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CLASSIC MOTORCARS Lincoln and Continental: The Early Years Paperback – August 31, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Marvin Arnold grew up in Ohio and Oklahoma. In 1959, he and his wife moved to Dallas, Texas, where they have made their home ever since. The author is a thirty-year veteran of the aerospace industry. He is a senior systems design engineer and an experienced commercial pilot. Over the years, he has owned more than one hundred makes and models of automobiles and has personally restored several dozen different models of motorcars. Many of these cars were Lincolns and Continentals. He recently finished restoring a 1941 and 1942 Continental Coupe. The author is a member of the Society of Automotive Historians and a certified Grand National Antique Automobile Clubs of America member. In 1952, the author purchased his first Lincoln, a used 1939 Zephyr Coupe, which began his long time interest in this Marque. His famous book has been nationally recognized as the eminent authority on the early years of the Lincoln Motor Company. This book reflects his many hours of research on the subject of the Lincoln and Continental automobiles as well as the men and organizations, which created them.
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"Authored by Marvin Arnold . . . This is reprinted and reformatted edition in typeset galley two column format of the famous oversize hardcover Lincoln book in 8.5x11 in black and white softcover edition not an exact reproduction of author Marvin Arnold's widely acclaimed hardcover coffee table edition."
Seriously. I didn't make it up.
After struggling with that sentence for a while, I've concluded that the reprint publisher had one or more typists transcribe the 1989 text into a word processor and then sent the job to press without benefit of copy editing or even proofreading. The resulting book is so full of typos, poor paragraph breaks and occasional garbled text that it's actually painful to read. Reproduction of illustrations is adequate but no better, and photo captions are often on pages far removed from their intended objects. Lincoln's famous 1927-28 "exotic bird" ad series by Stark Davis appear here in black and white, mostly in reduced size. (Hint: a Google search on "Stark Davis" will lead the reader to most of the ads in color, many full-sized.)
Several appendices contain useful technical and statistical information, but some have been reduced in size to fit two original pages on one; they're still readable, but barely. The bibliography, on the other hand, is completely unreadable due to tiny text and poor format. Arnold includes a four-page glossary that includes more useful terms than are ordinarily found in this sort of work, but I found his definitions often poorly worded and occasionally unclear. But here's a high spot: The cover of my copy was done well, showing the attractive Art Deco design to advantage.
All these production deficiencies are a shame, because it's clear that Arnold is knowledgeable about his subject. His text generally follows the organization of Maurice Hendry's 1971 "Lincoln: America's Car of State," certainly an excellent guide; Arnold is the lesser writer, however. I didn't catch any obvious factual errors, although I'm far from an authority on Lincolns.
My recommendation: Buy this book if you want an inexpensive introduction to the Lincolns of 1921-51; be prepared for a certain amount of frustration in reading it. At this writing the original 1989 edition is still available from the current publisher for a little more than double the price of this reprint; I haven't seen it but assume it has clearer text and better illustrations. Or for a well-written history with adequate b&w illustrations look for Maurice Hendry's 1971 paperback mentioned above; it's usually available though becoming expensive.