Rivets Of The Warsaw Pact, by Russell Phillips
As someone who has read quite a great many of the author’s books , I was moderately puzzled by receiving a .pdf with a short seven-page book that was marked as essential reading for rivet counters. Of course, the book was the author’s mildly droll version of an April Fool’s Joke, and should best be read as a short work of comedy. The author can be praised for not having taken the joke too far and made it too long. It is enjoyable to read a seven page joke volume promoting the author’s upcoming work, and hopefully the others who received this book and read it had the same indulgent smile that I did when viewing the book. It would have been a vastly less enjoyable volume had it gone on for hundreds of pages or if it had been written in Cyrillic script or something like that. As it was, the joke book was executed in good taste and thus has considerable value not only as a humorous text but also as an advertisement of the author’s reading (more on that below) as well as a possible collector’s item for those who are fans of the author’s work and want to see his more humorous side as a historian of military equipment.
The contents of the book are brief and somewhat random in nature. As noted above, the book begins with a title page that recommends this book as essential reading for rivet counters. After this there is a rather straightforward and sparse title page, which could have easily included an ISBN number or something relating to it to make the joke even more serious. After this is a discussion of the rivet patterns of the SSh-40 helmet with the face of a soldier fuzzed out in the accompanying photograph, and then a discussion with photo of the Mi-2 transport helicopter with its riveted design. Another riveted vehicle, the ZSU-23-4 Shilka, follows, by which point the reader should be clued in on the fact that this book is even more random and scattered than the author’s works usually are. It is at this point, mercifully, that the author then explains that this short .pdf book was a joke book, advertises his mailing list, and gives a plug for an upcoming book on the artillery of the Warsaw Pact that he is working on, followed by the image credits used for the joke.
Although in general I do not tend to be greatly fond of April Fool’s Jokes, I thought this one was used for a good purpose. It combines a good deal of whimsy with a bit of actual research, albeit of a random and somewhat unconnected kind (aside from the frame joke of rivets). The work as a whole combines topical/seasonal humor along with references to the author’s interest in military technology and the author’s skill at advertising and marketing his works. Although short, this book is essential reading for those who like to combine April Fool’s humor with reading on military history, and is the sort of work that might bring a smile even if it is read later. If you are fortunate enough to have received this e-mail and its accompanying joke e-book, it is a book with saving and worth savoring as well, for military history is often far too serious a matter for people to joke about. This book, in taking a humorous approach to such matters, is well worth enjoying and appreciating not only now but in the future as well.
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