HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Medieval Combat: A Fifteenth-Century Manual of Swordfighting and Close-Quarter Combat
Author: Hans Talhoffer
Publisher: Greenhill Books, republished in 2006
ISBN-13: 978-1853677069 (hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0760780110 (hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1853675829 (paperback)
ISBN-10: 1853675822 (paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Of interest primarily to older teens and adults
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Talhoffer, Hans. Medieval Combat: A Fifteenth-Century Manual of Swordfighting and Close-Quarter Combat (published in 2000 by Greenhill Books; republished in 2006 by Barnes and Noble Publishing.) This was another book related to the Middle Ages which we found on the bargain table at Barnes and Noble when obtaining books for our older son Mark’s sophomore study of Medieval Europe for world history. Swordfighting in the middle ages was not the hacking, blade-on-blade, ring of steel kind that is so often portrayed in films and on stage. It involved footwork, avoidance, and the ability to judge and manipulate timing and distance to exploit and enhance the sword’s inherent cutting and thrusting capabilities.
Hans Talhoffer wrote the original work, entitled Fechtbuch (“Fight Book”) in 1467 in Swabian, a German dialect. The modern edition was published in 1998 by VS-Books of Herne, Germany. It was translated into English and edited by Mark Rector. The vast majority of the book consists of nearly full-page pictures of medieval combatants with short explanations of what is being illustrated and how it is being accomplished. In addition to fighting with the great sword, the book contains instructions for wrestling, the long sword, pole-axe, dagger, sword and buckler, and mounted combat. Anyone interested in reenacting the combat techniques of the Middle Ages, whether in Renaissance festivals or just in play, would find this book interesting.