Black Rifle â M16 Retrospective – Steven/Enzell
The Black Rifle is the standard reference on the history of the AR-15/M-16. I turn to this book regularly for information and insight and I’m constantly amazed at the level of detail and insight the book provides. This is not a ‘general interest’ publication; this is really targeted more to the collector and historical enthusiast. Of particular interest to me is the extraordinary detail the authors go into to discuss and timeline out the development, testing and adoption of the M-16 by the US military. Purchasers need to keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive history of the M-16; the book was published in the late 1980’s and has not been updated since then. The rest of the history of the rifle is covered in the second volume offered by Collector Grade Publication.
I give the book 4 out of 5 stars for one reason – the very awkward and sometimes confusing layout. The publishers used a very clumsy two column layout that often breaks for the insertion of quoted material, making the narrative hard to follow in places. They would have done much better with a full page layout. On the other hand the quirky layout may be part of it’s charm. Who knows. It no longer bothers me – the quality of the content more than makes up for the layout issues – but new buyers need to be aware that certain sections can be hard to follow.
In the end, though, this is a serious, well documented, fascinating and IMPORTANT work on one of the word’s most important battle rifles. Highly recommended.