Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Get Ready for the Winter Gifts Under $50 Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Gift Card Offer bf15 bf15 bf15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Black Friday Deals Shop Now DOTD

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by Paper Bug
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Minor cosmetic wear. Solid copy. No markings inside. Binding is slightly slanted.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Gentlemen's Blood: A Thousand Years of Sword and Pistol Hardcover – September 8, 2003

8 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
$5.64 $0.01

Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In dueling, the author of Hail to the Chiefs finds a surprisingly sturdy axis around which to connect historical figures and incidents as spokes. Holland wheels it all engagingly from the birth of jousting in the 12th century to October 2002 and Iraq's suggestion of a fight among national leaders rather than a war with the U.S. Her arguments about duels surviving in professional sports and business ventures are persuasive, but her anecdotes and digressions carry the narrative. Besides accounts of such famed duel winners as Jim Bowie-or losers, like Alexander Hamilton-she describes astronomer Tycho Brahe getting his nose sliced off, artist Caravaggio slaying a victorious tennis opponent and writer Alexander Pushkin canceling a gunfight in progress because of a snowstorm. Holland also uncovers unknowns with equally remarkable stories, the funniest of which depicts a battle between a man and a dog that "suspected" him of killing its master. Alas, Holland focuses more on the sport of dueling than its messy results. Although she claims duels left a third of their participants dead or seriously injured and that they were "hard on the widows and orphans," she fails to explore the bloody consequences in detail. And while some of her wistful ideas about gentlemen no longer being manly have merit, others, like honor being as antiquated as throwing "virgins down volcanoes," are overwrought. Perhaps the definitive work on dueling remains to be written, but until it arrives, this makes for a fun, fitfully enlightening ride.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Any Neanderthal can avenge an affront, but killing with style requires a true gentleman, steeped in manners, skilled at arms, and valiant in honor's defense. But as Holland reveals in her jocose journey through the dormant custom of dueling, gentlemen would duel at the drop of a hat. Vegetable seeds were at the nub of a duel Sam Houston fought, a typically disproportionate playing out of cause and effect. This aroma of the ridiculous wafts through Holland's cheeky essay. She also makes sport of another aspect of the fine art of running a sword through a man--the way Americans took to aping their Old Country betters, debasing the noble duel with blunderbusses and bowie knives. Maybe the duel fell away because it couldn't coexist with democracy, but it bequeathed stories and victims aplenty for this humorous history of dueling. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (September 8, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582343667
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582343662
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,906,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I find myself wondering if were dueling still legal whether someone would challenge the author for casting aspersions on the practice.
All jokes aside, "Gentlemen's Blood" is a witty and engaging look at a social custom that seems incomprehensible in the late 21st century. Reading it, I could only think of how many stupid things are done in the name of honor and manhood.
I disagree with the negative comments about this book. I don't think the author is a "hack," and I don't think that she spares the readers descriptions about how unpleasant it is to get stabbed or shot. Pushkin's death from being gut shot in his last duel is a particularly vivid image that she describes.
I also think that people should not read it expecting a deep discussion about swordplay and gunslinging. The book is meant to be amusing and informative, and it certainly is.
The only criticism that I have against "Gentlemen's Blood" is that the author's thesis that modern day warfare is just dueling writ large is idiotic. In the past, some wars --particularly those of absolute rulers-- had features of duels, however, I would submit that an event like World War II or Vietnam is nothing like a duel.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rick Beyer on January 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
There's a lot to like about this enjoyable, lighthearted romp through centuries of dueling. It was a revelation to me that dueling was such an integral part of (male) western society over the last 500 years. You will shake your head at the absurdity, tragedy, and occasional glimmers of commonsense that permeate personal combat over the centuries. Barbara Holland's style is breezy and ironic. Some great moments-duelists battling it out in balloons-and interesting close encounters with dueling by such figures as Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain, Occasionally style trumps content, and there are a few passages that show signs of hastiness or sloppiness, but this is a minor defect.
PS: Teen and preteen boys will love it!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Emily S. on September 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Barbara Holland has a winning way of bringing historical figures vividly to life. For instance, our illustrious presidents are all too human in "Hail to the Chiefs," her delightful romp through American history (updated to include George W. and reissued by The Permanent Press, 2003). In Holland's "Brief Heroes and Histories"--many gathered from biographical sketches previously published in "Smithsonian" magazine--figures from Cleopatra to Elvis to Marx are re-examined with a fresh and funny perspective (Akadine Press, 1998). "They Went Whistling" (Random House, 2001) is closer in structure to "Gentlemen's Blood," in that the most interesting people and stories have been carefully sifted by Holland and served up with flair for our amused edification--in "Whistling," women who flout the conventions of their times and have Adventures, and in "Gentlemen's Blood," duels and those who fight them. I highly recommend Holland's latest work. Aficionados of guns and such equipment may be disappointed, as this is a history of duels, not an encyclopedia of weaponry. And anyone whose research methods and subsequent writing can withstand the scrutiny of the "Smithsonian" editorial board is no slouch. Enjoy the book!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Holland ends the book with the thought that dueling should perhaps be revived in society, and there are parts of me that agree, especially in circumstances where it would be better for leaders to duel rather than trillions of dollars to be spent on destruction and hundreds of thousands of lives to be lost.

”’In October of 2002, when America’s relations with Iraq were sliding quickly toward war, the Iraqi vice president suggested settling the conflict with a double duel: “A president against a president and a vice-president against a vice-president, and a duel takes place, if they are serious, and in this way we are saving the American and Iraqi people.’

He seemed to be in earnest, and there were those who thought it might be a humane and inexpensive solution, but neither of the challenged Americans replied.

Still, it was a thought.”

The introduction and earliest chapters are interesting, but the book very much does not live up to its subtitle of “A History of Dueling from Swords at Dawn to Pistols at Dusk”. The majority of the book is, unfortunately, full of what could be summarized as a historian’s version of gossip. It is so thick on history of the South, from whence the author hails, as to necessitate a cautionary subtitle that would make this abundantly clear to the reader—it is by no means a comprehensive history and does not attempt to be.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: vice for a pistol