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"Luger: The</u> Multinational Pistol", Charles Kenyon Jr.
©1991, Richard Ellis Publications, 185 pages, o.o.p.

"Luger: The</u> Multinational Pistol" ("LtMP") is the second book by the author of the indispensible "Lugers at Random" and the monthly column of the same name in "Gun Report" magazine. The introduction notes that the book is filled with excerpts from the author's yet-to-be-published magnum opus series on the Luger Pistol. It is a large-format book (81/2 x 11 inches), beautifully printed on heavy, polished paper stock.

"LtMP" is not an encyclopedic reference like the Author's first book. Rather, it is a color catalog of both basic Luger types and interesting, noteworthy, or unique Luger pistols. Having neither table of contents nor index, it is meant for perusal rather than reference.

The book's format is similar to the "Lugers at Random": a page of description with some detail, with a large photograph on the facing page. It is here that the book is different from most of the other Luger books available. The compositions are still-life impeccable; the photos are professionally lit and shot with a large-format camera, and gorgeously printed; and the guns illustrated are in almost impossibly pristine condition. These are the 99%-plus Lugers we all dream about acquiring, and the book serves as inspiration to search out better examples in one's own collecting.

Rather than an historical narrative, "LtMP" explores the subject by example from the breadth of the Luger's geopolitical reach over its production life. Kenyon recognizes 20 countries of use over five continents and provides examples of quite a few. Most are illustrated in color although some are in b&w, obviously not available for the full treatment. The brief text presents interesting details about all these guns, but the real story is in the photographs.

The book is heavy on early Lugers, unique examples, and Swiss Lugers. Post-Weimar Mausers are included by example, Krieghoff and Simson are given pretty short shrift. One of its delights is the opportunity to examine variations almost never seen, Lugers so rarified or unique that their subject never comes up in the course of discussion. Occasionally, I'm sure, the examples are controversial. There are 98 different examples pictured, a short sampling includes:

Model 1900 7-inch barrel Commercial;

two 1906 7-shot short grip, one with a Bulgarian chamber crest;

Model 1900 Mexican Test;

Model 1902 Danzig Test;

1914 Commercial RG marked;

1906 Russian;

1906 French Commercial "Fleur de Lis" (the 'halo' around the chamber stamp shows clearly in the photograph);

1906 Vickers (with uncharacteristic fine checker, Mauser-profile grip plates);

undated Test version of the LP-08;

Swedish Air Force P-14...

I could continue, but ultimately I'd just be recreating the book here. The examples above are salted in among the almost prosaic seeming, by comparison, 1900 Commercials, Eagles, presentation guns, Cartridge Counters, Carbines, 1906s of varying descriptions, Navys, LP-08s, Persians, 1908s and 14s, Long-barrel Weimar and other specialty commercials, the list of amazing guns goes on and on...

...but the photos of the guns themselves are not the most astonishing thing about the book. Now, in the opening years of the 21st Century, the broader Luger collecting community seems to have discovered accessories. The demand, the consciousness, the cost of holsters and other accoutrements seems to be on people's minds.

"LtMP" is in the avant garde of this. The photos are not just of guns: upscreen I meant literally, still-life compositions. These include holsters, ammunition, tools, cases, manuals, Navy and Artillery rigs, magazine pouches, all picture with their appropriate weapons. And there are equally unique items pictured: an original test LP-08 with its original hollow (C-96 style) stock/holster and leather sheath; an original holster for the aforementioned 7" 1900 Commercial; original factory boxes for mid-20s commercials; Ideal stock/holster; a Benke-Thiemann folding stock with its original special holster...the list goes on here, too. Each gun in color is gloriously accoutred.

If you were to get the idea that I find this book exciting you would not be wrong. As I read this I turned page after page with open-mouthed delight. If I was going to take a book to someone and say to them "Look, here is what all the fuss is about," this would be the one.

