Tag Archives: Siege

Book Review: Knights and Castles

Book Review: Knights and Castles

(article submitted for publication in December 2017 to The Phoenix,  Barony of the Sacred Stone)

Knights and Castles. Rupert Matthews. DK Books, a Division of Penguin-Random House: New York. June 2016.

Part of the DK reading series, Knights and Castles is aimed at “L3 – Reading Alone,” about the second to third grade reading levels. Each of the five chapters contains a different subject related to the Medieval times (950 to 1500 ad). Chapter 1 covers the initial wooden forts, including a nice schematic on how to build a Motte-and-Bailey castle. Combined with chapter 2, a reader gets a good idea about the evolution of castles from earthen works through towers to multi-level stone fortifications. Chapter 3 talks about several knights: Sir James Douglas, Sir John Hawkwood, El Sid, and Sir William Marshal. Chapter 5 discusses some of the most famous sieges.

Chapter 4, my favorite, is on monk-knights like the famous Templars and the lesser known orders like Calatrava. I’ve attended some short lectures on the monastic warriors and this book answered some lingering questions.

An informative book, Knights and Castles, is perfect for SCA children, though parents may want to keep it on their own shelves.

Applications: Siege weapons, history, architecture, personas
Cost: $4 cover price, available at Books-a-Million and other locations.