Colonel J's - Pickelhaube and Imperial German Musings
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Turinetti, James & O'Connor, John , Self Punlished 2006

This is a full two thumbs up! Why?  It integrates many -- many references with one guide, is done in full color printing, has sensational artwork, and it costs less than $35. Many of those references are either difficult to find, costly, or impossible to find.  Pull out your wallet and buy the book.  For $35 you can not go wrong.

In the introduction the author describes this book which is the "Field Guide", or small precursor to the larger two volume set which is yet to be published.  I know this book took a lot of turns in publication so I have little to say about the expectations for a delivery date of the next volume. The introduction says that this guide will be useful for identifying and obtaining items at shows. The Field Guide is designed to be taken to shows and used there. I do not think this book really meets that requirement. It is too big for a pocket-sized book.  If you did use it as a reference at a military show it is something that you would come back to not carry with you. This is not a reference about all headgear it is primarily about military helmets. There is zero information on makers mark's or depot marks.

What you have is an 8 1/2 by 11 inch spiral-bound landscape printed book.  It is all done in color. 187 pages on glossy stock.  It is extremely handsome and heavy; 1lb. 12 ounces. The book begins with a dichotomous key about Wappen [one-page shown immediately below]. This is the only reference I am aware of that uses a dichotomous key. It takes a bit to get used to but makes tremendous sense.  This is especially true for novice collectors or for those who are not sure who want to trace the Wappen from the start.  This key then directs you to a more detailed page deeper in the book. This is the only Wappen key that I am aware of that tackles the nuances of sword hilts on Grenadier and Garde Wappen. It also looks at the top of the scepters. I do not think it is all factually correct however the author tackles it head-on.

The authors then jumps around to a series of references on cockards, then to maps and ties the two together. These are wonderful maps.  Army Corps divisions in color with cockards and Wappen.  I picked up one mistake and had difficulty tying this together.  The author understands it and I understand it but there is no text to truly drive a less knowledgeable person through the nuances.  However all of that explanation represents 18 pages of introduction.  That is in addition to the 187 pages of the regular book so now we are well over 200 pages.

The heart of the book are pages and pages of unit descriptions.  The picture above represents one page. It is done very similar to the older book by Didier Laine but there is much much more.  You can see that there are several units represented on the page -- four in this example. So there is a huge amount of information crammed into a very small place.  You will get the impression that the pictures are extremely small.  The pictures of the helmets are extremely small and not very useful in themselves. It is obvious that in some cases some pictures of haarbusches were Photoshoped in.  As they are only used to identify color, that is no big deal.  To the right of the helmet is information similar to that displayed by Rainer Hermann in his book. This is very useful.  On the left-hand side is a display of the uniform taken from Ruhl. I think this is the 1906 edition but I could be wrong.  Ruhl has his ups and downs and his fair share of mistakes.  On the right-hand side are pictures on many entries that comes from the 1930s cigarette picture books.  The Bulgaria flag reference shown on some of these is basically impossible to find. The authors show the unit's home and core assignment in four different steps -- 1889 -- 1898 -- 1905 -- and 1914.   There are also prints from Knötel posted to fill up a lot of white space. The art on the Wappen is nothing less than fantastic.  There are larger pictures of the Wappen covering seven or so pages late in the book.

So there is one large amount of data crammed into a very small place.  A handbook?  I think not.  A desk reference?  Definitely.  We have already seen where this can substitute for Didier Laine, Hermann, Ruhl, and others.  For one low price of $35!

Are there mistakes?  -- yes.  Many of which were relatively easy to find for an experienced collector. There are some spelling errors. Mistakes are present in every book.  I'm sure we will find many more.  But any error in this book would not deter me from owning it.  This will be my handy dandy desk reference.  I'm still a fan of owning all of the references but this is a sweet little combination.  There is a website that offers to sell these books.  There is a flash animation there that is a little bit syncopated.  You can always hit the right-hand button to make it work.  The website is: 



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