Steve Shackleford published his book "Spirit of the Sword." in 2010. ISBN-13:978-1-4402-1156-0
For the serious blade collector, sword fighting enthusiast, and overall lover of things edged, I found this to be one of the more readily accessible books concerning swords, I have read in a long time.
Shackleford has spent the past 25 years writing, and editing for Blade's Guide to Knives & their Values. He has authored thousands of articles about edged weapons.
In his foreword, Shackleford says, "Bruce Voyles once told if he did not know the answer to a knife question, he knows someone who does. Similarly,since so many of today's knifemakers also make swords, I figured I could call on them for answers if need be. I hope you will agree that the results of this book indicate I met with success."
With a 238 page count it has a mere seven chapters. It is absolutely filled with full color photographs of various sword types, with close up detail pictures. The first chapter gives a nice overview of the sword making world, and its attendant market. Shackleford then does something that most writers of a book would not do, he allows contributors to insert their technical skill into his book. Most notably by Sword Smith Vince Evans.
In Chapter 2. entitled: European Vacation-Sword Style! Evans is an award winning custom maker of swords and knives. His chapter details his travels through England, Scotland and Ireland. He breaks up the chapter with discussions on such sword types as the Windsor, Askeaton, and Drayton.There are several color photographs of such sword types as a 9th Century Anglo-Saxon sword, Evans recreated, from an example from Gilling West on display at England's Yorkshire Museum.
Chapter 3 is authored by John Clements. Clement's chapter deals with the resurgence of period accurate sword fighting techniques. Clement's explains the reality of sword fighting as opposed to the Hollywood version most have stuck in their psyche. Helping to define his presentation, Clement's uses illustrations as varied as Albrecht Duerer to Hans Talhoffer. Clement's also uses various swords from modern sword makers as examples of the types used historically.
The aspect of this book I like the most, is its ease of reading. If you are new to collecting swords or looking for a historical example of a sword, this book is very informative, without being a pure academic exercise. One of the more compelling portions of the book is a 128 page guide to sword and knife makers. The index includes, their physical address, telephone numbers and their web address if, they have one. It also showcases some of the more exotic samples of the various sword smiths listed in the index.
I would rate this book as a "Must Have" for any serious Modern Medievalist. It should be used as one of your first "Go-to-Books" when you need to answer to one of those tickling questions, you are having trouble with.
Steve Shackleford maintains a blog that can be found here: http://www.blademag.com/profiles/blog/list?user=0rkioni5rrin3
This is my first book review. If you have any suggestions or would like me to review another book. Please do not hesitate to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org