Catapult: Harry and I Build a Siege Weapon

Jim Paul, Author, P. Gethers, Editor Villard Books $18 (256p) ISBN 978-0-394-58507-9
Acting on a whim, Paul and a friend built a catapult modeled on the ancient siege engines that once made and defended empires. A sort of ``Zen and the Art of Weaponry,'' this understated meditation can be read as a lament for the human race and its blood-soaked past, present (and future?). In his first book, Paul investigates ``catapult consciousness'' only to discover ``there was no mask, no special weapon-maker's mind.'' His narrative interweaves an antic account of the hit-and-miss construction of the catapult with reflections on the creation and use of weapons from crossbows to Nike missiles. He also comes to terms with his ``wooden'' father, a WW II bombardier who opposed his resistance to the Vietnam War. The Roman siege of Jerusalem, Henry Bessemer's invention of long projectiles, Scottish Highlanders' uprisings and the development of the atomic bomb are signposts on this odyssey into the wellsprings of warfare and aggression. Author tour. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-15-600556-2
Paperback - 978-0-380-71840-5
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