Synopses & Reviews
The Last Duel is a compelling investigation of one of Europes last recorded fatal duels by a BBC correspondent delving into his own family history. Using newly discovered archives and his family records and lore, James Landale reconstructs in vivid detail the deadly encounter between a Scottish merchant named David Landale and his banker in 1826, while also exploring the cultural and social circumstances that might explain why two rational, educated men might choose to resolve a minor business dispute by shooting at each other. Tracing the story of dueling itself, from its origins to its sudden loss of social legitimacy in the middle of the nineteenth century, Landale penetrates the curious concept called honor, which drove so many young men to an early death. The Last Duel is an utterly engrossing investigative history that, for the modern reader, renders the personal, social, and historical landscape of the time with an adept and revealing accuracy.