Book Review - The Deadliest Men
Vignettes of heroic combatants throughout history.

Author: Paul Kirchner
Publisher: Paladin Press, 2001
paperback, $25.00

cover of The Deadliest Men
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Paul Kirchner made a name for himself as the illustrator of many of Col. Jeff Cooper's books. In The Deadliest Men he shows off his writing skills with exciting, action-filled vignettes about history's most deadliest fighters.

The Deadliest Men is a collection of short biographies, each profiling the life and adventures of a famous (and in some cases, not-so-famous) combatant. Each person (as some of these "Deadliest Men" are women) persevered in personal combat.

In 44 chapters, Kirchner takes the reader from antiquity (Alexander the Great) to the modern world (Lance Thomas, who defended his Los Angeles jewelry shop in 5 armed robberies). Kirchner's subjects span the gamut of combatants, from martial artists (Sokaku Takeda) to foot soldiers (Sgt. Alvin York) to fighter pilots (Gregory "Pappy" Boyington).

Kirchner plays homage to warriors of all castes and creeds, from Zulu fighter Mgobozi to Nazi pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel, from Viking legend Egil Skallagrimsson to Syria's Usamah ibn-Munqidh.

These may seem like unrelated names, but each profiled individual, in Kirchner's words, "fought for honor and fought because they liked to." All are figures that epitomize the words valor, daring, courage, and fighting spirit.

Some folks think of history as a dull topic, but these profiles of heroic characters infuse drama and action into the past. I found the book incredibly interesting, and the lives of those profiled inspiring.

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