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Warship 2014
Warship 2014
by John Jordan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $40.07
16 used & new from $36.07

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not one of the most exciting issues., October 15, 2014
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This review is from: Warship 2014 (Hardcover)
Let me start by saying I have the entire run of Warship. At this point, that consumes over thirty inches of bookshelf. Not every article in every issue is of particular interest to me, but I find enough in every issue to satisfy me and justify the annual expenditure if for no other reason than to maintain continuity. The book review section far more often than not proves to be of particular merit on its own and goes a long way in justifying the purchase of the occasional issue that doesn't otherwise have a great deal of general appeal. This issue is one that just happens to fit that description. Call it luck of the draw. That's just the way it works out every now and then, but has never happened two years in succession. Even so, I'm pleased enough to add it to the set and may very well at some future time find one or more of the less immediately intriguing articles to be of particular currency, in which case I will be glad I maintained continuity. This has happened on numerous occasions already. That's the nature of the ongoing process of historical research and documentation. It goes without saying that the quality of scholarship in the research and writing of every article is top notch, and of the highest professional standard, if somewhat dry reading from time to time. But that is because the emphasis is and always has been on scholarly technical writing, and will no doubt always remain that way. Nevertheless, I look forward to every year's new issue and will continue to add to my set at long as I am able.


Inside the Rolls-Royce & Bentley Styling Department 1971 to 2001
Inside the Rolls-Royce & Bentley Styling Department 1971 to 2001
by Graham Hull
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $40.53
41 used & new from $30.68

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for the motorhead as well as the serious automotive historian., June 24, 2014
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First person narratives of behind the scenes events surrounding major and minor corporate developments are rare, especially so when the subject is an iconically famous automobile company with the international reputation of being the very best of the best, regardless of cost. The thirty year period covered by the book is arguably the most turbulent in the company's hundred year history of automotive excellence, making this chronicle all the more valuable. Written with unusually tactful candor and more than just a touch of classic understated British wit (which frequently had me chuckling as I read), we learn that behind the carefully developed and maintained Gibraltar-like facade presented to the public, all was not always well, and that, in fact, there were more than a few instances when things were downright scary. We come to appreciate just how very difficult it was for this firm to deal with declining sales of an aging product line, inadequate staffing, frequent top level management turnover, progress impeding labor relations issues, and even styling studio consumables issues to accomplish anything, much less maintain their reputation for unexcelled quality combined with understated but most definite elegance at the very pinnacle of the worldwide prestige automobile market. Enjoyably readable by the layman because Mr. Hull studiously avoids the use of professional/industrial jargon, he thoughtfully includes at the front of the book a most useful glossary, though occasionally company insider project codes are not included, though they are explained in the text. Color photos are plentiful and used almost exclusively throughout, and their reproduction on top-quality glossy paper is uniformly excellent. My only criticisms in this regard are that many of them are too small to appreciate subtle details, and I wish there were more, many more, especially of the numerous one-off customs that are tantalizingly referred to, but not illustrated. This book represents tremendous value for its modest cost, not just simply because it is marvelously entertaining history, but as first-person historical documentation. If it sells in anything approaching the numbers it deserves, perhaps the publishers will persuade Mr. Hull to produce a second, even more detailed companion volume. There certainly ought to be more than enough material available to justify it, and I will certainly acquire one of the first copies off the presses.


Rolls-Royce and Bentley: The Crewe Years (3rd Edition)
Rolls-Royce and Bentley: The Crewe Years (3rd Edition)
by Martin Bennett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $78.17
19 used & new from $27.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best single volume history of the post-WWII Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars., December 13, 2013
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This book is an obvious labor of love, being as it is the third, largest, and best edition of this landmark history of these two great marques in the post World War II era. It encompasses an additional hundred pages of material and photographs (all of which are beautifully printed on glossy coated paper) over the second edition, to which it is identical in format (which I also own and consider a cornerstone of my R-R and Bentley library). It is perhaps best described as a technical history. The major events of the company's history and the development of new features and models are discussed in the context of the cars themselves. Covering the period from 1945 to 2003, there's a lot of territory involved. The description of the development of each model and their features are handled in a straightforward yet enjoyingly readable manner, which is something not always found in a book that is intended to be a illustrated technical reference work. Every major model and its derivatives has its own chapter, beginning with several pages of text followed by the real "meat and potatoes" of the book-the wonderful illustrations. Most of those are beautifully reproduced photographs of excellent quality, with plenty of clear, sharp detail. Coachbuilder's layouts and other line drawings comprise a good portion of the illustrations, and add significantly to the overall presentation. Most of the photos are historical in nature, in the sense they depict the cars as new, freshly finished vehicles ready for the road. Very few, if any, photos appear to have been taken specifically for inclusion in this third edition. The vast majority of the photos are black and white, though color is interspersed throughout the book. Unfortunately, many of the color photos dating from the 1950's and even the 1960's appear to be washed out or faded, but since they are historical in nature, that fault is easier to accept. The chapter on Styling and Coachbuilding has particular interest, showing as it does many cars in the process of being built; fascinating photos not often seen elsewhere.
A major disappointment to me, and the reason for only four stars, it the almost perfunctory manner in which the last five tumultuous years are covered. The sale of Rolls-Royce to BMW and Bentley to VW is only cursorily discussed and the development of the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph and the Bentley Arnage models, the first new models to be introduced in almost twenty years, and the last Rolls-Royce motor cars to be built at Crewe, receive only scant mention-a mere three and a half pages of text and only seven photos spread out over three pages-hardly their fair share of attention. Perhaps this will be rectified in the Fourth Edition, if and whenever it is published. Despite these faults, it is well worth the price and should be included in every serious Rolls-Royce and Bentley enthusiast's library.


