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POLLARD'S HISTORY OF FIREARMS, edited by Claude Blair, (Macmillan: $40; 700 photographs and illustrations).

September 22, 1985|PAUL DEAN

Pollard's "History of Firearms," first compiled in 1926 by Maj. Hugh Bertie Campbell Pollard, soldier, British intelligence officer, ballistics pioneer, expert witness and shooter, has long been considered an international volume of ultimate reference. Of its time. Now the book has been fully revised and rewritten. It took Claude Blaire and an elite, 10-man committee from weapons museums and societies in England, the United States and Poland, almost two decades to rework, update and expand the original--to where it now emerges as an indispensable survey for collectors, gunsmiths and dealers. It's a work that would satisfy every Pollard passion for detail and range. The evolution of most military and civilian guns is here, from medieval to modern, from 15th-Century snap-matchlocks to Kalashnikov assault rifles. The Oriental and Levantine firearms have their chapters. So do the Colts and Remingtons of the American territories. Before his death in 1966, Pollard mentioned an ambition to editor Blaire. He asked that his name be retained as part of the title of the new edition, no matter the change in contents. Hence "Pollard's History of Firearms," a written authority so complete it could just as well have been called "Gray's Anatomy of Guns."

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