2017 was a fantastic year for me in that I found out a huge amount about my family history. While we haven’t managed to track it all back, there are people with my surname on the lists at Agincourt and Crecy. One was a Longbowman for Henry V Army at Agincourt.
When I found this out, I was mad excited and then spent the last eight months trying to find somewhere local that I can go and try firing a Warbow. Sadly I am still looking even though there are lots of groups, apparently.
Imagine my excitement then when Pen and Sword Books sent me a copy of “How to shoot a Longbow” to review. It is still on preorder on their website right now.
Having now read the book, I feel a closer appreciation of the art of the Longbow and my ancestors. I also want to pick up a Warbow more than ever. But I already have expensive hobbies. I also found out that I am a toxophilite – a lover of archery.
This is not Hugh’s first book on the Longbow but feels like it is a gateway book into the hobby and provides a rich tapestry of history surrounding the longbow.
Most school children will know the story of Agincourt, but this will give the reader a much greater appreciation of this martial skill.
While we know archery dates back thousands of years, most of the resources in the book cover the period from the 1400’s to today. So it covers a lot of history.
Hugh has interwoven that history with instruction seamlessly, and this is not a simple dry instruction manual.
I have not read the late Robert Hardy book on the Warbow, but feel it will come to be held in the same regard.
There are lots of detailed references to older books and manuscripts, and this is what I love. This gets over the ‘why do it like this’, or ‘why do it like that’.
Today we can’t truly replicate the situations that these bows were used at scale. So it is good to get various historical perspectives to give the reader the ability to pick what makes sense to them.
There are also some great photos on manuscripts and modern images of postures and techniques.
It took me a few days to read the book, due to the holidays more than anything, but I also found myself dipping in and out at random pages and was always amazed at the amount of detail and facts in the book. I shudder to think how many books were referenced in writing this book.
I have a greater appreciation of arrow slingers now than I did before as well as a deeper understanding of the Longbow. If you currently take part in modern archery, you might want to take a look at this book. If you are a re-enactor, this book is a great way to immerse yourself in the history of the Longbow. It is also small enough to take on shows with you and squirrel away to help boost your knowledge. This book will help re-enactors with reference no end.
Right, I’m off to find someone who can lend me a Longbow…
You can buy the book on Amazon
Please note I was not paid to write this review but was sent a review copy of the book. All comments are my own and the publishers have not amended the review in any way.