The Last Duel: A True Story of Death and Honour

Front Cover
Canongate, 2005 - History - 304 pages
2 Reviews
In 1826 a merchant named David Landale shot his banker dead in a duel. It was one of the final fatal duels recorded in Europe. This is the remarkable story. Two centuries later, one of his descendents, James Landale, a BBC correspondent, explains why two rational, educated men chose to resolve a business dispute by shooting at each other. Using newly discovered archives and personal family history, The Last Duel reconstructs the escalating words and deeds that led to the fatal encounter as well as the cultural, social, and economic circumstances surrounding it. In a fascinating, personal, and involving narrative, Landale paints a complete picture of life as a businessman, educated citizen, and man of honor at a time when civil courts all but did not exist and commerce was exploding. Landale interweaves the bloodied history of dueling itself, from its barbaric beginnings to its acceptance by the nobility, and goes on to explain why, in the middle of the 19th century, it suddenly lost its social legitimacy. The Last Duel is an utterly engrossing investigative history that, for the modern reader, brings to life the personal, social, and historical landscape of the time and why this curious thing called honor drove so many young men to an early grave. - Jacket flap.

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The Last Duel: A True Story of Death and Honour

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Given the subject matter, Landale (correspondent, BBC) has written a surprisingly amusing and comprehensive history of an ancestor who participated in one of the last duels in Great Britain. The duel ... Read full review

Review: The Last Duel: A True Story of Death and Honour

User Review  - Goodreads

Well-written and addresses the history of dueling as a custom quite well. I also liked the description of the story of this individual duel. Great mix of personal family history and historical analysis. Read full review

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