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The Deadliest Men: The World's Deadliest Combatants Throughout the Ages Paperback – September, 2001
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About the Author
Paul Kirchner has been a writer and illustrator for more than 25 years. His work has appeared in publications ranging from Marvel comics to the Wall Street Journal to Paladin author Jeff Cooper's books.
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Top Customer Reviews
Only honorable fighting men were considered, men who fought face to face in single combat, or against multiple opponents. I included no one who preyed on the defenseless. I wanted variety--only so many fighter pilots or western gunfighters. I wanted to cover as much history and geography as possible, and to feature masters of many individual combat systems--the fist, the spear, the sword, the pistol, the rifle and the fighter plane. I didn't include anyone who didn't fight for blood, whatever the level of prowess he may have demonstrated--no dojo warriors or IPSC champs. I wanted a mixture of familiar and obscure figures, and their stories had to have enough detail and drama to make for good reading.
Are these, strictly speaking, "The Deadliest Men"? That's debatable, but they're the most interesting, most impressive fighting men I could find, each distinctly different, and I'm confident each has a seat at Valhalla's head table.
The entries are:
Alexander the Great
Gregory "Pappy" Boyington
Delf A. "Jelly" Bryce
Lloyd L. Burke
Winston S. Churchill
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Gurkhas: Jitbahadur Rai, Dwansing Basnet, Lachhiman
Erich Hartmann & Hans-Joachim Marseille
Wild Bill Hickok
"Turkey Creek" Jack Johnson
Charles E. "Commando" Kelly
José "Pepe" Llulla
Bat Masterson & Luke Short
Robert the Bruce & the Black Douglas
Hans Ulrich Rudel
Alvin C. York
I have been a writer and illustrator for over 25 years, my work appearing in publications ranging from Marvel comics to the Wall Street Journal. My previous books include "Forgotten Fads and Fabulous Flops"; "Everything You Know Is Wrong"; "Oops!" and "The Big Book of Losers." My graphic work was anthologized in "Realms" and "The Bus", and I illustrated four of Col. Jeff Cooper's books.
Inspired by my lifelong fascination with warriors and weaponry, I spent five years researching and writing "The Deadliest Men."
In an era when masculinity has become suspect and courage is seen as psychopathology, it is a fine thing to read about men who refused to surrender their honor for the illusion of safety. Men for whom the concept of duty was inviolable and for whom courage was central to their being.
The author knows how to tell a grand tale. He avoids the temptation to engage in melodrama or psychological interpretation. I had to ration myself to reading just a few chapters at a time, the temptation was to race through the book.
My only complaint is that this book should have been presented in a hardback edition. I know I will be rereading this book from time to time for years to come.
To be sure, this book will give great pleasure simply as remarkable tales of remarkable people. However, I believe this book would be useful in the character education of any young man or women. The fact that not all of the people included are "nice guys" adds a depth that can be used to fully explore the nature of such characteristics as honor, duty and courage.
-Gregory Boyington, the hard-partying, irreverant, and hell-raising Marine Corps fighter-ace of World War II, who flew for the Flying Tigers, and also founded the famous Black Sheep Squadron.
-Delf Bryce, probably the deadliest gun-fighter the FBI ever had, the quintessential G-Man of the 1930s.
-Ty Cobb: I thought, what is a baseball player doing in this book?...then I read about what a savage brawler he was, straight out of an R.E. Howard pulp-novel! Conan would be proud!
-Peter Francisco, a giant in Washington's army, who was a one man army himself! A man so strong, he carried an artillery piece off the battlefield so the British wouldn't capture it! Heres a patriot who needs a monument!
-Jean Louis, a Haitian swordmaster in Napoleaon's army, who originally found himself harassed because of his nationality. Nobody harassed him when he demonstrated his skill with the blade.
-Jose Llulla, another master swordsman: A gentleman from Spain who became a famous duellist in 19th century New Orleans.
-Takeda Sokaku, a 20th century samurai and master of the martial-arts, one of the last true exponents of Bushido. Although he would likely have been happier in Japan's Age of Wars, he found plenty of action in our time!
-Egil Skallagrimson, one of the most savage Vikings ever, he survived a lifetime of feuds with Norway's King Eric Blood-axe. No matter how many warriors the king sent to eliminate Egil, the body count kept rising! Egil died of old age on his farm in Iceland.
-Nancy Wake, an Australian volunteer in the French resistance in World War II, and later an agent in the Special Operations Executive. There were a number of deadly female agents such as herself that should be more well-known.
Aside from these, read about the heroic exploits of young Winston Churchill, or James Bowie, Wild Bill Hickok, Robert the Bruce, and Miyamoto Musashi. Included within are accounts of three Luftwaffe aces Hartmann, Marssielle, and Rudel, and other famous aviators. You will find the exploits of Shaka Zulu and his champion Mbogozi, or Geronimo, in his prolonged fight against Mexican and U.S. soldiers.
Some of these people fought for their nation in war, some for survival, for enforcement of the law, or for personal honor. Some of them..just liked to fight! Its an essay on the value of bravery, self-reliance, and the will to win!