Pistols At Dawn
A history of duelling
By Richard Hopton
A fascinating new history of the duel, packed with eyewitness accounts
After the gross and unjustifiable insults you have offered me both as a soldier and a gentleman, I conclude you must be prepared to give me that satisfaction I am entitled to. I am therefore to request that you will name a place and hour of meeting.'
So runs a typical challenge to a duel from the early 19th century; formal, polite - and potentially fatal. Duelling is deeply imbedded in our collective consciousness, through numerous films and novels; it evokes a golden past, of gentlemen defending their honour (or that of their wives) in the early morning light of a wooded glade; of frockcoats, rapiers and pistols.
From the duel's roots in medieval chivalric tournaments, to the unforgiving code of honour in which death was preferable to shame, this fascinating history recounts - with the aid of numerous vivid eye-witness accounts - all the drama and sheer terror of the duel.
Richard Hopton was a barrister before becoming a full-time writer; he is the author of The Battle of Maida 1806 (Leo Cooper). He lives in Fulham.
- Other details
- Publication date:
20 Jan 2011
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A fluent and entertaining history of the practice of duelling — THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
A learned, absorbing account of duelling — LITERARY REVIEW
A compelling account of this bizarre tradition — GOOD BOOK GUIDE