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The Art of the Catapult: Build Greek Ballistae, Roman Onagers, English Trebuchets, and More Ancient Artillery Paperback – July 1, 2004
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"Puts the weapons in context of their times." -- Sacramento Bee
"This book is a hoot . . . the modern version of Fun for Boys and Harpers Electricity for Boys." -- Natural History
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
The basic approach of the book is to cover the usages of catapults through the ages, and then show how to make a model the given type of catapult. It was interesting and informative to see the different types of catapults:
1) Tension - basically a big bow and big arrows
2) Torsion - using rows to provide the tension
3) Traction - using lots of people to pull on ropes
4) Gravity - using heavy objects, like lots of rocks
The book has a nice layout. The pictures and diagrams are good. The instructions on how to build the various types of model catapults are detailed and well written.
If you are interested in a brief history of catapults and/or interested in building some model catapults, buy this book.
This book not only shows how to make catapults of various types. It goes into the history of how the catapult was made or as it transformed throughout history. There are short vignettes about various historical subjects surrounding seizes throughout time and what types of catapults were used, what they looked like and how to build something like it using easy to but materials.
This is a fun book for the hobbyist who likes to tinker with things and how has a flair for fun projects (or projectiles for that matter.) I will buy this book when I get a place and I hope it sells for those who want to work with their kids on a fun project.
The Art of the Catapult is a fun romp....if you liked Lord of The Rings, you will like this book, putting catapults in perspective.
I built the onagre as depicted here. It can throw little wood blocks up seven feet away without touching the ground (it slides some more). In my first attempt the block would not go farther than one feet, and I realized the rope was twisting the thread in two different directions, and corrected the twisting. Tried it with different numbers and types of threads. In the end, using eight loops of candlewick, it snapped the wood where the nail penetrated. I will build a new one, using glue instead of nails, to see if it holds up better. Lots of fun!
His first two projects, have nothing to do with anything related to actual catapults. The first is two sticks tied together, and the second is the equivalent of a waterbaloon slingshot. He calls it the "Viking Catapult". Of the ten projects in this book, three of them are modeled on actual historical types of catapults. Two are sub projects, that just show you how to build parts of the catapults, and the other five are things a child could design on thier own. As the one of the other reviewers pointed out, the last project is a plastic spoon catapult game. Small children do this on their own.
Do your self a favor, and download some free plans off the internet.
I always wanted to free the Genghis Khan inside me. And when I heard about this precious book containing everything you want to know about catapults, ballistas, trebuchets and onagers I knew I had to have it.
The construction of the catapult was pretty easy. It took me less than a week to build one (and if you think that a decent siege lasts for months, it is time well spent). Of course I did not lift a finger. My own troops did it. And the baby was gorgeous.
First we tried to catapult some dead goats but they did not go far. Then we tried several two ton rocks and the result was still disappointing. Finally I discovered what was wrong. You should never build the catapult in an apartment. Go outdoors. Get a house with a yard.
With that problem solved, let me tell you it was a sheer joy to use this magnificent weapon.
No need to say that after just a few tests involving some spies we caught recently, I was pretty confident to start invading my neighborhood. Although the book does not mention it, it is customary in these occasions to let "whoever you are about to destroy" have the opportunity to surrender peacefully and avoid one or two of the usual barbaric, shall I say... bureaucracies.
But don't let that hold you down. Just because you promise, it does not say you have to keep it. No dead will ever complain, right?
Right! So... so far, I destroyed several houses, killed most of my enemies and I haven't yet finished counting all the gold I pilled.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gurstelle leaves much to be worked out by the user, but does provide some guidance for those wanting to experiment. Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Nystrom
Overall, pretty good. I wish that there were more illustrations for building, and more/better parts lists.Published 4 months ago by Black&White
OK if you're interested in building miniature models that throw small rocks. If you want to chuck bowling balls 100 yards or more, this is not the book to get. Read morePublished 7 months ago by K. Trsek
bought this for my Godson's science fair project. It was a big help in designing and building his catapultPublished 11 months ago by Elizabeth Hunter
I bought 2 of these books for Christmas gifts this year. The one nephew loves history, so I know he will get a lot out of it. He is 11. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jen