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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 2:04 am    Post subject: Weapon: The Complete Visual History of Arms and Armor         Reply with quote

Weapon: The Complete Visual History of Arms and Armor

I noticed that a few members here have the above book in their reading list. Before spending money on it please note that it is beautifully laid out with many wonderful photos and - shock - weapon weights! However the text is laergely based on outdated works and contains many many myths and pieces of misinformation. If you want a picture book then this is a very good one. If you want a reference book then this isn't for you.


Last edited by Dan Howard on Sun 31 Dec, 2006 2:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 2:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's the only reason I bought it: it's a photo book pure and simple.
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Richard Fay




Location: Upstate New York
Joined: 29 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 9:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

I must concur with Dan and Nathan; this book's text is dubious (but there's little of it anyway), but it has some of the nicest photos I've ever seen in a book. It also contains photos of objects I have not seen in any of my other books. There are some interesting and odd pieces shown alongside some of the better-known ones.

If anyone is interested in a source for photos of objects, and is knowledgable enough to judge what's fact and what's fantasy in the text, this is a great book.

Here's what I said about this book in the review on my reading list:
Quote:

This is a visually stunning book, with a plethora of specially comissioned photos from the Royal Armouries collection. It covers weapons from flint knives and arrow heads, throught medieval swords, to flintlocks, all the way to modern machine guns. The text is brief and concise. The captions usually state if the objects are reconstructions, a point lacking in previous DK books. Most objects presented are original, and the book presents many not seen in other works, inlcuding a medieval sword in excavated condition with a heraldic shield engraved in its pommel, and a dagger with an interesting brass hilt..

I should have mentioned the questionable nature of some of the textual information, but I had only skimmed the book when I wrote the review. It's not really a "reading" book so much as a "looking at" book - eye candy, if you will.

Oh, and I believe it is available through the bookstore here on the myArmoury web site, in case anyone is interested in purchasing it.

I hope this helped!

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Grayson C.




Location: NCF, Sarasota, FL
Joined: 25 Oct 2006

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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 9:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I bought this awhile a go at borders on sale for like $20. Personally, I think it was well worth the money and I enjoy all of the pictures. It has everything from stone knives to advanced sniper rifles. I'd certainly recommend it to you.
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Allan Senefelder
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Location: Upstate NY
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 10:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The same firm has put out "Battle, A Visual Journey Through 5,000 Years of Combat" with the same result. Some erronious history but visually fabulous! The close up pics of elements of a Gothic harness is especially nice. I got it at 20% off a few weeks back which makes it about $20 so no complaints.
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Richard Fay




Location: Upstate New York
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 10:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again!

I personally found the DK Weapon book to be a bit more useful than the DK Battle book, but both are visually stunning. I do think I've seen a slight improvement in the information between the Battle book and the Weapon book, but they still have a way to go before they can be considered a truly valid informational resource. Still, there was some useful information in the captions in the Weapon book, and they made an effort to state whether something was an actual piece, or just a reproduction. (I don't think they made the comment about Frankish swords being heavy in the Weapon book that they made in the Battle book!)

Here's the review I wrote for the Battle book in my reading list:
Quote:
was more impressed with the job DK did with the Weapon book than I was with the Battle book. The Battle book suffered from some of the same flaws that other "popular history" books has displayed over the years. The text contains some outdated notions, like "parallel edges gave the (Frankish) sword power but made it heavy". There is also a sword with a "reversed scent-stopper" pommel (with the wide end near the grip) that the book labels as a 12th century sword, which it clearly isn't. It also doesn't specify when items illustrated are replicas, unlike the Weapon book. The Battle book shows a "pot helm" in the section about the Crusades that is obviously a (19th century?) fake, but the caption makes no mention of that fact. Still, the vast scope of the Battle book makes it worth using as a basic resource, and it is almost as visually stunning as the Weapon book. There are some period illustrations that might make it worthwhile, and I especially like the close-up shots of a 15th century "Gothic" harness. It shows how thin the plates for the cuisses could be! If you're willing to look past its flaws, it's a decent book. This book would get a higher rating if it didn't suffer the flaws it does.

I hope this helped!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Dan Dickinson
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Location: Michigan
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with the others, this book is great for high quality photographs, but take the captions and text with a large grain of salt.
Some are not only misleading, but downright laughable, such as the Viking langsax which (even though there were several double edged viking swords on the same page) was labeled as an example of the "typical double-edged viking sword".
Anyway, it's definitely worth getting if only for the pics.
Dan
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 3:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll echo everyone elses statements. I received both Battle and Weapon for christmas. Ignore the text and use it for the photos, which are mostly excellent, other than a few dubious repros being used as historical examples.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 5:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Almost seems like a book made for the 8 to 12 old range as far as text is concerned but I agree that the pictures are great eye candy. Just the sort of book I grew up on that fed my interest in arms and armour when I was a kid but obviously written by novices as far as history is concerned using out of date research and without the knowledge needed to filter out old misconceptions from solid information: The sort of thing a writer unfamiliar with history might come up with doing a superficial and uncritical research job.

