By the Sword: A History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, and Olympic Champions

Front Cover
Modern Library, 2003 - History - 519 pages
79 Reviews
Napoleon fenced. So did Shakespeare, Karl Marx, Grace Kelly, and President Truman, who would cross swords with his daughter, Margaret, when she came home from school. Lincoln was a canny dueler. Igantius Loyala challenged a man to a duel for denying Christ's divinity (and won). Less successful, but no less enthusiastic, was Mussolini, who would tell his wife he was “off to get spaghetti,” their code to avoid alarming the children. By the Sword is an epic history of sword fighting—a science, an art, and, for many, a religion that began at the dawn of civilization in ancient Egypt and has been an obsession for mankind ever since. With wit and insight, Richard Cohen gives us an engrossing history of the world via the sword.

With a new Preface by the author

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Review: By the Sword: A History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, and Olympic Champions

User Review  - Andrew Boswell - Goodreads

Half historical overview of Western sword fighting (with a short section on the Japanese traditions) and half the history of championship and Olympic fencing. An excellent modern treatment of these topics. Read full review

Review: By the Sword: A History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, and Olympic Champions

User Review  - Donovan Chandler - Goodreads

Do yourself a favor and skip to the next chapter if the anecdotes start to get tiring. Read full review

About the author (2003)

Richard Cohen was five times U.K. national saber champion and was selected for the British Olympic team in 1972, 1976, 1980, and 1984. More recently, he has been four times world veteran saber champion. A former director of the Cheltenham Literature Festival, he is the author of Chasing the Sun: The Epic Story of the Star That Gives Us Life. He lives in New York City, where he is working on a new book, The History of Historians.

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