Books In Review – September 1

USS Arizona

The USS Arizona Men: 75th Anniversary, by T.J. Cooper (ISBN  0692634800, T.J. Cooper, LLC, 763-331-0435; dashounds2@comcast.net;  www.tjcooperbooks.com. Hardcover, 560 pages, black and white illustrations throughout, 2016, $50.00)

On Sunday, December 7, 1941, shortly before 8 a.m. the men on board the USS Arizona were preparing for Sunday morning services, planning shore leave, writing letters home, or visiting with shipmates. Little did they know that the day’s events would forever change their lives. After “General Quarters” was sounded, the crew scrambled for their battle stations. These men remained at their respective battle stations. Many died instantly when a bomb went through the after deck and landed in the black powder room igniting a huge explosion and an immense fire ball that traveled throughout the ship.

This book is a memorial to the men that were serving on the USS Arizona that fateful morning. Though there are introductory chapters, the wealth of this book is found in the biographies of all those who served on the Arizona on the morning of December 7, 1941. Covering both the wounded and the survivors, each of these biographies range from one to several paragraphs. Photos of the sailors or Marines accompany most. An index of names is a valuable addition making this a go-to volume when researching the Arizona tragedy.

Whether assembling a complete Pearl Harbor library or a collector who seeks more information on Arizona-identified material, this book is one of those that you want to have on your shelf. The product of dedication and self-publication, it is one of those rare volumes that you will wish you had bought long after the last copy was sold. – JAG

Layout 1

Third Reich Reichsbahn Eagles,  by Wilhelm P.B.R. Saris with Thomas Samek, David B. Landers, Joachim Bügel & Otto Spronk (ISBN 1932970290 R. James Bender Publishing, P.O. Box 23456, San Jose, CA 95153; 408.225.5777; order@bender-publishing.com; www.bender-publishing.com. Hardcover, 256 pages, 8-1/2” x 11”, 700 color and b/w photos, 2016, $79.95

Collector have seen the large, spread-winged Reichsbahn collectors for many, many years—and yet, many have hesitated to add these very ornamental pieces to their collection because of not knowing how to distinguish an original from a recently made example. In fact, very little was known about these eagles—that is, until Dutch author, Wilhelm P.B.R. Saris assembled a team of experts to produce this definitive study.

Not only did these eagles adorn railway cars and passenger coaches, but also Reichsbahn busses, trucks, automobiles, steam and electric locomotives. Using this book, you will now be able to determine the manufacturer of the eagle, its exact purpose, and metal composition.

The book presents a serious investigation of historic documents, period photographs, and literature that establishes a dependable timeline of manufacturing and final-use variations. Detailed photographs of extant, original eagles illustrate the book. A work of this scope would be incomplete without details on reproductions, and the chapter included clearly explains how to recognize recent examples.

The quality of writing, research, and photography (both historic and modern) are of the level we have come to enjoy from Bender-produced books. Reichsbahn Eagles opens a door to German WWII collecting that has never before been available. It has advanced the hobby another step in the long road to identifying and authenticating relics of the Third Reich.  JAG

Waffen SS Vol 1

Waffen-SS Camouflage Uniforms, Vol. 1: Helmet Covers, Smocks, by Lorenzo Silvestri. (ISBN 978-0764350658, Schiffer Publishing, 4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310; 610-593-1777; www.schifferbooks.com. Hardcover, 9.2” x 12.2”, 480 pages, 943 color images, 2016, $89.99)

If you have ever hesitated to identify a piece of SS-pattern camouflage with one of the many different collector-determined names, this series will give you the confidence to say, “Autumn Plane Tree No.6.”

This volume examines SS camouflage helmet covers and smocks. Each example is displayed on a full mannequin with numerous photos showing how the clothing appeared from various angles. In addition, detail images are used to clearly expose key features of the uniforms and equipment. The text explains the important details about the creation, manufacturing, and wear of each item. Period photos establish the wear of each item presented in the book. – JAG

Waffen SS Vol 2

Waffen-SS Camouflage Uniforms, Vol. 2: M44 Drill Uniforms Fallschirmjäger Uniforms Panzer Uniforms Winter Clothing SS-VT/Waffen-SS Zeltbahnen Camouflage Pattern Samples, by Lorenzo Silvestri (ISBN 978-0764350665, Schiffer Publishing, 4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310; 610-593-1777; www.schifferbooks.com. Hardcover, 9.2” x 12.2”, 464 pages, 791 color images, 2016, $89.99)

Part two of this comprehensive reference, this volume shows all the camouflage uniforms of the Waffen-SS using predominately modern color photographs. This volume  covers SS camouflage M44 drill uniforms, as well as uniforms worn by Fallschirmjäger and Panzer troops, and  winter clothing. It concludes with a detailed look at each camouflage pattern including samples.

Each example is displayed on a full mannequin with numerous photos showing how the clothing appeared from various angles. In addition, numerous detail images are used to clearly expose key features of the uniforms and equipment. The text explains the important details about the creation, manufacturing, and wear of each item. – JAG

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