Book Review: A Gallery of Military Headdress Vol. 1

A Gallery of Military Headdress: Inaugural Edition, Volume 1, 2019, edited by Stuart Bates & Peter Suciu is an outstanding journal-approach to headgear topics.
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Gallery of Headdress Final Cover

A Gallery of Military Headdress: Inaugural Edition, Volume 1, 2019, edited by Stuart Bates & Peter Suciu (Softcover, 140 pages, 200 color images. Available from www.militarysunhelmets.com; email: militarysunhelmets@gmail.com; $25.00)

What promises to be an outstanding journal-approach to headgear topics, this first volume is a fully-rounded offering with articles that will appeal to a variety of militaria collectors. This perfect-bound, 140-page journal features more than two dozen articles on military hats, helmets, and other headgear from around the world.

Topics include the development of the French Adrian helmet, the history of Communist Bloc helmets, British Bearskin caps, the British Home Service Helmet, Scottish headdress, the origin and evolution of spiked helmets, military conical hats and much more.

While the majority of these short “chapters” that cover a specific topic are authored by either Bates or Suciu, several other headgear experts contributed to this inaugural edition. Petro Soares Branco, MD, contributed his expertise on Portuguese headgear. The late Clive Law also contributed to the work before his untimely death. And writing on Japanese WWII headgear, Jareth Holub made serious additions to the journal. The editors plan to expand the stable of authors and experts in future editions.

Each "chapter" runs about 2-4 pages in length and shares a very clear explanation and history of a particular style, variation, or employment of military headgear. Each chapter combines period images to set the historical context for the artifacts discussed, color images of extant headgear, and well-researched and authoritative explanation of history and use.

What makes the journal special are the variety of topics that, on their own, would not warrant a full book, but that collectors often encounter, such as: “Persian” helmets of the Khedive Guard; helmets and weapons of the Mahdi; Portuguese spiked helmets; or the “American Pickelhaube” of the mid-nineteeth century. Paging through the journal is a treat of new discoveries and "ah-ha moments," not unlike those a collector experiences while walking down the aisles of some of the great military shows.

This journal gives the reader the power of becoming a well-informed, rounded collector and able to appreciate more than just Waffen-SS double decal helmets or a Civil War forage caps. Bates and Suciu have grouped a wide variety of topics in this debut journal — and I can't wait to see what they put together in the next! —JAG

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