Despite the warnings of doomsayers, the success last year of The Dangerous Book for Boys, proved that masculine pursuits such as learning to sail and climbing trees are alive and well in the Western World. As readers of this blog will of course know, for generations of boys toy soldiers and playing Cowboys and Indians were the hallmarks of a healthy childhood. After Vietnam, war seemingly became a dirty word. Or did it? The “Star Wars” saga is after all the most popular entertainment of all time.

This Fall, Osprey Publishing will be resurrecting a little gem of a book that first appeared in 1964, well before the Tet Offensive or Oliver Stone\'s Platoon. The title is From Rocks to Rockets: Arms and Armies Through the Ages and it harkens back to a more innocent time, when moms bought cap guns for their sons and learning from dad how to handle a 12-gauge was a rite of passage. The book covers the entire history of warfare through the medium of delightfully drawn little toy soldiers and witty captions.

Although the author, William Gilkerson pokes some gentle fun at the futility of war, he is in fact a regular pirate of a guy. A couple of year ago he won an award in Canada for a book he wrote called Pirate's Passage which is a tale about a modern boy who meets a real-life pirate. In addition, Gilkerson is a world-famous nautical artist. Here are some links that I think you'll find enjoyable. And I hope you'll consider picking up a copy of the book too!

The Author's website

Tour of the author's home, art gallery, and workshop

Interview of the author where he teaches his granddaughter how to fire a vintage pistol