Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Complete Pet Peeve

While perusing the local book store recently, I happened across a selection that reminded me of a particular pet peeve I have in relation to printed material, particularly books of a historical nature.

The item that caught my eye was a 100 page magazine format glossy publication entitled 'The Complete History of the F-86 Sabre".

To the non-military and non-aviation fans out there, the F-86 Sabre was a swept winged jet fighter of Korean War vintage. It was a very successful aircraft with a long history in many services around the world.

I skimmed through the book. It did have some very nice material in it. However, it was in no way, shape, or form a 'complete' history of the aircraft. A complete history of the Sabre has never been written. I would estimate that it would take dozens of volumes, thousands of pages, and tens of thousands of photographs to document the aircraft, and then it couldn't be termed 'complete'.

A more accurate title for the book I saw would have been 'Some Nice Stories and Pictures of the F-86 Sabre Jet'.

I know I'm nit picking, but this offends me. I am a big history buff, particularly military history. If I see a book that has 'complete' in the title, I dismiss it - it is not worth looking at, for the author is misrepresenting it. I can't tell you how many efforts entitled 'The Complete History of the United States Air Force' have polluted book store shelves across the years - most of which are well under 200 pages. How can you take a book seriously that spends a whopping 20 pages on the USAF in Vietnam, and dares call itself 'complete'?

Just one of those little things that rubs me the wrong way ...

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