Return to Index  

Guilty as Charged!

June 3 2007 at 4:27 PM
Ed Storey 

Response to Books, I Don't Need No Stinking Books!!

I am one of the people who responds to many of the posts in this forum and apparently I should never consider a second career in public relations or at least as a recruiter for new collectors or re-enactors.

I will preface this dissertation with the statement that I have met numerous collectors and re-enactors, both young and old, great people and a few I have had the pleasure to know for many years.

Being somewhat vocal, snobbish, opinionated and on occasion rude, I believe I was also the one that initiated the notorious ‘buy a book campaign’. As I have stated before, I cannot for the life of me understand why any person would get into this industry without being fully armed with some knowledge, especially since there has been a huge amount of information made available in the last 10 years. I can understand a person not knowing such references exist, and I will strive to me more tactful in my responses, but if people are that delicate or sensitive to be driven from this forum by an answer that refers them to a book, then I begin to wonder what sort of society we live in. I really think the issue is that many are just too damn cheap to buy a book, there I said it, too cheap! Apparently, it is helping and encouraging the new collector or whatever when the information is provide for free, but damn those who suggest that same person go and spend some money on a book in order to read about the information. Even if a person cannot afford a book, which leads me to wonder how they can then afford to purchase militaria as for the most part the average prices seems to start at around $20.00Can, then there is always the local library and an inter-library loan. Of course, if they are on the internet, there is always that resource, but again I am surmising that those same people who do not want to purchase a book will not surf the net either.

Turning to re-enactors, those that know me will know that I also have some pretty strong opinions on that hobby. Re-enacting is a representation of the profession of arms and I am a professional soldier with 26 years in the military, so I tend to look at re-enactors with a very critical eye. I think re-enactment units have the potential to be a great tool in which to show, inform and educate the public about a particular period of history and that they have great success with this for the pre-1900 periods. In my opinion, many, not all, fall short when representing 20th century units. I have heard many times that re-enactment units are formed to honour veterans and inform the public about a select period, yet many units tend to focus on the elite side of the military and when you scrape the surface past the thin veneer of a uniform, some equipment and weapon, few know much about the period they are purporting to represent. Case in point, every re-enactment battle I have observed is what I call ‘the War of 1812 meets WWII’ or to simply state it one or both sides tend to line up in an open field and blast away at each other, great to entertain the public but not really period authentic. Make mention that some basic research into the training, doctrine and tactics of the period would enhance the base knowledge of those in the re-enacting community and eyes start to glaze over as apparently it is easier to strut around in uniform then do some actual research into the period. There are a few re-enactors out there that are starting to reverse this trend which I feel if it catches on will invigorate the hobby and take it to new levels.

This message has been edited by dorosh on Jun 3, 2007 7:07 PM

 Respond to this message