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Arms & Armor of the Medieval Knight by David Edge and John Miles Paddock

A visually appealing and handy reference to medieval weaponry

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Arms & Armor of the Medieval Knight by David Edge and John Miles Paddock
One of the most frequent lures for the average reader into the medieval world is that of the knight in armor. It's hard to resist the vision of a mounted warrior in mail or plate, hoisting a banner or swinging a mighty sword. For those of us not content to settle for the Hollywood version of the men who led and followed, fought and died, and rode into history in the name of crown and country, this informative work by David Edge & John Miles Paddock is the best place to start learning the facts.

The authors follow the evolution of the European knight from his misty origins in the eighth century to the pomp and glory of the sixteenth. Through the use of numerous photographs of surviving armor, illuminated manuscripts, statues, tapestries, and other physical evidence of the past, they provide the reader with a clear and fairly accurate picture of how the knight would look at various stages of history and what weapons he would wield.

There is plenty of background material and explanatory text to help you pinpoint armor styles through the ages and understand how various weapons were used. The book is conveniently organized by era, with individual chapters for the 11th through 16th centuries. There is also a chapter on tournaments, an appendix on armor construction, and a glossary of armorial terms. All this makes for a very handy reference, one we could hope film-makers and authors would consult for more accurate representations than we've come to expect from popular fiction.

Most delightful of all, Arms & Armor of the Medieval Knight is a visual feast. The most wonderful artifacts offer clues to armor of the past, from coins and statuettes to the Bayeux Tapestry to a carved ivory and silver "water stoop." You'll want to hold some of these treasures in your hands and feel the connection to history that the authors so admirably convey.

The book is nicely produced in hardcover with very fine glossy photos, and at 12 x 8 inches, it's suitable for display on your coffee table. Its only real drawback is that it can be hard to find, so be prepared to buy it used, place a special order at your local bookstore, or take advantage of Internet purchasing power.

Whether your interest lies in militaria, general medieval studies, or even the romantic literature of the age, I can highly recommend this work as an enjoyable and informative doorway to the past.

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