Books in Brief – December 2016

9780764351150

Soviet and Mujahideen Uniforms, Clothing, and Equipment in the Soviet-Afghan War, 1979-1989, by Zammis Schein.  (ISBN 9780764351150, Schiffer Publishing, 4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310; 610-593-1777; www.schifferbooks.com. Hardcover, 8.5” x 11”, 320 pages, 551 color and black-and-white images, 2016, $69.99)

Zammis Schein worked in Afghanistan as an escort interpreter, an English teacher, and a field interpreter trainer on several assignments. With the Soviet and Mujahideen militaria he collected while working there, he was able to compile the first detailed, illustrated guide to the military uniforms, civilian clothing, and equipment worn and used by Soviet soldiers and Mujahideen warriors in Afghanistan from December 1979 to February 1989.

With more than 500 images, this book presents front-line soldiers, NCOs, and officers in the main combat branches of the Soviet armed forces as well as Mujahideen warriors, actually ordinary Afghans, who were thrust by fate into the midst of a relentless guerrilla war against one of the largest regular armies in the world.

Uniforms presented in this book are assembled in configurations confirmed by wartime photos. All photographs taken for this book are genuine service-issue or private-purchase Soviet and Afghan Mujahideen items.

9780764350689

United States Marine Corps Emblems 1804 to World War I, by Frederick L. Briuer, Ph.D. (ISBN 978-0764350689, Schiffer Publishing, 4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310; 610-593-1777; www.schifferbooks.com. Hardcover, 8.5” x 11”, 224 pages, 333 color and black-and-white images, 2016, $49.99).

Dr. Briuer’s  book is a thorough treatment of the evolution of the United States Marine Corps’s principal distinguishing insignia, from the earliest dress hat plate  through collar and cap insignia worn during and immediately after World War I.

His study is methodical, establishing both a nomenclature and a numbering system. He has diligently provided 1:1 scale color photographs; dating information; formal descriptions; and, most importantly, sources for supporting his interpretation for each item –more than over 300 emblems!

While the scale images, source information, and detailed descriptions are all elements that make this an important treatise for collectors, Dr. Briuer’s concerted effort to include a number of emblems that are “other than authentic” top the list of reasons why you will want this book. 

Briuer’s methodology of photographing, describing, analyzing, classifying, and date is sorely needed within our hobby. United States Marine Corps Emblems 1804 to World War I  can serve as an example of how systematic research can advance the hobby by collecting and analyzing militaria of any type. –  JAG

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