Sharp Edges: Knives in America’s History - CJ Vannoy. Knives have fired the imagination of people for centuries. They were the first weapons to be developed, and have been used in warfare since the first man discovered he could kill an enemy with a knife easier than pitching rocks at him. Indians made knives of stone or bone, more advanced civilizations made them of metal, working it into sharp, cutting edges, and often adding ornate hilts. The use of knives as weapons declined after rifles and pistols were refined, but knives still capture our imagination. This book offers an examination of the importance of knives to various people in our history, from prehistoric times up to the 1900s.Knives have been tools, weapons, decorations, presentation pieces, collector's items, and the badge of manhood. Few pioneer boys were considered men unless they had a pocketknife, usually a Barlow. A soldier felt naked on a campaign without a knife of some sort, and a cowboy would often be lost without his trusty knife. Explorers, settlers, gamblers, and gold miners used knives, and the Bowie knife made history for its owner, and it is probably the only knife to actually go down in history.Less well-known knives-the Green River Skinners, the I. Wilson knives, the Dadley, the Barlow, the Arkansas Toothpick, the push dagger and others-are only of interest to collectors, but nearly everyone has heard of the famous Bowie knife, and its owner, Jim Bowie. For this reason, coverage of the Bowie knife is limited, although it was impossible to exclude this popular knife that crossed many cultures, was used by many different levels of society, and has been copied more than any other style of knife. Numerous photographs of knives enhance the narrative. 2009, 5½x8½, paper, 146 pp.