I've grown to believe I was loner when it came to the fascination with Lego, yet many individuals I've met over the years gradually begin to admit it. What was always missing though was a comprehensive guide, or indeed detailed catalogue of all the Themes that have existed, and the sets within them. Even as I was building my sets in the early 90's as a child, I knew their was a wealth of history before all the sets I owned.
So once again, Waterstones came to rescue as I saw this book on one of my time-killing visits, taking me completely by surprise. Just as an early eye-opener, it appears this book is available both on its own (as it appears on this Amazon product page) and as part of a set with another book called 'Standing Small', a catalogue of all the mini-figures in Legos history. I was fortunate enough to lay my hands on this box-set, and so while I talk 'The Lego Book' first, bare in mind 'Standing Small' is not part of this product page.
As you flick through this book, you'll end up talking to yourself, saying "Oh.. I always wanted that one!" and most of the other comments you'd make in a toy shop. This is the great thing about the book - it's not a progressive narrative, as although theirs an introduction by the author, aside the from the small pieces of text explaining particular themes, this should be treated as a graphical book and not a textual analysis. So, if you like big colourful pictures like me, you're bound to be entertained!
What becomes apparent when viewing the transitions of bricks and themes is that the 1990's was surely a peak for companies imagination and creativity. 'Specialised bricks' (parts that have limited function or use) seem to have taken over the assembly and picturesque beauty of what you knew what was a model made purely out of similar bricks. This has begun to become lost, as more modern themes rely on special bricks to make sets easier to build, less pieces used, and to make them look more 'modern'. The problem with this is that modernism ages quickly. As we have already seen, plain bricks don't.
At the end of each Chapter (which is basically highlighted by the Theme in question), their are pages dedicated for "Sets To Remember" - basically, what are considered to be the best sets. Many buffs will undoubtedly argue at some of the choices, but its always lovely to see new sets you've never seen, and the ones you just wished you had. If anything, the book has brought back for my love for the brand and the urge to track down a classic Pirate Ship!
The product itself is of excellent quality and very well constructed - a nice hard cover and very detailed pictures and diagrams inside. As I said, while this isn't a text-based analysis of their brands history, it provides more answers through diagrams and smaller text boxes which is far easier to take in. Therefore, I wouldn't recommend it for referencing (studies), but as a complete and in-depth insight into the world of Lego, this has been a brick-tacular purchase!