Monday, March 13, 2017

Book Review: Scottish Broadsword and British Singlestick


Time for another book review...

Farrell, Keith (2014) Scottish Broadsword and British Singlestick, Fallen Rook Publishing, Glasgow

First thing that you will notice is that it is by Keith Farrell, an author whom I have reviewed before. Yes. What does this mean? It means that the style of writing is easy to read and ensures that the point which is being made is made in very good fashion without having to resort to overtly complex words.

The book itself presents a great reproduction of Roworth's Arte of Defence on Foot of 1804, this has been transcribed by the author rather than simply presenting a facsimile of the original or referring to it. By doing this he gives a clear print version of the original noting the original page numbers and using the original illustrations. This allows the reader to read what was written by the original author without having to muddle through all of the issues of the original text.

So, many people will just go straight into the treatise and start describing techniques and stances and so forth, this is not the case with this book. There is actually only a relatively small amount of the book which actually deals with "how to", just over a third, that being said, it is the perfect foundation for what is presented. This book is not just a "how to guide" but an educational guide about the weapon systems and this is more important.

What this means is that the book provides the background of the era in which they were set. This background explains how the systems of swordsmanship formed as they did. You will find that systems of fencing, especially modern sport fencing, developed out of the conditions that developed around them. If you understand the background of a weapon system and its background you can understand where this came from.

Further to this, after the treatise is presented, the author presents how the treatise should be studied. This means he gives points about how the lessons presented in the treatise can be used and what the modern swordsman should be considering when taking on this sort of study. These elements are important as the modern physiology is not typically prepared for this.

Needless to say that overall I am very impressed with this book. It is an excellent book for the beginning broadswordsman, and also of great interest to anyone who is interested in the history of Scotland especially in the 17th to 19th centuries. So needless to say, it got me twice.

You can purchase this book at the link below: