reviews of helmet related books

This is not a "books for sale" page. This is where I have written my own review of books (both past and present) which have been written on the subject of German helmets. Many of them are currently out-of-print but may be found at various places on the internet or from used book dealers specializing in militaria related books.

 

                 German helmets 1933-1945, Volumes I and II; by Terry Goodapple, Ron Weinand and William Maertz,

Published by Goodapple, Maertz and Weinand, 1981-83

152 pages, paperback, currently out-of-print but occasionally available from various sources.

Both of the mentioned volumes are normally referred to by old collectors as "The Goodapple books". Volume 1 came out in 1981. It offered a time table of production and a very good chapter detailing the different models of both Combat and civil helmet. The book is profusely illustrated with helmets from the author's (and others) collection. One weak aspect of the book; from today's perspective at least, is the rather rudimentary descriptions of each helmet and the fact that each example is limited to one or two photographs with no detail photos nor interior shots. However, Mr. Goodapple did a fine job in laying out the various models and branches of service. Also invaluable is that each helmet is rated as to "common" versus "rare". What is most interesting (again from today's perspective) is that a price guide was incoprporated into the book with each helmet being evaluated by the range of prices at the time. This part makes especially nostalgic reading for those of us who remember those days.

Volume 2 followed in 1983 and Mr. Goodapple was joined in this new effort by long-time collector Bill Maertz. A new and novel decal and liner condition rating section was added which showed detail shots of helmets in various stages of decomposition; giving appropriate terms which may be attached to each in helping to understand condition descriptions. This volume also had several pages of color photos added as an appendix giving the helmet-reading world it's first taste of quality close-up photography which would set the standard for future works. Although I consider this to be another excellent attempt, it is my opinion that the book is somewhat hampered by a few examples which I feel are of dubious originality. Overall I find whatever flaws exist in both volumes are countered by the positive aspects. They will always have a place on my book shelf and occasionally be re-read both for what they have to offer information-wise and nostalgia-wise.

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   The history of the German Steel helmet: 1916-1945; by Ludwig Baer

Published by R. James Bender publishing, 1985

448 pages, hardbound, currently out-of-print but occasionally available from various sources.

Long referred to by helmet collectors as "the Bible" of German helmet collecting; Ludwig Baer's history of the German steel helmet is most probably the best source of technical information as well as original document based time-lines of production, alteration of specifications and component features. Baer has done it like no other specialist could have; drawing repeatedly on archival information to provide actual copies of high command orders and experimental data. The book is profusely illustrated with smaller black&white photos that seem somewhat out-dated by today's standard which composes of large color photos and close-up details. Little information is given regarding specific helmets which are profiled but the overall picture is well filled in with informative text. A good deal of the book is composed of Civil helmets and German-used helmets of other nationalities.  The book does little to arm the beginning collector with practical knowledge in being able to tell original from reproduction however there has been no written work produced to equal "History of the German steel helmet" insofar as the identification of obscure and seldom seen specimens. I remember I scrambled to get my copy of this book back in 1985 and wouldn't be without it to this day.

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   Combat helmets of the World; by Paulo Marzetti

Published by; Ermanno Albertelli, Parma, 1996

308 pages, Hardcover, English and Italian text, currently out-of-print but occasionally available from various sources.

One of the finest books ever on the subject of combat helmets in general. From A to Z; helmets of every nation are shown in small photographs and basic information is given regarding chronology of production. Every once in a while, I encounter a helmet that I am not certain about identification-wise. This book has never failed me. A must for the general helmet collector.

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   Le casque Allemand; by Philippe Letonturier

Published by; Gazette des uniformes, Published in the Late 1990s

61 pages, paperback, French language, currently out-of-print but occasionally available from various sources.

This magazine style book has a lot going for it byway of illustration. Excellent examples of original helmets, decals and some information on parts breakdown. There are some great camouflage helmets shown and the whole thing is interspersed with original photographs. I recommend it; even if you don't read French.

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      German helmets of the second world war; volumes 1 and 2; by Branislav Radovic

Published by Schiffer Pub Ltd, 2002

304 pages (volume 1) and 328 pages (volume 2) hardcover currently out-of-print but occasionally available from various sources.

