The Crooked Stick: A History of the Longbow Hugh D. H. Soar

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Kindle Edition

240 pages


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The Crooked Stick: A History of the Longbow  by  Hugh D. H. Soar

The Crooked Stick: A History of the Longbow by Hugh D. H. Soar
| Kindle Edition | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, RTF | 240 pages | ISBN: | 6.47 Mb

On a clear July morning in 1346, a small force approached the walls of Caen for battle. The attackers rode to the field on horseback, banners and pennants fluttering in the light breeze. Behind them marched bowmen in tightly ranked units. At theMoreOn a clear July morning in 1346, a small force approached the walls of Caen for battle.

The attackers rode to the field on horseback, banners and pennants fluttering in the light breeze. Behind them marched bowmen in tightly ranked units. At the sound of a crisp battle horn, they halted. A twinge of apprehension rippled through the thousands of Norman defenders as they looked down at the opposing army, for precision archery formation had long since disappeared as a military concept in medieval France.

Here was not the expected rabble of unrated bucolics cowed by the might of France- confronting them was a quietly determined group of trained soldiers armed, not with the familiar arbalest, but with a new and strange weapon of great length. The defenders of Caen were about to meet the English war bow and its deadly battle shaft. For the next 100 years, this weapon, the crooked stick, would command continental battlefields, etching its fearsome reputation at Crécy, Poitiers, Agincourt, and Verneuil, while establishing England as a international power for the first time.

Although the longbow is best known for its deployment during the Hundred Years War, its origins lie with ancient Saxon seafighters and Welsh craftsmen, while today the bow is a vibrant part of the traditional archery scene. In The Crooked Stick: A History of the Longbow, distinguished historian Hugh H.

D. Soar pulls together all of these strings, presenting the engaging and often surprising story of this most charismatic stand-off weapon. After a careful consideration of Neolithic bows and arrows, the author weighs both the Welsh and English claims as first masters of the longbow- he then describes the bows use in the medieval hunt and its associated customs. The bow, however, made its deepest mark in warfare and the author follows the weapons development and tactical deployment, from the hand-bow used during William the Conquerors campaigns and the brutal struggles of the Scots, Welsh, and English to the continental set-piece battles between England and France where arrow storms launched by massed longbow archers brought death in the hundreds to both man and horse.

After more than a century as the most potent battlefield weapon, the longbow gave way reluctantly to firearms. Its hold on the national character of England was set, though, and its legend was kept alive with great stories, such as Robin Hood, and its retention as a weapon with Royal favor. In addition, the recreational use of the bow became immensely popular and, particularly during the Regency and Victorian periods, archery clubs and societies provided one of the few opportunities for men and women to meet socially. In the twentieth century it appeared as if the longbow would finally disappear into the fog of legend, but a new interest in traditional craft and expertise gained hold, and the pleasure of using this ancient instrument is now firmly part of archery around the world.Through a remarkable command of manuscript and printed sources and a judicious use of archaeological evidence, including prehistoric rock paintings, artifacts preserved in peat bogs, and magnificent finds such as a frozen Neolithic hunter and the wreck of the Mary Rose, the author establishes the deep connections of this bow to England, Scotland, and Wales.

Figures in the past, William Wallace, Edward III, and Henry V appear alongside detailed descriptions of bows, strings, arrows, and arrowheads, while the rise of institutions and craftsmen devoted to the longbow are presented to show how knowledge of this weapon was carried forward across the centuries. Today, bowhunters, target shooters, and others in the sport of archery will find that The Crooked Stick will enhance their own interests in a bow of ancient pedigree and legendary status.



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