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Old 3rd March 2020, 01:25 PM   #18
ariel's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 5,155


Quality of a book depends not on the number of references but on their relevance to the topic, the veracity of their analysis and on the correctness of its grand purpose. Rivkin’s book on the history of saber is a bird’s eye view of the topic, not a detailed analysis of minutiae. Darwin’s “ On the origin of species” briefly mentions a total of 90 names but does not provide a single bibliographic reference.

One can acknowledge author’s tenacity, but lauding a book “whatever the quality” is a mistake. If you know any missed reference or a fact that would contradict the conclusions of Rivkin’s book, you are more than welcome to use it in your critique. That was the purpose of my bringing to attention iconographic evidence of the existence of karabela handle well before Shah Abbas’ not only visit of Karbala but his date of birth.

I do not plan on writing a definitive book about any kind of oriental weapons; I do not think I am qualified. We know far too many books written for a single purpose of stroking their authors’ graphomanic egos; I do not need it and do not think that yet another book ”whatever its quality” is required to muddle the field even further. Critiquing already published sources is a part and parcel of an academic discourse.
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