It has been some time since I wrote a review of a fountain pen book. Andy’s 50 Years of the Dinkie is an outstanding work. As always I will do my best to be impartial but I must say at the outset that I can find nothing here about which I can be adversely critical and, frankly, there are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe the things I admire and enjoy.
The book itself is a publisher’s masterwork. I’m no book collector but if I was I am sure this volume would be among the best of modern production, from its slip cover to the glossy jacket, the logical layout and the enviable photography. And the text, the distillation of years of assiduous research.
I bought this book almost as a consolation. I knew that I would never be able to assemble a great collection of Dinkies in all their colourful glory but here they all are! The photography is so good that you can almost reach into the page and pick a pen up. Many are presented in their original boxes, the designs and colours glowing after all those years. Not only is it a great publication, it reflects a peerless collection.
I have many pen books. Most are useful and are regularly consulted. They have (mostly) accurate information and anecdotes; some have a historical narrative of a brand or of fountain pens more generally. Truth be told, however, most are not the kind of book you would take to your easy chair and read from cover to cover. This book does fall into that category. Andy is a real writer: the layout is cogent and the narrative flows.
Many fountain pen books omit an index, others do their best but indexing a series of numbered models is not an easy thing to do. If a book is to serve as a reference as well as fireside reading a good index is essential. Andy has done this as well as it can be done, given the fact that the subject material does not lend itself well to the process.
This is a great fountain pen book, one that sets a standard for future works and will be referred to frequently, not just for information but for the pleasure of studying these wonderful little pens of an earlier time. Don’t take my word for it. Go to the website https://www.englishpenbooks.co.uk/home/50-years-of-the-dinkie/ which will give you a much better idea of what to expect than I can.