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Book Review of

"ISAF Vehicles: Afghanistan 2007

(Kabul & Kandahar Area)"

Review By Patrick Keenan - Aurora, IL USA

Basic Item Information

Title

ISAF Vehicles: Afghanistan 2007 (Kabul & Kandahar Area)

Author, Editor and/or Illustrator

Dick Taylor

Publisher

Mushroom Model Publications

ISBN/Stock Number

ISBN 978-83-89450-76-0

Subject

Modern AFVís in use by multi-national ISAF

Media

Soft Cover Book

Number of Pages

96

Number/Type of Photos and/or Illustrations

(194) Color Photographs and (41) Color Illustrations (most of these are National Flags)

Text Language

English

Retail Price

15.99 GBP (Approximately $32.75 USD)

Reviewer

Patrick Keenan

Review Date

December 11, 2007

Review Summary*

Review Type

Normal Read

Basic Positive Features

Color photographs of very high quality and presented in large sizes.   Many vehicles not usually photographed and featured in other publications are captured here.

Basic Negative Features

If you are seeking very detailed information, this book was not designed for you.  The purpose of this book is similar to an encyclopedia in that the information is fairly basic or general in nature.

Overall Rating

4.6 of 5.0

Accuracy of Information Rating

4.5

Editing Of Information/ Text Flow Rating

4.5

Photo and/or Illustration Quality/Selection Rating

5.0

Usefulness as Reference

4.5

Quality of Print Medium Rating

4.5

Recommendation

Highly Recommended

* For information regarding the review terms, grading scale, etc. please go to the WarWheels Review FAQ/Key

Photos

              

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Detailed Review

Book Content

Since there are not many reference books available that focus on military vehicles in current service (surprisingly), I was very anxious to get this book for review. I was not disappointed.  The author provides almost 200 high-quality color photos of vehicles in service with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) contingent in Afghanistan.  Mr. Taylor specifically focuses on the Kabul and Kandahar areas as those were the areas he served in with the British Army. 

The true focus of the book is on the photos.  Only limited information is provided via text to explain or discuss the photos.  The purpose of the book is NOT to give huge amounts of specific detail information.  The book is really meant to be a photographic encyclopedia of the ISAF vehicles. For instance, each vehicle covered has a few photos of it provided as well as some basic statistical information like crew number, engine, length, width, etc.

The book is split into 4 parts, with two main sections, and is then subdivided into smaller sections based on specific vehicles or countries.  The content of the two main sections is as follows:

Part I: Vehicles

  • LAV III
  • AT105 Saxon
  • Fuchs
  • Landrover
  • Dingo
  • VAB
  • Hagglunds BV206s
  • Mercedes G-Wagen
  • HMMWV
  • SISU
  • Cougar
  • VBL
  • RG31 Mk 3 Nyala
  • Puma
  • Cobra
  • MLV
  • VM90p
  • Hermelin
 

Part II: Vehicle Camouflage and markings

  • ISAF Markings
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Macedonia
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Turkey
  • UK
  • USA
  • Afghanistan National Security Forces
  • UN

 

Accuracy of Information

The accuracy of the information provided by the author is very good.  When compared to my personal references on the ISAF in general, and on the individual vehicles in specific, Mr. Taylorís book is very accurate.  I did not identify any wrong or misleading information contained in this book. 

Also, being that the author is a British Army officer who served in the area/theater covered, there is absolutely no reason for me to believe the information is inaccurate. Thusly I donít think I missed any significant errors either.
 
Editing of Information/ Text Flow

There is NOT a lot of text information provided in this book.  After all, the photos are the primary focus of the book.  The textual information is in most cases used to explain or elaborate on the photos and/or provide context.  With that being said, the text flow (e.g. the writing ability of the author) and editing of the information that is provided is very good though.  The information is also provided in a logical and organized way and wasnít confusing.  The book structure makes sense too in that it is set up in encyclopedia format and is easy to use and very informative.

 

Photograph and/or Illustration Quality and Selection

Like I said before in this review, the photographs are the primary focus of this book.    Mushroom and Mr. Taylor really hit this aspect hard by providing almost 200 photos in less than 100 pages.  The color and clarity of the photos is top notch.  Since this book is a ISAF vehicle encyclopedia, you donít get a ton of detail photos specifically showing widget X on vehicle Y.  Most photos provided are of the type where they give overall views of the vehicles and camouflage/markings described.  Most of the photos provided are in an easily viewable/useable size so as to be able to identify a specific vehicle, markings or camouflage.  In most photos you can even identify/discern all but the smallest details too.

The selection of photographs provided by the author is excellent in quantity and variation as well.  Most (if not all) of the photographs the author provides are from his personal collection, so they are not available anywhere else but in this book.  The photographs cover many of the combat vehicles in the Kabul and Kandahar areas of Afghanistan.  To be sure not all vehicles are covered, but he does a very admirable job of covering most vehicles nonetheless.

Although 41 color illustrations are provided, you should know that probably 90% or so are only color renditions of ISAF country flags.  Only a small handful of illustrations are provided of other types of markings.  This might sound like a knock on his book, however it is not.  Since the photographs provided are of such good quality and quantity, very few illustrations were needed to supplement the bookís photos.
 
Use as Reference

This book is an excellent reference for modelers as well as vehicle enthusiasts.  As stated before in this review, Mr. Taylorís book provides photos of modern/currently fielded vehicles which are (so far) rarely covered by publishers.  High quality photographs and basic supplemental text information is provided on each vehicle highlighted.  However, although the text is limited, if you are purchasing this book it is probably for the photos anyway.

However, there are a few minor limitations to the book that you should be aware of.  The good news is that all of these ďlimitationsĒ fall outside of the scope of the book as defined upfront by the author, so itís not like youíre missing something he promised.  First of all, the author himself mentions that the vehicles covered are mostly from the Kabul and Kandahar areas of ISAF operations as that is where he was stationed.  Vehicles used outside that Area of Operations are not concentrated upon, so there are some vehicles used by ISAF not covered in this book.

Second, as most of the vehicles used by ISAF are wheeled that is the vehicle type focused upon by the book.  Only one tracked vehicle (the Hagglunds BV206s) is covered.  Finally, although the author provides many great photos of a large selection of the basic vehicles used by ISAF, the coverage of all variants of each type of vehicle used is not 100% complete.  To be fair though, I do agree with the authorís statement that covering every modification/variation would have been next to impossible as there are almost limitless possibilities.   However, I would have really welcomed seeing more coverage on the multitude of modified US HMMWV vehicles (even though he does provide more photos of the HMMWV than most WFVís) as they are one of the most common sites in that theater.
 

Quality of Medium

This edition is a very sturdy 8Ē x 11 ĹĒ soft cover book.  The construction of the book facilitates fairly frequent use/reading of the book, but probably wonít hold up extraordinarily well with constant use...  Obviously, all soft cover books suffer from the fact that they donít hold up as well as hard cover books.  However, in my opinion, this book is sturdier than other soft cover books due to the slightly thicker paper stock used.

 
Conclusion

This book will be a great addition to your reference library if you are at all interested in modern wheeled fighting vehicles in general or interested in ISAF/NATO vehicles specifically.  A multitude of vehicles and their markings/camouflage are covered with the use of a large number of high quality color photographs.

The only limitations of this book are those solely based upon the specific circumstances encountered by the author; most notably location of Operational Theater he was able to cover/ types of vehicle encountered.  As these issues were addressed up front by the author himself, I cannot fault him in any way.  He gives us everything he promises and then some.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Mushroom Model Publications and IPMS/USA for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

 
Copyright: Patrick Keenan - December 11, 2007