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Defending Your Castle: Build Catapults, Crossbows, Moats, Bulletproof Shields, and More Defensive Devices to Fend Off the Invading Hordes

Overview

A man’s home is his castle, or so the saying goes, but could it withstand an attack by Attila and the Huns, Ragnar and the Vikings, Alexander and the Greeks, Genghis Khan and the Mongols, or Tamerlane and the Tartars? Backyard Ballistics author William Gurstelle poses this fascinating question to modern-day garage warriors and shows them how to build an arsenal of ancient artillery and fortifications aimed at withstanding these invading hordes. Each chapter introduces a new bad actor in the history of warfare, ...

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Defending Your Castle: Build Catapults, Crossbows, Moats, Bulletproof Shields, and More Defensive Devices to Fend Off the Invading Hordes

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Overview

A man’s home is his castle, or so the saying goes, but could it withstand an attack by Attila and the Huns, Ragnar and the Vikings, Alexander and the Greeks, Genghis Khan and the Mongols, or Tamerlane and the Tartars? Backyard Ballistics author William Gurstelle poses this fascinating question to modern-day garage warriors and shows them how to build an arsenal of ancient artillery and fortifications aimed at withstanding these invading hordes. Each chapter introduces a new bad actor in the history of warfare, details his conquests, and features weapons and fortifications to defend against him and his minions. Clear step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and photographs show how to build a dozen projects, including “Da Vinci’s Catapult,” “Carpini’s Crossbow,” a “Crusader-Proof Moat,” “Alexander’s Tortoise,” and the “Cheval-de-frise.” With a strong emphasis on safety, the book also gives tips on troubleshooting, explains the physics behind many of the projects, and shows where to buy the materials. By the time they’ve reached the last page, at-home defenders everywhere will have succeeded in creating a fully fortified home.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“You know that one book you’re allowed to have on a desert island? Take this. You’ll need it, if you're going to defend it!” —Ziya Tong, host, Daily Planet

“Ever feared that raging Viking or Mongol invaders are about to attack your home? Gurstelle eases those concerns with a perfect blend of history and how-to, from building a battering ram-proof door and a house-surrounding moat, to making an updated version of Da Vinci’s catapult. I haven’t felt this safe, or productive, in centuries.” —Mike Senese, Executive Editor, MAKE

"Some designs lend themselves to science projects and would appeal to high school students as well as general readers. Practicality aside though, this book is a delight… readers will learn some military history while having a good time." —Library Journal

“A fascinating journey for historians and makers alike. Neither of these elements are too focused on, leading to a very balanced and fun read.” —FactoryTwoFour

“Gurstelle has done the research, so it isn’t just the engineering but the history behind it that you take away… That’s what separates this from a doomsday prepper’s guidebook.” —DoItYourself.com

Library Journal
06/01/2014
Want to be safe in the coming apocalypse? Gurstelle, author of several books of delightful destruction (Backyard Ballistics; The Art of the Catapult), delves again into historical context to help readers defend their homes. Practicality takes a backseat, however, as this is just an excuse for making more historical weapons and constructs. Thrown in with defensive moats, palisades, and smoke bombs are some offensive devices such as catapults and a battering ram. These projects range widely in level of sophistication. Instructions are balanced with historical background and many would require adult supervision. Some designs lend themselves to science projects and would appeal to high school students as well as general readers. Practicality aside though, this book is a delight. VERDICT Few of these projects would be useful in warding off marauding Huns or postapocalyptic hoards, but readers will learn some military history while having a good time. Recommended just for the fun of it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613746820
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/2014
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 125,028
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

William Gurstelle is the author of Absinthe & Flamethrowers; The Art of the Catapult; Backyard Ballistics; Building Bots; Notes from the Technology Underground; and Whoosh, Boom, Splat. He is a professional engineer who has been researching and building model catapults and ballistic devices for more than 30 years and is a contributing editor at Popular Mechanics, a columnist for Make magazine, and writes frequently for the Atlantic, Maxim, and Wired as well as other national magazines. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

William Gurstelle is the author of Backyard Ballistics; The Art of the Catapult; Absinthe & Flamethrowers; Building Bots; Notes from the Technology Underground; and Whoosh, Boom, Splat. He is a professional engineer who has been researching and building model catapults and ballistic devices for more than 30 years and is a contributing editor at Popular Mechanics, a columnist for Make magazine, and writes frequently for Wired, the Atlantic, and Maxim as well as other national magazines.

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