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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 8:22 am    Post subject: Polearms again... a book         Reply with quote

I just added this one to my reading list. Sort of pricey but it sounds good and might be the definitive work on the subject?

http://www.myArmoury.com/books/item.php?ASIN=9004144099

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 8:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yep, that's what we've all been waiting for.

I can't wait to get it...on interlibrary loan.

Come on, Edward Hamilton! I need this one to be remaindered for $50.

-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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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
Yep, that's what we've all been waiting for.

I can't wait to get it...on interlibrary loan.

Come on, Edward Hamilton! I need this one to be remaindered for $50.


No kidding that price tag is scary, but I'm still going to do it eventually I think.

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 8:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

OK. I'll publicly talk myself into this.

I've learned, with photography books, that great and expensive books often hit the remainder market for a fraction of their original cost. I've also learned that many do not, and as soon as they're out of print they can't be found for less than double their orignal price. So, waiting is a big gamble and not appropriate if you really need or want a book. Brill's books are obscenely overpriced because they're selling primarily to people who:

A). have so much invested in antiques that $179 is nothing

B). are buying for large institutions (universities, museums, etc.)

C). can deduct the price from their income taxes as a professional expense (curators, students, professors, dealers, etc.)

D). are sad-sacks like us who have none of the above advantages, but also have no alternative sources of information. There simply is nothing else out there like this book.

Consider that some medical journals cost university libraries $10,000 per year. There's a fine line between capitalism and gouging, but the market apparently bears these prices.

Plus, this is a European publisher. For some reason, books in Europe are vastly more expensive than in the U.S.

The bottom line is this: Most of us who are seriously interested in polearms wouldn't hesitate to spend a mere $179 to get the best reproduction polearm on the market, but that piece would tell us virtually nothing about the history of these weapons. For the same price, you can probably learn close to all that is currently known. So, I may have to just cowboy-up and spend for this book. Oh, the agony. But, oh, the joy when I get this thing in hand!

-Sean

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


Last edited by Sean Flynt on Wed 24 Aug, 2005 9:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good news! Barnes & Noble has this title for $144 or $129 with member discount. Do what I did: Buy the member discount for $25 and get 10 percent off of everything you buy for a year, starting with this essential title. I just got the book and a year-long membership for about $155. Free shipping. Can't beat that.

If you get one of these too, Russ, somebody somewhere in the publishing world is going to wonder why the state of Alabama has 50 percent of the known American copies of this book Laughing Out Loud

-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. Padgett




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That price would make Wizards of the Coast blush! Very tempting title, but Eek!
"The truth shall make ye fret."
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 10:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
Good news! Barnes & Noble has this title for $144 or $129 with member discount. Do what I did: Buy the member discount for $25 and get 10 percent off of everything you buy for a year, starting with this essential title. I just got the book and a year-long membership for about $155. Free shipping. Can't beat that.

If you get one of these too, Russ, somebody somewhere in the publishing world is going to wonder why the state of Alabama has 50 percent of the known American copies of this book Laughing Out Loud


LOL, thanks for the heads up Sean. I'll help this site out by buying other less expensive titles off the list, as luck would have it I ALREADY have a Barnes and Noble membership.

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 10:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, this is a good opportunity to remind folks that this site benefits when folks purchase titles from Amazon.com by getting to Amazon via this site. Plus, even with a discount, B&N isn't cheaper than Amazon in all cases, and they don't always offer the same titles.
-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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Eric Nower




Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 22 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 4:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:


The bottom line is this: Most of us who are seriously interested in polearms wouldn't hesitate to spend a mere $179 to get the best reproduction polearm on the market, but that piece would tell us virtually nothing about the history of these weapons. For the same price, you can probably learn close to all that is currently known. So, I may have to just cowboy-up and spend for this book. Oh, the agony. But, oh, the joy when I get this thing in hand!


So true, so true....it's just plain scary Eek!

May God have mercy on my enemies, for I shall have none.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 5:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The book looks very interesting, but I'm a little worried about spending so much before reading a review. It seems to be taken for granted here that the book is amazing, though, so I'm not sure.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 6:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean;

If you buy it soon you can give us " SCARED OFF BY THE PRICE " potential buyers a review so at least if it is exensive it will be well spent money.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
The book looks very interesting, but I'm a little worried about spending so much before reading a review. It seems to be taken for granted here that the book is amazing, though, so I'm not sure.


That's absolutely a concern and no I have no idea if it's actually a good book or not. You pays your money and you takes your chance... unless of course Sean or I buy it first and then you can let us take the chance... Happy

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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 6:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would love to have this book. It's increasingly hard for me to find books on swords that will tell me something I don't know. It's not that I'm an expert but rather that most of these books are a bit to general for me at this point. On the other hand, this one would truly tell me something I don't know, since I've never been much of a polearm guy until recently. I may have to break down and but this one some time.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Daniel Staberg




Location: Gothenburg/Sweden
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2005 11:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've located a copy of this book here in Sweden and have it on order fron an intra-library loan, I'll get back to you when/if I get it. (It's in the Royal Armoury (Livrustkammren) library so it might nog be available for an ILL.) It looks very interestign but the price is very high, bordering on ridiciously high. Brill charges high prices even for academic litteratur.

