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The Crooked Stick: A History of the Longbow Paperback – October 1, 2009


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The Crooked Stick: A History of the Longbow + Secrets of the English War Bow + English Longbowman 1330-1515 (Warrior)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Westholme Publishing; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594160902
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594160905
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"* "Splendidly enthusiastic" -Bernard Cornwell * "A fascinating study of a forgotten weapon" -Wall Street Journal"

About the Author

Hugh D. H. Soar is a leading specialist on traditional archery, including the history, design, and use of the longbow. He is the author of Straight and True: A Select History of the Arrow, The Romance of Archery, and (with Mark Stretton and Joseph Gibbs) Secrets of the English War Bow.


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Customer Reviews

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Well researched and well written.
Daniel E. Hackel
Hugh D.H. Soar's latest book, "The Crooked Stick" is a comprehensive study and presentation of the amazing history of the traditional longbow.
David M. Cvet
I enjoyed reading this book immensely, and I think that all archers, especially stickbow archers, will enjoy this too.
G. B. Talovich

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By David M. Cvet on November 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The longbow, a pivotal technical development by mankind, had influenced the survival of humankind, as well as the outcome of battles from the earliest days of the medieval period, well into the period of Tudor monarchy till the opening of the 17th century. The longbow still the weapon of the people, required by statute law to own and use a bow with regularity, the skill of the Tudor yeoman archer firmly positioned in history, so feared that at one time they were compared to Attila's Huns (the Hunnish referring to the English and Welsh archers).

Hugh D.H. Soar's latest book, "The Crooked Stick" is a comprehensive study and presentation of the amazing history of the traditional longbow. Presenting evidence of the use of archery from Neolithic rock paintings from Cueva de la Arana, Valencia, Spain, of our forebears hunting game to the application of the bow in warfare described in an account of the battle of Crecy, August 26, 1346 in the chronicles, "Chroniques" by Jean Froissart, to its continued evolution and staying power as recreational archery, promoted by notables such as King Henry VIII, the archer king, shooting with the longbow at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520 to the creation of archery societies and guilds such as the Society of Finsbury Archers to modern associations active in many countries around the world. The expanse of the book included details on a concoction used to fabricate fire arrows based on an extensive recipe that included exotic materials such as Armeniac, an earthy material from Armenia, and bay salt from the Bay of Biscay. This and numerous other historic gems are invaluable in one developing an appreciation for archery.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Fulkerson on April 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A comprehensive survey of the history of the longbow, it is laced with fine quotations, excellent sources, and wonderful insights from the author's own experience as not only an archer, but a bowyer and fletcher as well. With a pleasant, conversational writing style, he covers everything from the earliest beginnings of the longbow as a hunting weapon through the rise of the artillery, or war, bow to the present status of the longbow as a sporting and recreational weapon.

The main strength of this book is its completeness. Many books claim to be a history of the longbow, but in truth are a history of the great war bow that decided the outcome on the battlefields of Crecy and Agincourt. Rarely are the origins of the longbow and the post middle ages longbow ever considered in detail. Mr Soar doesn't make that mistake. This is probably the most complete survey of the subject you will find today.

If you know nothing about the English longbow besides what you have seen on tv or in the movies reading this book will tell you everything you want to know, and far more. If you are someone who has read every book ever written on the subject read this book also, because you will learn something you didn't know.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Philadelphia Reader on August 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Hugh Soar's The Crooked Stick provides the exact information that military historians and historians of technology need. His knowledge is broad, his sources detailed, and his writing style is engaging. Too many persons who profess an interest in military history desire just the "blood and guts," but what makes Soar's book unique and essential is that he puts this important weapon--it dominated battlefields for an extraordinary two centuries--into full context. There are many accounts of battles where the longbow was deployed--including Soar's excellent "Of Bowmen and Battles"--but what I think makes The Crooked Stick one of the most important books on a weapon published in recent times is that he fully explores its origin, its physical details and construction (surprisingly, there are no extant medieval bows, so Soar's extensive knowledge is particularly appreciated here), its use on the battlefield, its demise, and its surprising legacy. The book is full of great close-in shots of antique longbows and other bow ephemera. The appendix that discusses the medieval arrowhead is also very good. There is, like all good history books, parts and passages that might not be exactly what you want for your specific interest--there are chapters on what happened to the medieval longbow and how its characteristics were luckily preserved through recreational archery--but if you want the best resource on the longbow, this is it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. F. Ouellette on March 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A good, easy to read history of the longbow without getting bogged down in details.Some of the English terms could use a little explaining to us Americans
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Cain on February 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have just finished reading "The Crooked Stick" and have found it an interesting if pedantic history of the great English long bow (the deadliest military weapon of its day) and the general field of archery since that time. I now know more about archery than I ever did but was left wanting more. I would like to see a greatly expanded glossary and index. Soar seems to be writing to the archery crowd who are already familiar with arcane archery terms, but the general reader is left in a bit of a fog.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Hammond on July 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In The Crooked Stick, Hugh Soar provides historically sound and wonderfully entertaining information about diverse aspects of the history of the longbow. Though he gives appropriate attention to the much-studied use of the longbow in the Hundred Years War, Soar begins his book with fascinating chapters about the early development of the bow and the place of the bow in the elaborate ritual of medieval hunting. After continuing through an excellent discussion of the English war bow, Soar moves on to the less familiar ground of the development of recreational and social archery in England, including the rise of the archery societies in the Victorian period.

Throughout the book Soar maintains a pleasant, somewhat conversational style. The reader can easily imagine that he is listening to Mr. Soar as he gives a talk to one of the longbow societies in which he is well known. The combination of this agreeable tone with the well selected historical information makes for a thoroughly pleasurable and rewarding read. The Crooked Stick should be read by anyone with even a casual interest in the longbow, and should be added to the library of anyone with a deeper interest.
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