I have always been somewhat wary of Schiffer’s military books, some are absolutely brilliant and worth every penny (Mr Churchill’s Tank springs to mind) whilst others have left me feeling a bit flat without me ever quite working out why . It was therefore with a degree of trepidation that I purchased Oliver Dorrell’s British Officers’ Peak Caps of The Second World War. Happily my fears were ungrounded and the book turned out to be an excellent purchase.
The book is hardback and printed on high quality gloss paper, with a separate dust jacket and overall on first picking it out of the box from the seller I was struck by the quality of the materials used and its general feel of being something a bit special.The look and feel of a book is of course secondary, it is the content that matters. Here we must be honest and say that the contents of the book do not exactly match the title- they exceed it. Whilst the title indicates the primary focus of the book is the Second World War, the contents actually cover how to recognise WW1 examples and post war examples and the book thus has a broader appeal than the title would suggest.
The book is broken down into he following chapters:
Chapter 1– Introduction and history
Chapter 2- Branches
Chapter 3- The British Army- Undress
Chapter 4– The British Army- Service
Chapter 5– The Royal Air Force
Chapter 6- The Royal Navy
Chapter 7– Commonwealth Peak Caps
Chapter 8– Post-War peak caps and dating a peak cap
Chapter 9– Outfitters
Chapter 10- Researching and Price Guide
Chapter 11- Care, Storage and Display
This then is pretty comprehensive and I am pleased to say that within each chapter detailed descriptions are given of materials, construction, linings etc of the cap and all are illustrated with high quality photographs.The only slight niggle is that sometimes the body text refers to an example and it is a few pages further along requiring a bit of flipping back and forth, however this is a minor formatting issue and does not detract from the book itself. The sections on dating caps are particularly useful, as those of you who read my post on the RAF officer’s cap a few days ago will have seen.I sat down and read this book through for this review, but I suspect most will use it as a reference book and refer to it as and when needed for items in their collection. As such it is an invaluable addition to the serious collector’s book shelf. Like most Schiffer books it is not cheap, however it must remembered that this is a beautiful quality book, on an obscure topic and presumably with a fairly limited print run. As such $69.99 does not seem unreasonable, indeed it often surprises me that some collectors are willing to lay down very large sums on their collection, but balk at paying out for reference books that will save them thousands in the long run on duff purchases! Whilst this book is not for everyone, if this is a subject area that interests you or you are a collector of these caps I cannot hesitate but to recommend it.
The book is available on Amazon here and some good bargains can be had from marketplace sellers.