Or perhaps one of our members from Stockholm could do a quick stop at the Livrustkammare and have a look at the book for a quick review.

/Daniel
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Aug, 2005 6:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm confident that this book is the best thing available. For one thing, there just isn't much else out there on the subject. I know of only one English language title dedicated to these weapons, and it's really more of a (tiny) monograph (by Snook). Oakeshott's Ren.-Industrial Rev. chapter on polearms cites various non-English journal articles and early 20th c. books plus Blair's European and American Arms (which EO lists first in his bib). EO relies heavily on Blair's book, which is dirt-cheap on the used market. If you can't get the new book, you can learn a great deal about polearms from Blair for a fraction of the price. In fact, if you get both the Snook and Blair books you'll spend maybe $25 and have an excellent introduction to the subject (plus all the other fantastic stuff in Blair). Add Oakeshott and so much the better.

My main reason for confidence in the new book is that it's published by an academic press. In theory, at least, that means it's been well edited and reviewed by several experts in the field, each of whom has either signed off on the text as-is or asked for revisions, additions, etc.

-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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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Aug, 2005 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I know of only one English language title dedicated to these weapons, and it's really more of a (tiny) monograph (by Snook).


Yes, and it's rather horrible in some respects (though good in others).

I'll have to look at Blair sometime...
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Aug, 2005 11:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm going to look into getting this book locally as I prefer this than waiting for the mailman to ring my doorbell. ( I can pick it up at the store when the order arrives. )

If the price is close or below Amazons' I may buy it here in Montréal. If I go the Amazon route I'll go through the links here.

If I find it today I guess I will jump on it unseen and become " THE " reviewer Laughing Out Loud

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Aug, 2005 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Yes, and it's rather horrible in some respects (though good in others).


For me, the greatest value of Snook's book is its discussion, brief as it is, of how and when certain polearm features evolved. I don't think any of the other titles I mentioned has that level of evolutionary detail. Assuming the info is correct, it's good to have some sense of how the socket changed over time, etc. Oakeshott provides a technological summary but is best for the historical and strategic context.

As far as I've seen, Blair is tops among these older titles. Not many photos of polearms (maybe a dozen?), but a comprehensive intro, very detailed glossary and, in an appendix, drawings of the major types of hafted weapons. It also has a fantastic chapter on decoration, which helps sheds light on late polearms. Then of course, there's all the info on swords, daggers, & missile weapons. Tons of photos for these other weapons.

By the way, I'm compiling a list of polearms books/references, so please sing out if you have a suggestion.

-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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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Wed 31 Aug, 2005 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just got a copy of the book on interlibrary loan. An interesting read so far, but I'm glad I didn't pay $150 for it. Seems reasonably good at what it does, but not nearly as in depth as I'd like it to be on questions of polearm usage. He basically uses the same period quotations as Snook, and mostly or completely ignores manuals that cover polearms. Which is too bad, because di Grassi would provide solid support for his claim that halberd blades could cut plate, despite Schneider's test. He does, however, include plenty of artwork on the subject, which is wonderful.

He also only gives actually weights very rarely, even though he regularly mentions how heavy or light some weapon is. I can't stand that, but it is a common problem.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 31 Aug, 2005 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just got my copy, and although I'll agree that it's not the right choice if you want to learn to use these weapons, it doesn't purport to offer such instruction and is otherwise outstanding, the best thing I've seen on the subject. Fantastic photos, and not just the usual mid-distance stuff but good detail shots showing construction, makers marks, etc. Extensive detailing of available measurements. Lots of full-color plates of contemporary artwork, most of which I'd never seen. This book is well-worth the price.

Chapters
General background and forerunners
Halberds
Portage of Arms by Untitled Swiss
Possible Early Halberd Forms
Extant Examples of Halberds
Halberds Elsewhere in Europe
"Oriental" Influences
Different Styles in Simultaneous Use
Fastenings, Poles and Finishing Procedures
The Use of Halberds (contemporary accounts, forensic evidence and experimental archaeology)
Halberds: Details of Rapid Identification (13-17th centuries)
Glaives
Bills
Partizans
The Morgenstern Group
Ahlspiesse
Axes and Axe Derivatives
The Guisarme and Bardiche
The Brandistocco, Corseke and Related Weapons
Vouge and Couteau de Bréche
The Military Scythe
The Jedburgh Staff and Lochaber Axe
The Doloir
Conservation and Restoration of Polearms
The Marketplace
List of Marks (photos of 32 marks)
Bibliography (around 130 titles)

-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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