A fascinating history, packed with eye-witness accounts, of the duel. Duelling is deeply embedded in our collective consciousness, through numerous films and books: it evokes a golden past, of gentlemen defending their honour in the early morning light of a wooded glade, of frockcoats, rapiers and pistols. Richard Hopton traces the history of the duel from its medieval antecedents in trial by combat and chivalric tournaments. Using numerous vivid accounts of actual duels, he shows how the arcane rules of the duel evolved - and why so many felt compelled to fight them, often with fatal results.
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.