I'd forgotten about reading this when it came out years ago. Written in a breezy style, I believe every fencer in the English-speaking world received a copy that Christmas. I, as a professional in the sport was no exception. Mr. Cohen speaks with a voice that attempts to appeal to all audiences though he must have suspected the fencing world would receive it with the high degree of suspicion and eager and unhelpful criticism it meets nearly everything with. My complaint with this book is that by trying to be all things to all readers, it fails to be anything to anyone. The history of fencers in the Olympic era is nearly impossible to discuss because we all violently disagree on what any bit of information means (I know this sounds strange to a non-fencer, but think about arguments about which Superbowl winning team is better than others)
If you want an ACTUAL book about the ACTUAL history of fencing, I would recommend (the much maligned and ridiculed) William M. Gaugler's book [b:The History Of Fencing: Foundations Of Modern European Swordplay|982642|The History Of Fencing Foundations Of Modern European Swordplay|William M. Gaugler|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1179986130s/982642.jpg|967531] I point out that the fencing world has a low opinion of Dr. Gaugler's thoughts as to the weakness or strength of modern fencing, but his approach to the history of the activity is very solid in this ex-professional's opinion. I warn you, it's not a quick or witty examination, but was that REALLY what you wanted?