Friday, April 22, 2011

1911 The First 100 Years by Patrick Sweeney

I really like the 29 ID insignia!

1911 The First 100 Years by Patrick Sweeney is the latest book to rest in my lap and make the journey to the "reading" room. I had seen the paperback version in Books-a-Million and Barnes and Noble but couldn't bring myself to pay full retail for it (sorry Mr. Sweeney). I couldn't even get myself to allow Amazon to ship a copy. However, I got an emailed offer from Gun Digest Books for this and several other books on then 1911 at considerable savings for all and couldn't resist. Yesterday a large box containing the books was dropped off by the mailman. It wasn't until last night that I had the time to open the box and to peruse its contents.

The other books were paperback and so I was a bit surprised, as I worked my way to the bottom of the stack, to find this one in hardbound form. Wow!, this really seems to have upped the quality of the publication over the paperback version. That is immediately apparent in the quality of the photographs, and there are a bunch, of wonderful pistols throughout the book.

Equally wonderful are the photograph captions. Usually there is very little information in a caption, but Sweeney has and his editor has permitted, extensive comments in the captions. If there was no other content, this book might well be worth the price for the photos and captions alone. But, there is prose aplenty in this book. I've read Sweeney's other stuff and I thought it was "good enough", a backhanded compliment if there ever is one. In this book it is apparent that Sweeney loves and I mean LOVES this subject and this book was a labor of love. His writing is concise and organized when making technical descriptions. But there is more. Clearly, Sweeney loves the stories behind the choices and acts made by the designers, manufacturers, customers (the governments), and the end users civilian or military. To say that this adds to the quality of the book is an understatement but this book is the whole package. Wonderful illustrations, a certain exuberance in writing style that is easy to follow and a wealth of information certain to entertain and delight any enthusiast or neophyte.

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