With his two books (currently) about Lugers Kenyon has provided a complete meal. If "Lugers at Random" is the meat-and-potatos of the Luger reference library, "Luger: The</u> Multinational Pistol" is unquestionably the dessert.

--Dwight
 

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Dwight, Right you are! I am in the middle of reading this delightful book and as you say, it is a real pleasure to see the many accoutrements that accompany the pistol displayed. Very nice writeup too! Jerry burney
 

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Dwight, nice review. I felt the book was visually pretty but lacked some substance. I also though the lighting used emphasized the beauty of the pistols while perhaps not giving a clear statement of the condition. It is however my favorite coffee table Luger book.
 

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Heinz, Yes, but that is the same reason we injoy looking at Playboy....sometimes substance is not needed for enjoyment, don't you think? Jerry
 

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It is an interesting topic. I understand the publisher of this book subsequently got into trouble with the law for some misbehavior involving Colt pistols. Note that was the Publisher, not the author. I think the incredible market for one of a kind Lugers in unique condition begs for the constant boosting and forgery we see. The items in the book that I have heard questioned are the 1914 commercial carbine on Pg 48, the presentation test on page 52, and the collection of strange miscellany from page 54 to 62.

I know nothing about any of these and have no basis for opinion, outside of the strange stories the explain their existence. These are just the one I have heard discussed or seen discussed on the forums.
 

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I read the previous entries and purchased the book. I only wish I´d read the reviews more thoroughly - especially the underlying criticism and so I was more than disappointed. The text is cursory; the selection is dodgy. The photography is satisfactory if somewhat garish. Lugers from the outstanding European collections were omitted entirely. If anyone wants my copy – please make me an offer. I don´t want it.
 

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Rumour has it that a very rare example of the Freedonia presentation 1900 has been discovered. Has anyone else heard of this?
 

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Villiers, I apologize for not being more open in my critcism. I think much of the book is questionable. I have a difficult time concieving of the premise that up until at least 1962 when Fred Datig wrote his last revision none of these rare and exotic Lugers were even heard of or rumored much less seen.. Datig said "Often stories of strange and unusual Lugers come to my attention. In almost every instance they turn out to be misrepresentations, variations, usually not factory originals, or just common everyday models. Engraved, inlaid, cased and in other ways special or custom pieces appear from time to time but rarely are they ever more than ordinary examples worked over by some gunsmith or engraver." They were also not heard of in European collections. And now a new one turns up and is accepted so often than there is a complete book of them. It is a pretty book but I think it puts forth a premise that we should accept all of these rarities as likely. I like Datig's advice better.
 

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Does anyone know why the one and only Piltdown Presentation Carbine that was used by the kaiser prior to his bestowing it upon Theodore Roosevelt was not photographed? I was surprised that it was not in the book.

Tom A
 

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I don't think anyone knows where it is Tom? At least that is what I have heard over the years, it has been lost to history.
 

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.. like his revolver, a present from Queen Victoria. It was in the Berlin Arsenal (Zeugamt) Unter den Linden collection. It was then pictured after German re-unification with the caption that it was handed over by the East Germans as part of remnants of the original collection. Now it seems to have disappeared. The rest is in "storage" somewhere very secret in Spandau. Rumour has it that some rare pieces have been sold off. The Arsenal has now been re-namned the "Museum of Modern History" and weaponry is not considered "politically correct" and therefore will not be exhibited.
 

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I am a purist in many ways but heck, the thing is pretty. I don't have to analyze everything. I get a kick out of showing it to people who have never seen a Luger before.They could care less about the details. I like beautiful Women but every one dosen't have to be a scientist. Good to know about some of the peculiar things that might or might not be authentic but to tell you the truth, I never gave it much thought while looking thru this book. I use many other references I have for serious study. Like Jan Still's books....Jerry Burney
 

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Actually...with Kenyon's retirement...he really should put out a next book titled "World of Boosted Lugers"...to help beginners in the collecting field. With such experience this gun authority has, he would help the fraternity emensely.
 
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