Sign up for our literacy platform for free for reading at home

By the Sword: A History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, and Olympic Champions

Authors: Cohen, Richard
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
BISAC/Subject: HIS027080, SPO058000, SPO071000
ISBN: 9780307430748, Related ISBNs: 030743074X, 0375504176, 0812969669, 9780307430748, 9780375504174
Classification: Non-Fiction
Number of pages: 560,
Audience: General/trade
Synopsis: “Like swordplay itself, By the Sword is elegant, accurate, romantic, and full of brio—the definitive study, hugely readable, of man’s most deadly art.”—Simon Winchester

With a new Preface by the author


Napoleon fenced. So did Shakespeare, Karl Marx, Grace Kelly, and President Truman, who as a schoolboy would practice fencing with Bess—his future wife— when the two of them returned home from school. Lincoln was a canny dueler. Ignatius Loyola challenged a man to a duel for denying Christ’s divinity (and won). Less successful, but no less enthusiastic, was Mussolini, who would tell his wife he was “off to get spaghetti,” their code to avoid alarming the children. By the Sword is an epic history of sword fighting—a science, an art, and, for many, a religion that began at the dawn of civilization in ancient Egypt and has been an obsession for mankind ever since. With wit and insight, Richard Cohen gives us an engrossing history of the world via the sword.

Praise for By the Sword

“Touché! While scrupulous and informed about its subject, Richard Cohen’s book is about more than swordplay. It reads at times like an alternative social history of the West.”—Sebastian Faulks 

“In writing By the Sword, [Cohen] has shown that he is as skilled with the pen as he is with the sword.”The New York Times

“Irresistible . . . extraordinary . . . vivid and hugely enjoyable.”The Economist

“A virtual encyclopedia on the subject of sword fighting.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Literate, learned, and, beg pardon, razor-sharp . . . a pleasure for practitioners, and a rewarding entertainment for the armchair swashbuckler.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Sign up for our literacy platform for reading at home

LightSail includes up to 6,000 high interest, Lexile aligned book titles with every student subscription. Other titles are available for individual purchase.

Watch the power of

Lightsail in action

×

SUPPORT GROWING READERS

Immediately Engage Students
Immediately Engage Students
Simple intuitive design has classrooms reading within minutes.
Exponentially Grow Reading Time
Exponentially Grow Reading Time
Students love the LightSail experience and naturally spend more time reading.
Accelerate Literacy Development
Accelerate Literacy Development
Students reading 25 minutes a day on LightSail are seeing 2+ years of Lexile growth in a single year.

LightSail Education is a comprehensive Lexile and standards-aligned, literacy platform and digital e-book library. Including multimodal learning functionality and featuring books from leading publishers, LightSail holistically assesses and nurtures each student on their reading and writing-to-learn journey, throughout elementary, middle, and high school.

*LightSail offers a 2,000 or a 6,000 title bundle with its student subscriptions. Other titles are available for individual purchase.