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Man of War: My Adventures in the World of Historical Reenactment Hardcover – May 24, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"Man of War is an unexpected treat!  I was enamored of Charlie Schroeder's travelogue through the subculture of reenactment and fascinated by his modern take on ancient warfare.  (Who knew the proper buttons were so important?)  They say war is Hell, yet this book is a heck of a lot of fun." —Jen Lancaster, New York Times bestselling author of Jeneration X, If You Were Here, and Bitter is the New Black

"A hilarious romp through 2,000 years of history, one forced march at a time."—J. Maarten Troost, author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals

About the Author

CHARLIE SCHROEDER is a writer, public radio producer, and actor. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Reader's Digest, and Los Angeles Times as well as in Best American Sports Writing 2006. Radio stories he has produced have been featured on NPR, including Weekend America, Only a Game, On the Media, and Soundcheck. He lives in Los Angeles, California. Visit

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hudson Street Press; First Edition edition (May 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594630917
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594630910
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,338,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Charlie Schroeder shares the same birthday as Harvey Korman, Matt Groening and the adult film star Arnold Schwartzenpecker. If that doesn't tell you all you need to know about him, well, then read on.

He's written for the NY Times, LA Times, The Daily, The Week, The Huffington Post, Readers Digest, Hemispheres and Modern Humorist. A story he once wrote about people who fish golf course water hazards was selected for inclusion in the Best American Sports Writing.

As an actor, Schroeder has appeared in the films 13 Conversations About One Thing, Whatever, Blackmale, Never Again and Strange Fruit; the TV shows Ed and Sex and the City; and onstage with Elevator Repair Service, The Civilians, The Ridiculous Theatrical Co. and many others.

For public radio Schroeder has produced segments for the programs Only a Game, The Next Big Thing, Weekend America, Soundcheck, Day 2 Day, Performance Today and On the Media.

He lives on a congested island in the South China Sea with his wife, Wendy, and her two cats.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on July 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kudos for Charlie Schroeder discovering his "inner history nerd" and igniting a desire within himself to learn about a past that he dismissed during his school years. The author's journey from ignorant to learning is impressive and speaks to the potential everyone has to discover new joys of learning whatever one's age.

Unfortunately, Schroeder is a very uneven writer. The good parts of the book are the author's immersions with various historical reenactor groups and the people he meets who portray everyone from Romans and Vikings to American soldiers from our wars up to and including the Vietnam era. He does the technical aspects of reenacting well and gives as good a view for an outsider of what it is like for a newbee (first time reenactor) to join in a weekend's worth of marching, camping and faux-fighting as he and his comrades imagine themselves at places as diverse as Stalingrad, a Roman Fort, Civil War battlefield and a US Vietnam era firebase.

The parts that felt forced or flat for me were the author's side remarks. He has a tendency to slip into sophmoric comments and for me these interfered with the flow of the book. Injecting humor and funny asides in "real-life" books can be done well and is by the likes of Bill Bryson and Tony Horwitz. Schroeder's efforts seem more to be a reflexive jump back to his inner seventeen year old rather than the humor one finds from a mature wit.

There are many interesting parts of the book. His description of his weekend spent rowing as a bateaux-man with a crew reenacting a French and Indian War era barge movement and the physical toll that entails shows the breadth of difficulty of some reenacting experiences.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By John C. Ketcherside on August 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Charlie Schroeder's book Man of War has one great advantage to it in that it is one of very few, one of a mere handful, of books about its topic. Very little has been written about reenacting or living history, so his book is a welcome addition.
Unfortunately, aside from rarity of subject, it is not exceptionally good. In full disclosure, this reviewer is a reenactor, so I may be biased somewhat against some of his opinions, but accuracy and opinions were not his only issue. Even non-reenactors will at worst have problems with the book, at best they will be led astray.
His decision to research and write this book came from his attendance at living history event that featured displays from across history. Being curious about the people who would dedicate so much time and resources to such an esoteric hobby, he decides to embark on an ambitious journey, participating in as many different reenacting events in as many time periods as he can in the course of a year. In doing so, he presents a wide variety of hobbies, historical periods, and people. His events include public displays and private events. The best thing about the book is that if you are interested in the topic, each period gets a full chapter, so the reader can see the variety of periods, events, and get to know some of the people involved to a small degree. If someone is thinking of getting into the hobby, this book is the best thing, after the internet, to serve as an introduction. And he covers a good sized breadth of history, from Ancient Rome to the Vietnam War.
If you are a reenactor, however, you will walk away shaking your head at his lack of real depth.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jim Broumley on July 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Picking up on the idea from Tony Horowitz' "Confederates in the Attic," Charlie Schroeder travels around the country visiting and participating in historical reenactments from different time periods, including Roman, Colonial, Civil War, WWII, and Vietnam. I did chuckle a few times but overall I think that the author thinks he is funnier than he is. Actually, he came off as rather elitist. Charlie decided that most reenactors are right-wing nutcases and went about trying to prove it by relating quite a few strange comments on politics that he heard while he was on his year-long adventure. Charlie doesn't "get it," therefore he decided to just mock it. He seems to have cherry picked the oddest and strangest among this group of history fanatics in his attempt to prove the myth that they are all a bunch of crackpots. I'm very disappointed that he never got down to some serious Q & A with his victims to tell me why they do what they do and what it means to them. The book served to document a succession of missed opportunities, after having devoted so much time and money traveling around the country. His circus stunt "history ambush" walk between the two California missions in the last chapter was just idiotic. Charlie doesn't talk about the positives of reenacting, like turning people of all ages on to history in a real first person way. You know, like those living historians did for him at Old Fort MacArthur Days as he describes in the beginning of book. He has done a great disservice to those living historians whose main goal is to educate the public, rather than just play dress up. Don't judge the living historians you encounter at state and national parks based on what you read in this book.
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