Philips Norelco RQ10 Replacement Head
Philips Norelco RQ10 Replacement Head
Offered by suredealshop
Price: $59.50
10 used & new from $55.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Restored razor to "as new"., December 11, 2013
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The only drawback to this fine electric razor is the limited life of the blades in the head. With my heavy beard, it doesn't last quite a year before the cutting efficiency is noticeably degraded. The best price I've found anywhere for a new replacement head is right here at Amazon.com.


The Goodwood Phantom: Dawn of a New Er
The Goodwood Phantom: Dawn of a New Er
by Malcolm Tucker
Edition: Hardcover
20 used & new from $34.78

5.0 out of 5 stars A story well told and presented, as one would expect from Dalton Watson., December 11, 2013
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Dalton Watson books are always worthy of attention, and this one is no exception. The author does a fine job telling the convoluted story of how BMW became the custodian of the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot, the interlocking R's logo, and the Parthenon radiator shell trademarks in a straightforward manner that bypasses the near-hysteria used by some authors in telling this tale. Once we learn just how little BMW gained in the form of tangible assets, we are educated as to exactly how the Phantom, the first Rolls-Royce motor car produced under BMW's custodianship came to be designed, tested, and manufactured in its own new from below ground level, state of the art environmentally friendly manufacturing facility at Goodwood. It is a rather fascinating story, and it is made abundantly clear that BMW fully appreciated the magnitude of their responsibility in preserving the Rolls-Royce brand and successfully carrying it forward into the twenty-first century as well as its second century of manufacture. The near-coffee table dimensions of the book and the frequent use of full page and one and a half page images are unusual for Dalton Watson, but the quality of presentation and production is fully in keeping with their tradition of excellence. There are only a few photos that have appeared elsewhere and are part of the original press kit released upon the Phantom's introduction. As the only single volume that deals with this vital part of the Rolls-Royce motor car story, it is an essential addition to the body of knowledge available in print. Truly a "must have" for the serious Rolls-Royce enthusiast's library, even if the Phantom itself is not quite your cup of tea.


The Goodwood Phantom Drophead Coupe
The Goodwood Phantom Drophead Coupe
by Malcolm Tucker
Edition: Hardcover
24 used & new from $45.95

2.0 out of 5 stars Greatly glorified sales brochure., December 8, 2013
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Although magnificently produced, thoroughly in keeping with Dalton Watson's tradition of undeniable excellence, this lavish, near-coffee table sized book is not much more than a very expensive sales brochure. In fact, there is a very high ratio of exact repetition of the color photos between this book and the official (hardbound) sales booklet produced by Rolls-Royce and available at no charge (if you know the right people). There are no independent appraisals or road tests of the car, nor even references to them. There are only a few very carefully worded phrases that could be interpreted as mild criticisms, giving the reader the impression that at long last, the perfect luxury convertible motor car is available to mortal man; all you need is money (lots and lots of it, of course. Along that line, prices aren't even mentioned. But then again, if you have to ask, you can't afford it anyway, so why mention it?)

I purchased this volume only because I also own the author's earlier matching volume on the Goodwood Phantom sedan and wanted to complete the set for my library. I have been a Rolls-Royce enthusiast for a half-century. My library includes every major work on Rolls-Royce motor cars and their history. I have owned a Silver Cloud and the Phantom's immediate predecessor, the Silver Seraph. Despite all that and its undeniable commercial success, I am not a fan of the Phantom. I consider it a gross caricature; blatantly intended to impress through intimidation associated with sheer bulk as much as every other manner associated with the century-long Rolls-Royce motor car heritage, save understated elegance. I purchased the earlier volume only when I found it available at substantial discount. (Please see my separate review of that volume.) It took some time to find a brand new copy of this newer book available at a similar discount and decided to purchase it only because other reviews indicated there was not much duplication between it and the earlier volume.

