Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Donald Featherstone 1918-2013

Many miniatures websites and blogs are ablaze with news that Donald Featherstone has passed after suffering an injury.  Dreadful news and we, in the wargaming community, mourn the loss.
Featherstone seen rolling dice in his game room in 2001
Featherstone was one of the pillars in the early wargaming movement and probably the most recognized name in the wargaming community.  His generation began formalizing the tenets of modern wargaming.  I have been involved in this hobby for more than forty years and my choice for the "four horsemen" of what was then modern wargaming and now termed "Old School" are Featherstone, Grant, Wesencraft, and Morschauser.  Through their frequent writings, we learned how each approached and furthered the hobby during its infancy.  No one was a more prolific writer than Don.

I have a number of Don's books and all are frequently pulled off the bookshelf either for reference or pleasure.  While I only have five of Featherstone's wargaming works, they all are treasured editions in my library.  Not only was Featherstone a wargaming pioneer, he also could produce engaging prose.  That combination will be missed.   


When Campaigning with the Duke of Wellington and Featherstone was published in 1993, I quickly snapped up a copy.  I have probably read and re-read this book more than any other book in my library.  Before and during the creation of my own Peninsular wargaming scenarios, Campaigning with Featherstone is usually the first reference I pull from the shelf.

If mortality is measured from birth to the last time your name is mentioned aloud, then Don has likely attained immortality in the hearts and minds of wargamers, now and forever.

Excuse me while I re-read Featherstone's chapter on the battle of Vimeiro in When Campaigning with the Duke of Wellington and Featherstone before returning it to the shelf. 

6 comments:

  1. I just pulled the same book to read the same battle...

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  2. I only have two of his, but this is an oversight that will be remedied. Reading his books from the library was my introduction to wargaming. His passing is a sad loss for us all.

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    1. My introduction to Wargaming literature was through Wargamer's Digest in the early 1970's. I didn't find Featherstone until later.

      Another member of the Old Guard has marched into permanent Winter Quarters.

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  3. Peter Young should be one of the Four Horsemen , don't you think?

    8^}

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    1. Hi Jim, well if Peter is added then I need to bump one of the other four! While Young is an excellent writer, for wargaming, I only have his The Wargame. Based on that limited body of work, I came up with my list of Featherstone, Grant, Wesencraft, and Morschauser. I can be convinced to reconsider, though.

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