The Secret History of the Sword is interesting and insightful as author J. Christoph Amberger effectively weaves history, drama, and metaphor into a compelling account of the development, culture, and social significance of Europe's ancient sword arts.Amberger, the publisher of Hammerterz Forum and consultant to the documentary "Deadly Duels," has done a tremendous job here, and should be commended for not only challenging and dispelling many of the myths that surround and plague these arts, but for doing so in such an engaging and often comical style. In my own related research, I have poured over reams of notes, monographs, and films on the "history and culture" of the sword, but nowhere has a more well-rounded, comprehensive, and concise history of the European sword and its collateral arts been presented, and with such accuracy. The Secret History of the Sword stands well above them all in breadth, scope, and presentation.It is perhaps Amberger's humility that has afforded us such an unbiased presentation of these otherwise heretofore romanticized cultural artifacts. This is exemplified most obviously in the author's omission of certain schools (such as the Spanish) from this study. For while Amberger knows what he knows, more importantly, he knows what he doesn't know. Thus, where his research is lacking he is secure in himself enough to avoid the topic or direct the reader to the appropriate sources. The result: an opus of inspiring proportions that does not put on airs, perpetuate dogma, or fill in the gaps with nonsense. The engaging duels presented as interludes between chapters, are alone worth the price of admission!