To the author's credit, though a nearly identical format is followed, there is not a great deal of repetition of material between the two volumes. Nevertheless,there are instances where rather lengthy blocks of text are carried over virtually unchanged, particularly in the chapter dealing with the car's engine and drivetrain. In the cars themselves these items are shared, so I suppose it shouldn't be surprising to find them shared here, as well.

Despite the author's disclaimer of full independence (none too subtly stated as an afterword in both volumes), the considerable duplication of official photographs and the total lack of impartial third party evaluation of the car leads the cynic in me to suspect perhaps not insignificant financial involvement on the part of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in the production of this book. If you don't mind paying a rather hefty sum for material that is available elsewhere at considerably lower cost, if not free of charge, then by all means do so. Otherwise, shop around for a price you're willing to pay, understanding all along that you will be purchasing a very magnificently done unofficial advertising piece.


La Salle: Cadillac's Companion Car
La Salle: Cadillac's Companion Car
by Turner Publishing
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from $88.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully done, but lacking in drama and dry as toast., March 24, 2013
When word of this book's impending publication began making the rounds, I knew the author's reputations as LaSalle authorities of the highest esteem assured it would be the long-awaited definitive single-volume history of this enigmatic car. Having a carefully restored example of one of the last model year's production parked in my garage, lovingly brought back to show condition by my late father and myself from a disassembled, neglected, classic basket-case derelict over the course of two years, made it especially meaningful to me as a life-long LaSalle junkie. I rationalized the additional expense involved in ordering the numbered Collector Edition, which was limited to 365 copies, and eagerly anticipated its arrival.

The book is large, heavy, produced from the finest materials, and initially most impressive. It is logically laid out in model year chapters. The quality of the printing and photo reproduction are top-notch; heavy coated paper being used throughout, which assures the best possible results in reproducing both black and white and color illustrations. The reproduction of original print ads, many of them in partial color, are accurate and stunning. Almost all of the historical photographs are reproduced with excellent results. However, some of the modern era color photos of individual cars are not as sharp. This is probably due to their being smallish prints provided by their owners that were not taken by professionals. The large format of the book allowed for the enlargement of the photo from the original provided, and this often resulted in a noticeable degradation in image sharpness. While an imperfect photo is better than no photo at all, this has unfortunately happened in more than just a few instances.

The book's strongest point is the amount and detail of technical information provided, which is simply staggering and virtually unprecedented. I don't know of any other single volume that goes to such detail, on any car. In this regard, it will prove to be an invaluable restoration resource for anyone about to embark on such an adventure, and will answer most, if not all, questions regarding authenticity.

The text accompanying each chapter is the book's weakest point. This is particularly glaring in that the text is usually the strong point of automotive histories. What little there is is typically confined to no more than a combined total of approximately two full pages per chapter and consists of a very bland recitation of facts and specifications related to the changes found in that model year as compared to its predecessor. The human side of the LaSalle story is seriously neglected, and this is just too bad, spanning as it does some of the most tumultuous years in automotive history, and the LaSalle story was an integral part of the history of those years. While the near cancellation of the marque at the end of the 1933 model year and its subsequent last-minute reprieve by the radically different and trend setting 1934 model is covered in some detail, there isn't much discussion of the historical personalities involved, how they interacted and ultimately influenced what was offered to the motoring public, nor of the other key events in the LaSalle saga. One could easily get the false impression that everything concerning the LaSalle just happened more or less automatically, without drama or repercussions, which was hardly the case. To me, this is the fascinating part of automotive history and is the real story behind every car ever made. They are all the result of human endeavor, and it is that human part of the story where the lessons to be learned are found. This part of the story has been told, and told well, by other authors as parts of other volumes. It is a major disappointment to me to find that it is not included to the same degree in this volume devoted exclusively, as it is, to the LaSalle story. Perhaps, due to space limitations, the authors were forced to limit historical text in order to provide the degree of technical information they wanted to present on each model year. If that is the case, the end result is a mixed blessing and frustratingly incomplete. You will be forced to look elsewhere for that most fascinating part of the story, such as the appropriate appendix in Maurice Hendry's CADILLAC: STANDARD OF THE WORLD (all editions) or various sections of A CENTURY OF AUTOMOTIVE STYLE by Michael Lamm and Dave Holls.


