By the Sword: Gladiators, Musketeers, Duelists, Samurai, Swashbucklers and Points of Honour

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9780330482295: By the Sword: Gladiators, Musketeers, Duelists, Samurai, Swashbucklers and Points of Honour
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Though fencing is seen as a graceful and noble sport, it is not without its seamy sides. By the Sword traces the darkness behind the mask, from the sport's early brutal days to the more civilised, yet no less dangerous, days of duelling and then to the present day. Abraham Lincoln, Karl Marx and Mussolini were all involved in duels, Hitler gave fencing a special emphasis in his regime and the best fencer the world has ever seen was an anti-Soviet spy. Cohen delves behind the headlines exposing lurid tales of cheating and blackmail, of murder and strange love affairs, the honour and dishonour of swordmanship and its cultural side from The Three Musketeers to Star Trek. Above all the book portrays the character of fencing - at once graceful, balletic, rough, technically beautiful and fiercely competitive.

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By the Sword 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 co... Full description

Review:

'Carefully researched and written with sense and wit . . . it's not often you come across a man equally at home with both sword and pen' --Sunday Telegraph

'An endlessly engrossing history of the sword and those who wielded it . . . Cohen's pen is equally as mighty as his sword'
--Independent on Sunday

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