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Defending Your Castle: Build Catapults, Crossbows, Moats, Bulletproof Shields, and More Defensive Devices to Fend Off the Invading Hordes Paperback – June 1, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-1613746820 ISBN-10: 1613746822

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Defending Your Castle: Build Catapults, Crossbows, Moats, Bulletproof Shields, and More Defensive Devices to Fend Off the Invading Hordes + Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (June 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613746822
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613746820
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“You know that one book you’re allowed to have on a desert island? Take this. You’ll need it, if you're going to defend it!” —Ziya Tong, host, Daily Planet

“Ever feared that raging Viking or Mongol invaders are about to attack your home? Gurstelle eases those concerns with a perfect blend of history and how-to, from building a battering ram-proof door and a house-surrounding moat, to making an updated version of Da Vinci’s catapult. I haven’t felt this safe, or productive, in centuries.” —Mike Senese, Executive Editor, MAKE

"Some designs lend themselves to science projects and would appeal to high school students as well as general readers. Practicality aside though, this book is a delight… readers will learn some military history while having a good time." —Library Journal

“A fascinating journey for historians and makers alike. Neither of these elements are too focused on, leading to a very balanced and fun read.” —FactoryTwoFour



“Gurstelle has done the research, so it isn’t just the engineering but the history behind it that you take away… That’s what separates this from a doomsday prepper’s guidebook.” —DoItYourself.com

About the Author

William Gurstelle is the author of Absinthe & Flamethrowers; The Art of the Catapult; Backyard Ballistics; Building Bots; Notes from the Technology Underground; and Whoosh, Boom, Splat. He is a professional engineer who has been researching and building model catapults and ballistic devices for more than 30 years and is a contributing editor at Popular Mechanics, a columnist for Make magazine, and writes frequently for the Atlantic, Maxim, and Wired as well as other national magazines. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

William Gurstelle is the author of Backyard Ballistics; The Art of the Catapult; Absinthe & Flamethrowers; Building Bots; Notes from the Technology Underground; and Whoosh, Boom, Splat. He is a professional engineer who has been researching and building model catapults and ballistic devices for more than 30 years and is a contributing editor at Popular Mechanics, a columnist for Make magazine, and writes frequently for Wired, the Atlantic, and Maxim as well as other national magazines.


More About the Author

In 2011, Popular Mechanics Magazine added five special editors to its masthead: William Gurstelle, Jay Leno, the Mythbusters' Adam Savage and Jaime Hyneman, and Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds. There's a reason Bill is there along side those luminaries: His views on risk taking, combined with his best selling books have put him in the spotlight.

Media Attention
Long features about Bill and his ideas have run in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Popular Science, the London Daily Telegraph, National Public Radio, PBS, Radio Canada, and scores of other media outlets.

Best Selling Author
Now, because of his groundbreaking views and easy writing style, he's one of the most widely read science and technology authors in the world. His best sellers include Absinthe and Flamethrowers, Backyard Ballistics, Adventures from the Technology Underground, and The Practical Pyromaniac. More than a half million copies of his books have been sold, a truly amazing amount for a technology author.

National Magazine Columnist
In addition to his books, he writes frequently on culture and technology for national magazines including Popular Mechanics, Wired, the Atlantic, and Make. Online, he is a frequent contributor to BoingBoing, Makezine, and Wired.

Popular Speaker
Bill has given lectures to groups all over the world including North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Select clients and their comments are available through the navigation panel to the left.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bassocantor TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Or--better yet, try to locate your home on an island, so you can save the hassle of getting a permit.

▲ This is a fascinating book about all kinds of deadly weapons you can build, right at home! There are detailed instructions, including a Bill of Materials for most of these machinations. Most of these appear to be EXTREMELY DANGEROUS to build. If you do, please be careful!

▲ Enjoyed the description of how the various battering rams, crossbows, and catapults have improved over the years.

▲ When reading about the catapult based on "leaf springs," I was reminded of a certain safety issue related to cutting down bent trees. If a tree is bent over, and you cut it, it will whip around with tremendous energy, causing serious injury. That is, the energy is stored, just like the leaf springs in the catapult. (I guess if you had a bent tree near your castle, maybe you could turn it into a catapult.)

▲ Helpful Table of Contents showing each major weapon. Excellent biography at the end of the book, with extensive references.

▲ Very interesting book! The author has clearly done his homework. If my castle is ever attacked, on want THIS GUY on my team. I sure am glad the author is on OUR side. Wait--you ARE on our side, aren't you?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Griffon on October 23, 2014
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This is a fun book for those who like to tinker. The projects involved require different skills and aptitudes, so there is something for everyone. It was slightly disappointing that some of the devices included were only tabletop models; although the cheval de fries pencil holder was charmingly unexpected.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Angus Laird on June 26, 2014
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The easy flow and style of this book make it a fun read. But, more importantly it is chock full of useful information on historically valuable tools and technology for defending your ground. I plan to experiment with a variety of these projects and do some innovating of my own. Others concerned about preparing for a less kind and gentle future may want to consider buying this book and doing the same thing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim in California on September 30, 2014
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I was curious about the contents so I bought the book. Most of the suggestions are a bit overboard but some are right on. I'm thinking of what to put in the moat, alligators or piranhas. Can't have both.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jane Rosenthal VINE VOICE on August 23, 2014
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Made a great gift for my boyfriend who really enjoys reading about history and warfare. This book takes a historical journey through different weapons of defense and tells you how to make them. I won't let him make any of these things (and I don't think he would anyway), but it is an interesting read.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jim on June 4, 2014
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Retro defenses for retro villains. Really super book. Much fun for the whole family! Safer although more complicated than Dan Ackroyd's "Bag-o-glass."
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A book that every home owner should have ,when it comes to defending against invaders. even though the weapons are what we would say today are primitive Yet ,it is foundation of the modern day weapons ,and I quote "THE FIRST WEAPONS WERE THE BEST WEAPONS."
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By Roger Shorney on September 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
Some interesting ideas on home defense and also some history lessons!!
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