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The Art of the Catapult: Build Greek Ballistae, Roman Onagers, English Trebuchets, and More Ancient Artillery Paperback – July 1, 2004
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up–This collection of 10 working catapult projects offers a fascinating look at world history, military strategy, and physics, related with an engaging yet lighthearted touch. This historical context makes the projects all the more interesting. The working model of the Macedonian Ballista is cool, but even more so when one learns the role that catapults played in the campaigns of Alexander the Great. Instructions are clear, with full materials lists, helpful diagrams, and no skipped steps. Saw and drill are often required, along with hardware store purchases such as PVC pipe or specifically sized wood. Some of the finished results are large, such as God's Stone Thrower, a 5' x 5' construction with considerable flinging power, while a couple are smaller, tabletop-sized models that still propel successfully. Since the ultimate object is to fling things through the air, there is repeated emphasis on safety, including a first chapter entitled "Always Be Careful," an "adult supervision required" statement for every construction, and repeated warnings within the text. As for projectiles, water balloons, peanuts, and plastic cows are mentioned among "suitable ammunition," rather than the venomous snakes, cattle manure, or severed heads referred to in the historical portions. There's excellent booktalk potential here, and lively reading even for those who never get around to constructing a catapult.–Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Fascinating." -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"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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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. My army already killed and raped (not in that order) nearly anything that moved and we're having a great time.
The onager, by the way, is a little difficult to "drive", specially if its contents are in flames. But after some practice any maniac can do it.
The trebuchet, sometimes, can be a nightmare to build and test. But, hey, that fortress isn't going anywhere, right (at least not in one piece). So why not give it a try, eh?
This book is recommended!
I'm now waiting for the second volume of this delightful collection "The Art of Nuclear Weapons: Build American B61 and B83, Russian RDS-7 and a British Violet Club".
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.
Great book, clear diagrams, there was a misprint (a decimal was left out) but easy enough to figure out.
Seriously, these contraptions are fun and educational (there's history behind every single one of them).