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Bill Grandy
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Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Reading list: 43 books

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Posts: 4,148

PostPosted: Mon 29 Mar, 2010 7:55 pm    Post subject: In Saint George's Name - Book review         Reply with quote

I was very excited about the release of Christian Tobler's newest book, In Saint George's Name, published through Freelance Academy Press. (http://www.freelanceacademypress.com) The first half of this book is a series of incredibly well written essays on the medieaval German Liechtenauer tradition of martial arts. These essays include discussions of what we do and don't know about the tradition, musings on the cultural context of the four guards, and interpretations of sections of fencing treatises. Most importantly, this book contains the first full published English translation of the so-called von Danzig fechtbuch, which is possibly one of the more important works for anyone studying 15th century German martial arts.

The von Danzig translation is top notch, giving a very clear read of the longsword, dagger, sword & buckler and armoured combat techniques. The language doesn''t sound broken; rather, it reads as if it were written in English originally, which is a very difficult task for any translator. It preserves the "soul" of the manuscript and remains very true to the phrasing and feel of the original language while still being very accessible to the English speaking reader. If you are an English speaking practitioner of the Liecthenauer tradition, you *need* this book for this translation, if for no other reason.

The essays are also absolutely wonderful. My absolute favorite was the first essay called "Chickens and Eggs: Which Master Came First?", which is an excellent analysis of what we can and can't definitively say about the treatise. It dispels a number of memes that have made their way across the internet which are based more on hearsay than fact and are often unchallenged because they are convenient "facts". There is a well done article on the movement paradigms between the different weapons, a look at Peter Falkner's dagger and Paulus Kal's messer, and even a series of photos demonstrating interpretations of the poleaxe materiel from the Cgm. 1507 manuscript. There is also a very interesting look at the four primary longsword guards of the Liechtenauer tradition and musing about how they may have been influenced by the intellectual archetypes of the four elements.

I have already said that anyone practicing the Liechtenauer tradition *needs* this book for the von Danzig translation alone. It is also an excellent book for anyone interested in medieval German fencing culture, as this book provides some very good insights into this that are not found elsewhere. It is very well written and I consider it a very important acquisition on my bookshelf.[/url]

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Steven H




Location: Boston
Joined: 10 May 2006

Posts: 545

PostPosted: Tue 30 Mar, 2010 11:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the review Bill. Given Tobler's previous work I'm not surprised by the positive review. Though it was nice to know more about what all is in the book.

Cheers,
Steven

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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