Book Review

Das grosse Buch vom Messer
‘Das grosse Buch vom Messer’ (The Big Book of Knives) is a new German-language title, offering a comprehensive overview of different aspect of this versatile tool.
The worst part of the German-language book, ‘Das grosse Buch vom Messer’, is the subtitle: “Everything about the most important tool of humanity”. Everything about knives in a 216-page book? Both the author and publisher should have known better than that.
It is a bit of a pity, because Das grosse Buch vom Messer is a really pleasing, beautifully made book. Twelve short chapters deal with different aspects: knife history, fixed blades, kitchen knives, folding knives, razor blades, multi-tools, special purpose knives, handle materials, blade shapes, sharpness, blade steel, and correct methods for sharpening. An appendix explains the most common knife-terms and finally, there is a steel chart showing the composition of the most important types of steel.
The chapters are illustrated with high-quality, large-size colour pictures, mostly of factory knives. The text is well-written and full of interesting anecdotes, clearly demonstrating the pleasure the author must have taken from writing this book.
However, it is not a standard work, as the subtitle would suggest. ‘An introduction to the world of knives’ would be a better description. That would also reflect the depth of information, which is wonderful for an aspiring knife enthusiast but has less to offer to experienced collectors or knife makers.
Oliver Lang-Geffroy
Das grosse Buch vom Messer. Alles über das wichtigste Werkzeug der Menschheit.
Wieland Verlag GmbH, Bad Aibling, 2017.
216 pages, ca. 400 illustrations, hardcover.
ISBN 978-3-938711-84-2. Price € 29,90.