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BOOK REVIEW: Knives '97

Reviewed by: Fred Holder, Editor, Blacksmith's Gazette

Knives '97, edited by Ken Warner; DBI Books (Order from Krause Publications, Book Department, 700 E. State Street, Iola, WI 54990-0001. TEL: 800-258-0929); 1997, 17th Annual Edition; 304 pages, 8-1/2x11 inch format, softcover; price $19.95 plus $3.25 post and packaging.

Its been several years since I reviewed a copy of "Knives" . There are some excellent stories in this book, but it is really a picture book for people who don't like to have to read lots of text. A fairly substantial section is a directory of custom knifemakers. The author also provides an illustrated page on knife terminology. This is the last page in the book, so I recommend you read that first to ensure that you understand the terminology used throughout the book.

The publisher notes that the growth of the knife industry has been phenomenal over the last 30 years and attributes much of that growth to the author's 1966 Gun Digest article, The Best Knives Made, and also the introduction some 14 years later of his new annual, Knives '81. It would be strange to find that all of this growth in custom knifemaking and collecting can be attributed to one man, but like they say, "The Pen is Mightier than the Sword."

Over that period of time, there had been a tremendous growth in the number of buyers. From a relative handful of knife buyers to several millions is real growth. These buyers support a large number of makers, hundreds of knife shows each year, and at least four magazines, and Warner is still at the helm with his Knife Annuals.

Of course, Warner didn't write all of this book. He allowed other to share with him: Jim Lucie with, The Characteristics of Scagel Knives; Jack Collins with, No More Mr. Knife Guy; Bernard R. Levine with, The Vagaries of Values; Paul Brubaker with, The Chute Knife; Alan H. Pressley with, Practical Japanese Sword Collecting; and Marc Newman with, Rudy Ruana...In the Tradition of James Black.

I consider this book a must for anyone interested in custom made knives and especially if they are interested in collecting them or making them.

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This page was last updated on March 27, 1997.