Books in Brief – February 2016

Patton Sweepsweb

Patton Hidden in Plain Sight: The Images Uncovered,  by Denny G. Hair. (ISBN: 9780692535905; CreateSpace, an Amazon Company. Available through Amazon or www.pattonthirdarmy.com. Softcover, 218 pages, hundreds of color and b/w images, 2015, $39.95)

A retired crime scene investigator, author Denny Hair has emerged as an expert on all-things Patton. This book is a result of thousands of hours of research and covers new information about General George S. Patton Jr. Hair has coupled personal, anecdotal accounts about Patton with hundreds of photos of the General, some of which have been colorized, and many never before published.

The book presents images from the rare and top secret Third Army After Action reports and promises to be the first of a series of books covering Patton and his Third Army during WWII.

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Patton Hidden in Plain Sight sheds a view on the General and his world unlike any book. Any Patton enthusiast will obviously treasure this book for the rare photos and staff recollections it shares. Collectors and military vehicles will be pleasantly pleased with the variety of artifacts that illustrate the book as well.—JAG

SWords and Sabersweb

Swords & Sabers of the United States Army 1867-1918: The New Regulation Models, by Dušan Farrington. (ISBN: 978-1931464703, Andrew Mowbray Publishing, Inc., Mowbray Publishing 54 East School St., Woonsocket, RI 02895; 800.999.4697, www.gunandswordcollector.com. Hardcover, 440 pages, 800+ b/w illustrations plus supplemental CD, 2015, $69.95)

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Magnificent. This review could end right there.

Dušan Farrington has matched any standard of historical artifact research in this volume. He built this massive work on the equally impressive foundation constructed by John Thillman who authored the ground-breaking books, Civil War Army Swords and Civil War Cavalry and Artillery Sabers (both published by Mowbray). While one might think it difficult to follow Thillman’s works, Farrington plowed through the research to produce a much-needed study of U.S. swords and sabers produced just after the Civil War through WWI.

This book exhaustively examines the 1872 and 1880 Sabers, Staff & Foot Officers’ Sword, General Officers’ Sword, Light Artillery Saber, 1902 Saber, NCO Sabers and Swords, Musicians’ Swords,  the Light Cavalry 1904 Saber, 1905 Steel-Hilt Saber, 1905 and 1911 Experimental Sabers, USMA Cadet Sword of 1868, and the 1913 Saber. In addition, he provides a chapter on sword and saber belts.

Lavishly illustrated with pixel-sharp images, each chapter surveys the development and design of each weapon, relying heavily on production records and service histories. A small chapter at the end of the book, however, may prove to be the most useful to general militaria collectors: “A Quick Identification Guide…” shows full length view with highlighted details of the swords and sabers used by the US Army from 1867-1918.

In an era where chatter masquerades as research on internet forums and blogs,  collectors will applaud Farrington’s commitment to hard, in-the-archives research.  This book has truly added a significant piece of information to our understanding of the U.S. Army’s weaponry from the end of the Civil War through WWI.

If you buy only one book for your U.S. militaria library this year, Swords & Sabers of the United States Army 1867-1918 should be it. Even if you consult it only once or twice, the depth of scholarship, clarity of organization, and visual presentation is a testament to the best of the hobby.—JAG

Field Guide Web

FM 82-102 Field Guide to Hallmarks of US Military Insignia, by Joe Weingarten (ISBN 978-1519118882, 1903 Press, 14066 Deer Stone Ln.  Fishers, IN 46040; 317-598-1026 www.1903.com. Softcover, 2016, 6” x 9”, 252 pages, hundreds of color and b/w illustrations, $39.00)

The most useful “maps” for collectors to follow are the result of hundreds of hours of research, compilation, and finally, publication. Author, artist, and collector Joe Weingarten has advanced the US military insignia hobby by doing all of that when he finally released his new Field Guide to Hallmarks of U.S. Military Insignia.

Don’t be fooled by the military technical manual-appearing cover—this book is a landmark of research that collectors will refer to time and again. This is the most comprehensive listing of hallmarks used on US military metal insignia that has ever been available.

While a number of books have been written on hallmarks used by jewelry manufacturers, Weingarten recognized the cross-over: Medals and insignia are the “jewelry” of the military. Building on that, he scoured old listings, archives, and business records to compile this listing. Whenever possible, company profiles are provided as well. But most importantly, Weingarten endeavored to illustrate the company logos and markings with clear photographs of actual military insignia. In some cases only the company name is shown with a hope that in the future readers will supply additional information and hallmarks for future editions.

Added bonuses in this book are details about dating pinback catch types, clutches, Institute of Heraldry List of Concerns Authorized to Manufacture Insignia, and most importantly, a good index. Codes found on German WWII-era insignia and medals are included as appendices.

As with Weingarten’s book, Field Guide to US Paratrooper Badges, this current offering is a “work in progress.”   The author welcomes corrections and additions that he will include in future editions.

While the book is available through Amazon, Weingarten offers it to Military Trader readers through his web site for the reduced price of $30. Log onto www.1903.com and search for “BK-6.”

When passion and research finally result in a book, our hobby advances. Joe Weingarten has moved US metal insignia collecting forward with this newest offering. Don’t miss the opportunity to continue your collecting journey with this new map!

John Adams-Graf

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