I anxiously awaited this book, and received one this holiday. I read it Christmas Day. It contains a brief overview of knife history, including flints to bronze to iron to steel, and more than one account of how many acres of trees it takes to make charcoal for fueling furnaces. Not exactly SAK information, but OK. And it contains more info about the founder, and his family, than I ever care to know.
Having had SAK knives since 1962, when I was 7, and still preferring them to all others as a hiker, camper and climber, I remember changes over the years, and was curious as to when and why they occurred. Not here.
In fact, while there are pictures of various historical SAK knives, (all closed so you cant see actual blade/tool evolution-which my lil geek mind was hoping to find) the actual info for dating and other details is not included.
Im not a collector, but I wanted to know why one of my SAKS of old is marked Elinox instead of Victorinox, why some are marked "officer suisse" and yet others, by Victorinox of even, date were not. SAK trivia, but why else buy the book?. No help, other than to confirm that Elinox was a trademark used at one time, and officer suisse was used on the knives. NO explanation of variations in the SAK sheild shape (shield with indent on top versus the short lived triangular vision i used to see in the early 70's)-no pictures of various models and variations-in tools and designs, but lots of pics of the knives being used as promos and as ads.....
The book seems to contain the type of factory promo info that is 'happy and wonderful' but not really objective. I have always been curious about Wenger, the competitor of SAKs, versus Victorinox, the latter being my preference of the two-having owned several of both and finding the latter to be the more lasting.
Seemingly the 'gentlemen's agreement' not to disparage or otherwise butt heads or tout products between the two companies is observed by the author-no comparisons, no opinions, no real information, other than both supply the Swiss Army with knives (which I already knew). To put it simply, I glean neither passion nor enthusiasm about the subject matter from the author-hes not 'into it' and the book is a cool drink of water. There are a few vignettes of people who relate tales of wonder in using their SAK's.
Why do my Wenger SAK knives seem to never be as sharp as my Victorinox versions-whats the difference in steel-admittedly all geek type questions, but who else buys this book? It also contains several pages of detailed info on what each tool in the current production SAK actually does-i.e. an instruction section-you get the same with the small paper foldout slip with the knife in the box when purchased-
Sorry, but quite a disappointment regarding some of the information I had hoped to find, and typically are addressed in other 'enthusiast' type books. I suppose if you are very new to SAKs altogether, this book might be interesting. Would I buy it had I been able to peruse it first?-not sure. I doubt it will be re-read or used as a reference.
As an update, 2012, the interested or enthusiastic Swiss Army knive lover should find "The Swiss Army Knife Owner's Manual" by Michael M. Young (2011), a true work of depth, breadth, and passion for this subject, an amazing effort to delight the curious or obsessed-available also on Amazon.