These two books are easy to review: Coffee table types pure and simple. (I happen to be a fan of coffee table books) Great photography and visually stunning with nice original photos interspersed through-out. But very little specific info or detail.

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   Combat helmets of the Third Reich; by Thomas Kibler.

Published by Reddick enterprises, 2003

120 pages, paperback, currently out-of-print but occasionally available from various sources.

I bought this book the very moment that I first saw it mainly because I thought the cover looked really cool. And the contents did not disappoint. Tom Kibler is a great guy and it is easy to tell that he really put his heart into creating this book.  A good number of interesting specimens from various collections are profiled. One feels as though a short "tour" is given of each example due to the excellent color photographs and detail shots. I like the format and presentation. Also selection of component features is included which makes for a refreshing change in how helmet info is presented.

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          German camouflage helmets of the second world war; volumes 1 and 2 by Branislav Radovic

Published by Schiffer Pub Ltd, 2004

240 pages (volume 1) and 328 pages (volume 2) hardcover currently out-of-print but occasionally available from various sources.

Basically I give the same review about Mr Radovic's two volumes on the subject of camouflage. With the exception that there are a lot of helmets through-out the books which are of dubious authenticity.

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   SS Steel; by Kelly Hicks,

 Published by R. James Bender publishing, 2004

240 pages, hardbound, currently out-of-print but available from various sources.

I won't be lining any bird cages with this one; that's for sure.  Being the first helmet author to espouse the theory of decal vs. helmet manufacture correlation; Mr. Hicks has laid it all out here and shown through the presentation and comparison of original examples; just what he means. The photography is excellent. The sources of the helmets profiled are impeccable. Several added appendixes give further information on shell manufacture and acceptance stamps. This one gets 2 thumbs up.

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   Combat helmets of the Third Reich; by Thomas Kibler and Bob Iqbal.

Published by Reddick enterprises, 2005

120 pages, paperback, currently out-of-print but occasionally available from various sources.

Here Tom Kibler takes a second shot at basically the same format and style of book. He is seconded by Robert Iqbal and the two of them produce another winner. My praises are the same as with the first volume with the exception of a couple of decal identifications which are less than accurate in my opinion. The book is well laid out, contains some rare examples and is a must for the general helmet enthusiast.

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   SS Helmets; by Mike Beaver with Kelly Hicks.

Published by Schiffer Pub Ltd, 2006

198 pages, Large format hardcover,  available from various sources.

This work was begun by the late Mike Beaver several years before his death. Afterward the material was re-assembled updated and finished by Kelly Hicks. The large format really adds to the presentation but this book is by no-means merely a coffee table sort. Many excellent examples of extremely rare helmets are pictured. "SS Helmets" goes a long way toward a better understanding of the subject. In some ways even an improvement upon Hicks' "SS steel" itself. Long story short; here's a book which is a great as it's cover.

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Germany's Combat helmets: 1933-1945; by Ken Niewiarowicz

 Published by R. James Bender publishing, 2009

468 pages, 800+ color photos, hardbound, currently out-of-print but occasionally available from various sources.

As far as a review, I cannot really give an unbiased evaluation here however I will give a preview as to the content lay-out.

  • Chapter 1: The Model 35

  • Chapter 2: The 1940 specifications

  • Chapter 3: The Model 42

  • Chapter 4: Re-issues

  • Chapter 5: camouflage helmets

  • Chapter 6: Paratrooper helmets

  • Chapter 7: Combat helmets in other roles

  • Chapter 8: Decals

  • Chapter 9: Tropical Pith helmets

 

  • Appendix 1: Oddities

  • Appendix 2: Liners

  • Appendix 3: Chinstraps

  • Appendix 4: Acceptance stamps

  • Appendix 5: Lot numbers

  • Appendix 6: Shell characteristics

  • Appendix 7: The factories

"a superbly researched and authoritative work on German helmets; arguably the new standard for all authors on the subject.....it is my view that this book is the most definitive and complete work available on Third Reich helmets" -- Kelly Hicks

 

 

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