I was tempted to buy it, and I may well buy it, but a few really OFF captions turned me off. Wink Laughing Out Loud

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Grayson C.




Location: NCF, Sarasota, FL
Joined: 25 Oct 2006

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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 6:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm gonig to chime in again:

I think that you guys are holding this book to far too high of a standard. It is intended as more of a beginners guide and not an elitest top-notch always-accurate pin-point precise tool of reference. So what? it happens to be by far the most invormative book I've come across for this (my own personal) age group. it IS intended for a younger audience, people such as myself.

I think your being overly ciritcal.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 6:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Grayson C. wrote:
I'm gonig to chime in again:

I think that you guys are holding this book to far too high of a standard. It is intended as more of a beginners guide and not an elitest top-notch always-accurate pin-point precise tool of reference. So what? it happens to be by far the most invormative book I've come across for this (my own personal) age group. it IS intended for a younger audience, people such as myself.

I think your being overly ciritcal.


You're probably right but we may be looking at it from our point of view and level of knowledge and how useful it might be to us here. Even if aimed at the young beginner it should avoid gross misinformation ! Simplifying the information might be O.K.

One redeeming quality is that it might lead to a lasting interest in history and more accurate books later on.

Still, it really does have great pics. Wink Cool

Oh, since you have access to more accurate information and know that some of the information in this book may be wrong you are way ahead of someone who doesn't. Wink And there is nothing wrong in enjoying a really nice book. Cool

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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 6:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Grayson C. wrote:
I'm gonig to chime in again:

I think that you guys are holding this book to far too high of a standard. It is intended as more of a beginners guide and not an elitest top-notch always-accurate pin-point precise tool of reference. So what? it happens to be by far the most invormative book I've come across for this (my own personal) age group. it IS intended for a younger audience, people such as myself.

I think your being overly ciritcal.


I don't agree. Wrong information is simply wrong information. Abridging it for a younger audience doesn't make it correct or excusable, it only serves to misinform the audience. No one is saying these books should serve as a detailed thesis on the subject. I don't see them as being meant for a specifically younger audience either, but rather as a coffee table type book that relies primarily on its visual element. However, even if they're just going to hit the high points, those points need to be correct.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 7:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I understand the audience for this book. I also understand the needs associated with creating products for specific audiences. Take, for example, this site. myArmoury.com is an easy-to-read and easy-access Web site that digests already available information and presents it to an audience not of academics or scholars, but rather to an audience of enthusiasts. We do not take part in original research and you will find very little in the articles of this site that is not already available elsewhere. This does not diminish our value, but rather, solidifies it into a concisely targeted direction for our core audience.

I'd like to echo what Patrick said: wrong information is not of any value to any audience. It's possible to present easily readable summaries and generalized information without making it factually incorrect. Mistakes happen. It's a fact of life. But that's what leads to fruitful conversations that attempt to disclose such errors and put them into context.

I don't believe it is, in any way, elitist to expect information to be factually correct.

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Grayson C.




Location: NCF, Sarasota, FL
Joined: 25 Oct 2006

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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 7:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I still hold on tomy point of view, though I see where you two are coming from. But keep in mind that you are hard-line devotees of this era (meaning that in a very positive way Happy ) as opposed to someone who really doesn't care about the exact shape of a bodkin arrow or the size of rivets in chainmail, etc. An example of gross misinformation would be "the battle of agincourt was fought between the flemish and the ottoman empire" ehich I CERTAINLY would be mad about if something that erroneous was included Laughing Out Loud . but things like a double edged viking langsax is just...excessive if you ask me.

On the flip side though, I DO like the fact that everyone here is so knowledgable about this and I hope that I learn much more from you in the future. You are really genuine about your love for this era and your zeal is much appreciated.


edit: Hey Nathan, you posted same time I did. yes, I think elitist was a bit too strong of a word there, I'm sorry about that. I didn't really mean it in a negative context of course, and I apologize.
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Allan Senefelder
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Location: Upstate NY
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 7:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Grayson, at least in "Battle" there are mistakes of the "wrong particiapnts in a battle" magnitude. Wrong centuries sited for events is just one that comes to mind and it happens more than once, its happens 5/6 times so its not a typo. The problem when those sorts of things are done is it starts the begining enthusiast or the passing peruser off on the wrong foot from the get go which will quite likely cement itself as "the truth". While it is possible that through thier continued research they may dispell this themselves, at least from what i've seen ( and I myself have been guilty of this over the years) it takes a bit to break folks of a preheld belief. They will also tend to diseminate this misinformation to others which sort of compounds the problem. Simpley "getting it right" to begin with eliminates this and the information is certainly out there to get, the enthusiasts here have managed it all on thier lonesome. I understand the "its a launching point" idea but if the launching point is flawed is it helping or hurting?
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