A history book describes related period practices such as rapier academies or dueling etiquette. They could be written in or out of period and are great for learning the background and setting of our art.
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The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe, Sydney Anglo, ISBN 0300083521, $55.
Llwyd says: An excellent modern history of period combat containing reproductions of hundreds of period illustrations.
THE NOBLE ART OF THE SWORD: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe 1520-1630, Tobias Capwell, 2012, ISBN 0900785438, $41.
Llwyd says: Beautiful photographs cataloging a Wallace Collection exhibition of arms, armor, clothing and manuals.
The Rapier & Small-Sword: 1460-1820, A.V.B. Norman, ISBN 0405130899.
Llwyd says: This is an exhaustive survey and classification of period weapons. Highly recommended if you are interested in the swords themselves. It is out of print as I write this and very pricey, but check for alternate printings or vendors.
The Renaissance Drill Book, Jacob de Gheyn, ISBN 185367561X, $25.
Llwyd says: Interesting historic period wood cut Pike and Musket drill flip book
The Secret History of the Sword, J. Christoph Amberger ISBN 1892515040, $20.
Llwyd says: A modern book exploring the historic underpinnings of modern competitive fencing. It contains lots of excellent, but mostly post period, research in a well written narrative.
The Sword and the Centuries: 500 Years of European Swords and Duels That Have Been Fought With Them, Alfred Hutton, 1901, ISBN 1566196906, $20.
Llwyd says: Out of print. Widely available used. A variety of similar titles are also available, which may or may not be different books. This one is a history of swords and duels.