Never, never, did I imagine that dueling could be so enthralling, outrageous, gruesome, tragic, and, yes, ridiculous...Lively humor and sparkling prose. -Wall Street Journal The medieval justice of trial by combat evolved into the private duel by sword and pistol, with thousands of honorable men-and not-so-honorable women-giving lives and limbs to wipe out an insult or prove a point. The duel was essential to private, public, and political life, and those who followed the elaborate codes of procedure were seldom prosecuted and rarely convicted-for, in fact, they were obeying a grand old tradition. Based on her fascinating 1997 Smithsonian article, Barbara Holland's Gentlemen's Blood is the first trade book to trace the remarkable, often gruesome, sometimes comical history of the Western tradition of defending one's honor.

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