David Busch's Compact Field Guide for the Sony Alpha SLT-A55/A35/A33 (David Busch's Compact Field Guides)
David Busch's Compact Field Guide for the Sony Alpha SLT-A55/A35/A33 (David Busch's Compact Field Guides)
by David D. Busch
Edition: Spiral-bound
Price: $11.57
36 used & new from $7.43

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great useful, handy supplemental volume, October 16, 2012
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I purchased this field guide to supplement the author's Sony Alpha SLT-A55/A33 Guide to Digital Photography, which is absolutely necessary in order to fully understand all of the camera's "bells and whistles" and their proper uses. The tiny pictogram booklet provided by Sony is simply inadequate. It shows "what and where" but provides very little "why". David's book does all that and more, but it is a tad on the bulky side and won't fit in my camera bag. The Field Guide does. The dimensions listed are for the larger, more comprehensive book. The actual dimensions of the Field Guide are 8.1 X 5.75 inches. While not as comprehensive as the full book, it hits the high points and serves the role as reminder more than adequately, which is what field guides are supposed to do, and much better than the Sony provided booklet. The lay-flat spiral binding is a great feature. As long as the wind isn't blowing too hard, all you'll need in the field is a flat surface to put it on, and it will remain open to the page or pages you need, thus freeing your hands and allowing you to concentrate on photography. Indispensable, and a real bargain here at Amazon.


Cadillac at 100: Legacy of Leadership 1902 - 2006, Volumes 1 & 2
Cadillac at 100: Legacy of Leadership 1902 - 2006, Volumes 1 & 2
by Maurice D. Hendry
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from $148.00

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review of Sixth Edition: Cadillac At 100, October 16, 2012
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I have been a die-hard Cadillac fan for decades. I own the entire run of Automobile Quarterly, the book's publisher, and look forward to each new issue. I bought the first edition of this book prior to its publication in early 1973, and have acquired most of the subsequent FIVE editions. That first edition was so well and accurately done that it only required periodic updates to remain current and the recognized authoritative history of the company and its products. For a variety of reasons, I've put off acquiring this latest and lavish Sixth Edition until now, and upon initial inspection, I'm glad I did. I'm disappointed. Very disappointed. It isn't worth the MSRP of $99.95. I purchased my copy at a substantial discount here at Amazon.com, but all that has done is make me very glad I didn't pay any more.

This latest two-volume edition is a complete revision, which makes all its shortcomings all the more frustrating. It has wisely split the Cadillac story into two parts, logically separated at the World War II timeframe. The format has been changed, with the physical dimensions growing to the point where an opened volume is in the "coffee table" category; which means you won't want to try holding it in your lap, not if you don't want to run the serious risk of damaging the now overly large pages as you turn them. It would be wise to have that coffee table, or some other suitable horizontal surface available to properly support it. While the larger format allows for larger photographs, this doesn't necessarily mean that it is an improvement. Many unique historical photos of merely marginally acceptable quality are carried over from the earlier editions, but their now larger size only emphasizes their shortcomings and ultimately makes them less interesting if not somewhat disturbing to observe.

The paper quality, printing (for the most part), and binding are first class jobs; as is to be expected from AQ. An attractive, sturdy slipcase that matches the individual volume's dust jackets is included, which is a very good idea. It not only provides protection, it allows the set to stand on its own, as the slipcased volumes are stable enough to act as their own bookend, and can probably support several other volumes on the shelf as well. This somewhat makes up for the book(s) now being unnecessarily large.

Unfortunately, editing errors abound. Photo captions are frequently incorrect, usually in regard to year and model of specific cars. This happens so often that the overall accuracy of the captions, and therefore the book itself, must be questioned. Too many captions are agonizingly incomplete, listing only year and make (not always correctly), leaving us in the dark as to model, coachbuilder, and any other interesting details. Some photos, even full page ones, are uncaptioned. Despite the accuracy of earlier editions, I wouldn't try to settle any arguments over authenticity with this one as the sole reference.

Color photos are integrated throughout the text, which is a nice break from earlier editions, which confined color to separate sections. The color printing, traditionally an AQ hallmark; however, is frequently disappointing. Colors are often washed out, muted, and dull, and even in the photos where the colors are bright and life-like, details in shadow areas frequently disappear. In one instance, the same color photo is used twice, only nine pages apart, yet the quality of the prints is so divergent as to give the initial impression that they are two different photographs. This divergence in quality is not at all consistent, as there are enough photos included that live up to AQ's traditional standards of excellence to establish that the possibility of an errant print run has to be dismissed. Someone had to decide that the off-balance colors photos were "good enough", but for the price involved, they are not. This seriously tarnishes AQ's reputation.

I bought this edition to bring the Cadillac portion of my automotive library more or less up to date. At this point, I don't know that I have. I don't feel I can give this Sixth Edition any more than 3 out of 5 stars, which translates to "It's okay", but ONLY at a substantial discount. It simply isn't in the $100 ballpark. For that kind of money, it should be dead-on accurate in virtually all respects, especially in view of the accuracy of earlier editions, and the photo quality should knock your socks off. Many other publishers have shown it can be done. Buyer beware.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 7, 2013 5:18 PM PDT


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