just baskets). There doesn't seem to be any new ideas or areas covered; if you've seen Culloden: The Swords and the Sorrows, Wallace's Scottish Swords and Dirks, or the Mazansky book, there doesn't seem to be anything here that you haven't seen before, really. There are a couple interesting exceptions: A section with pictures of blades, focusing on commonly-found markings/stampings/engravings, from the ubiquitous "Andrea Ferrara" stamps to the later Royal cartouches. Also a section focusing on pommels. Those were nice touches, and I'll need to get further into the book to be able to comment further on those. But other than that...?

But the pictures are real nice, perhaps worth getting the book just for the eye candy (but at $50.00 US? A bit steep, IMO). The scholarship (so far) seems solid. And sadly, it seems that the 1600 to 1945 dates are pretty much set, nothing before or after (except in passing). This includes a brief discussion on the Claidheamh Da Laimh and Lowland twa-handers. Also, no dirks.

David K. Wilson, Jr.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Sep, 2009 5:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My copy of the Fergus Canaan book finally arrived in the mail today. Looks like it covers everything from ancient history on up, but the focus is on the basket hilt era. Nice pictures - too bad its only about 118 pages long. Looking forward to reading it though, as soon as I'm finished with another sword book. JDC
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Sep, 2009 7:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If any of you are interested in this book, please get in touch with me. It's fine, but later than my interests and I'd give you a nice discount on my brand-new copy.
-Sean

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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Sep, 2009 10:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well...I wish I had waited Sean.

I got my copy a month ago and have only had a little time to look it over. However, I am impressed with the photos and layout, but not so much with the text. The non-sword illustrations were, for the most part, ones that have been around for some time, so not much new there. This is not a scholarly work and I doubt it was intended to be, but I was hoping for a bit more information. It also devotes more pages to pattern 1828 basket hilts than I would like.

Overall a good book for someone interested in Scottish weaponry but the price is a bit much for what it is, and a paperback to boot.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Sep, 2009 4:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I must say I am also disappointed in the Canaan book, if that is the one you mean. The title and the pictures suggest it is mainly about arms and armor, but really it is a history book with an arms and armor theme. There's a chapter on the Scottish smiths who made arms and armor. There is discussion of the development of tactics, quite a bit on dress, and even a section on whiskey! Nothing wrong with that, but outside of the chapter on guns there is only about 20 pages (including photos) devoted to actual description of arms and armor. And this description is general - just general definitions and descriptions of who used them - no specifics even about major museum pieces, their features and origins etc. is provided. Even the figure legends are lacking in the kind of detail that most of us want - such as find places, dimensions. I was also disappointed that it skips from the Roman period to the middle ages with hardly a mention of Viking finds. As is, this book should have been called 'A brief historical overview of the making and use of arms and military attire in Scotland'.

Still looking for a definitive work on Scottish arms and armor that covers the viking period and middle ages - one something like this but without the gaps and with another 100 pages of expert description of specific pieces of arms and armor.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Sep, 2009 5:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No, this book was written by Harvey Withers. Which one are you referring to?
Lin Robinson

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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Sep, 2009 7:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was talking about the Fergus Canaan book pointed out by Chad above. (Kind of a confusing thread, we are talking about two different new Scottish books). Anyhow, it sounds like the verdict on both is similar. I think the Canaan book is worth a read, but I had my hopes to high for it.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Sep, 2009 7:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
I was talking about the Fergus Canaan book pointed out by Chad above. (Kind of a confusing thread, we are talking about two different new Scottish books). Anyhow, it sounds like the verdict on both is similar. I think the Canaan book is worth a read, but I had my hopes to high for it.


OK... I just glossed over Chad's post. For the price it sounds OK. Think I will place an order.

Lin

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Sat 26 Sep, 2009 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just got the Canaan book as well and I think J.D.'s description is accurate. I like it, though, for the context it provides. Well worth the money.
-Sean

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