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The Complete Book of Heraldry [Hardcover]

Stephen Slater
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Nov. 20 2002
Accessible and contemporary in style, this book is a clear introduction to novices and contains much of interest to the expert. It is lavishly illustrated with newly commissioned art.

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The Complete Book of Heraldry looks not only at the medieval world in which it thrived, but at the language it used and the elaborate system of coded messages it conveyed, and its inextricable link with chivalry.

About the Author

Stephen Slater is a council member of The Heraldry Society of England and is active in other regional heraldic organizations. He has lectured widely throughout Britain and Europe on a variety of heraldic subjects, in particular his heraldic forays around Europe and his specific interest in the heraldry of Wiltshire, England. Stephen Slater writes articles on heraldry for numerous publications and has collaborated on several books.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Wide ranging survey Jan. 15 2003
Format:Hardcover
This is a very wide-ranging survey of the heraldry of the world, with some very delightful illustrations.
This book covers both historical and contemporary issues, from the need for coat armour in mediaeval warfare to modern air-force insignia.
It doesn't spend a lot of space on blazon: just enough to get you started. But it does include right up-to-the-minute information about many countries and subfields, from Scandanavia to Japan, and from medical heraldry to armour.
My only criticism: it is very light on coverage of Scotland, which is arguably the country with the best developed and most enforced heraldic code in the world.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wide ranging survey Jan. 15 2003
By G. A. Findlay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a very wide-ranging survey of the heraldry of the world, with some very delightful illustrations.
This book covers both historical and contemporary issues, from the need for coat armour in mediaeval warfare to modern air-force insignia.
It doesn't spend a lot of space on blazon: just enough to get you started. But it does include right up-to-the-minute information about many countries and subfields, from Scandanavia to Japan, and from medical heraldry to armour.
My only criticism: it is very light on coverage of Scotland, which is arguably the country with the best developed and most enforced heraldic code in the world.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heraldry... a good place to start May 2 2006
By Anita C. Challis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Republished in 2003, this book is one of the most up-to-date reviews of heraldry. It is easier to read than Fox-Davies "Complete Guide to Heraldry" and the graphics used to describe colors, field divisions and ordinaries are excellent teaching tools.

I would like to see more examples of the types of ordinaries used, however those that are in the book are excellent.

This is a good book for those who would like an introduction to heraldry. For anyone beginning heraldry in the SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism), this is an excellent and reliable reference book and recommended throughout the group
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best book for begginers Oct. 11 2005
By Joao Diogo S. Barroca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I think this is the best book I could have asked for to get started in heraldry. It is detailed, colourful and very informative, and it covers almost all topics of interest in heraldry. An excellent way to get your foot into heraldry, a must buy.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book with excellent illustations Feb. 26 2013
By Jeremy B. Blevins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have several heraldry books, but this is among my favorites due to the quality of its illustrations. It is a more recent publication than many of the "must have" heraldry books, but it has earned its place alongside them.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best "first book" out there for any reader with a serious interest in heraldry Sept. 26 2012
By Michael K. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
This oversized volume is the best illustrated and generally most useful work on the theory and practice of heraldry that I have seen in some time. The author is an acknowledged expert in the subject and this is his culminating work. There are two main sections: History and Language of Heraldry and Applications. The first section leads the reader through the origins of heraldry, notes the various ways it developed in different cultures (not just in Britain or even Europe, but also in Japan and other parts of the world), explains the official status of heraldry and the function of the herald, explicates the coat of arms in all its many facets and in enormous detail, explains the extremely specialized language used (based on medieval French), and then addresses the "messages and declarations" by which the possessors of heraldic achievements made use of them. Each of these topics is further divided into brief chapters -- fantastical arms, complex quarterings, blazonry, alliances, and so on.

The second section, which is largely organized by geography, considers royal and noble heraldry, civic and nationalist arms, the spread of heraldry to other parts of the world (especially those areas colonized or conquered by European nations), and the place of heraldry in today's world. Considerable attention is also given late in the volume to the art of heraldry, the modern design of arms, the gradual replacement of arms by logos, and the use of heraldry as a political weapon.

Every glossy page provides well-written and accurate text, but at least half of each page is taken up by full-color heraldic paintings, photos of badges and other regalia as well as people making practical use of arms, and technical drawings and charts explaining the elements of an achievement and the descent of arms. In many of its sections, especially state and civic heraldry, the choice of illustrations is necessarily limited to a representative selection, but they are more than adequate to make the author's point. While there are a number of technical and classic works in heraldry which the specialist might regard as earlier purchases, this volume is the one I would choose if I were looking for a gift for someone with a general interest in the subject.

NOTE: This work is to be preferred to _The History and Meaning of Heraldry_ by the same author, and also published by Hermes in 2004. The later work appears to be only half the length of the title under discussion, even though the publisher says it was "previously published" as _The Complete Book of Heraldry_. Note also that the identical complete text appears as the second half of _The World Encyclopedia of Flags and Heraldry_ (Hermes, 2007), sharing the volume with Znamierowski's excellent _World Encyclopedia of Flags_. The _Complete Book_ was republished without apparent alteration in 2010.
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