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Books

More Archery Book Reviews

Looking for more great archery-related reads? You've found 'em here!

 

Clare offers a few more archery books to keep you shooting through the pages. . . . 

The photos below are linked to their books' Amazon (or other sales) pages (when available). 

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Wild Adventure

By Howard Hill

For anyone who loves old-school hunting yarns, Howard Hill’s memoir Wild Adventure delivers epic animal battles, descriptions of rugged horizons, and bow-and-arrow glories galore. 

 

While Hill’s reminisces flow from another time (one with less sensitivity toward certain elements), they should quicken the heartbeat of readers who have thrilled at Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon or yearned for the woods in his Nick Adams stories. Hill and his cohorts (including his wife Elizabeth [Libba], who was some nine years his senior and an expert behind the bow in her own right) qualify as top-drawer, bad-@$$, old-school swashbucklers. Hill rode to the hounds in Florida, lassoed cougar and bear out West, bow-fished grouper and shark underwater, and bowhunted boar on Catalina Island. (As a modern foil for Hill, I’d recommend a gander at When the Killing’s Done, T.C. Boyle’s wonderfully critical and complicated exploration of environmentalism and ecology set against the backdrop of the Channel Islands, off California’s southern coast. That book, and the short TV series West of the West: Tales from California’s Channel Islands, explore the history and ecology of Catalina and her sister islands and provide deeper insight into the setting of some of Hill’s adventures.) 

 

For anyone who likes to fling arrows by day and get flung into book pages by night, Hill’s compendium seems to qualify as a classic, as this observation from Hill proves:

 

“Any sensible person, I know, would have been satisfied after three weeks of thrills and spills, but a dyed-in-the-wool hunting archer is almost never really sensible ….”

The Walking Drum

By Louis L'Amour

Sure, Louis L'Amour is known for his sprawling tales of the American West, but in The Walking Drum, he takes readers to another world of rugged fighters on the edge of a frontier . . . that of twelfth-century pirates, merchant caravans, and clandestine students with secrets to hide in Moorish Spain. Waxing historical, Mr. L'Amour extolls the lights of old Cordoba, turns readers loose to battle a khan near the Black Sea,  and leads his audience in search of the young swashbuckler Kerbouchard's kidnapped pirate father. While the pace may feel slightly slow in places, fans of medieval fiction and a little archery derring-do will find in this novel lots of fun history, ample adventure, and splashes of romance to keep their literary field points sharp. 

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Friday Night Lights:

A Town, a Team, and a Dream

By H.G. Bissinger

Friday Night Lights.heic

Archery is a sport . . . a tough sport . . . an Olympic sport . . . a lifetime sport . . . a sport that demands excellence from its top practitioners. Examining how sport as a whole fits into broader American culture . . . and how America reacts to, supports, struggles with, and celebrates sport allows archers to better situate themselves within America's athletic tradition. With this perspective in mind, Bissinger does an excellent job of exploring the vagaries of West Texas football fortune in the '80s and one community's interaction with that fortune. 

The book examines a single high-school football season (namely that of the Permian High School Panthers in 1988), but it also delves into a much broader history, into racial tensions, into issues of government and local politics, and into what it means to be a young athlete in America. For archers interested in comparing their sport to more popular/"mainstream" sports, and for parents willing to scrutinize what teenaged athletic competition truly demands, the book offers a packed line of scrimmage.  

Picasso's War: How Modern Art Came to America

By Hugh Eakin

Picasso’s War: How Modern Art Came to America by Hugh Eakin (2023) may not sound like a book that would include anything archery related, but in digging into modern art, early twentieth-century America’s response to avant-garde expression, and the effects of two world wars on the arts, Eakin touches on the advent of camouflage … and the role of artists-turned-soldiers fighting for France in WWI in camouflaging equipment and artillery with cubist-like designs. For example, French artist Andre Dunoyer de Segonzac was assigned to the Section de Camouflage, disguising French guns. (Apparently, the Germans also saw the value of artists in designing camouflage. German Expressionist Franz Marc painted tarpaulins to mimic nature patterns, applying what he’d learned from Monet and Kandinsky. Paul Klee painted lozenge patterns on German biplanes to make them blend into the sky.) Going beyond camo, Eakins also gives very brief mention to William Tell killing the Austrian tyrant Albrecht Gessler with a crossbow to inspire a movement  toward Swiss independence in the fourteenth century.
 

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