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Books To Have For The Tsmg Library


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#1 dalbert

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 02:52 PM

I thought books might be a good topic for "Machinegunbooks.com," and I thought the board might like a picture of recommended Thompson books together, along with descriptions, ISBN numbers, and availability.

The following books are from my collection. Most are referenced fairly frequently, with some more than others. I have arranged them from left to right, in the order that they were published. Many are out of print, which will be indicated in the description.

user posted image

Starting from the top left corner:

1. The World's Submachine Guns (Machine Pistols), Vol. 1, by Thomas B. Nelson, 1963. International Small Arms Publishers. Out of print. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 63-14797. 739 pages, with 34 pages on the Thompson. This is the first volume in a 4-volume series on weapons. (Actually, there are 5 volumes, but one is not an official part of the World's Weapons series) My copy is signed by the author in 1967, to the inventor of the Smith and Wesson Model 76 Submachine Gun.

2. The Gun that Made The Twenties Roar, by William J. Helmer, 1969. The Gun Room Press. (This is a second edition printed by the Gun Room Press with an additional chapter by the late George C. Nonte, Jr. covering West Hurley Thompsons. Originals have a different cover that is shown in the picture below, and were printed by the McMillan Press.) Currently reprinted by The Gun Room Press. ISBN O-88227-007-25. 229+ pages. Excellent book written by the author while he was at the University of Texas at Austin. It covers the history of Auto-Ordnance in great detail, written as a master's thesis. I have become acquainted with Bill Helmer, and he is a great guy, and has written several gangster related books of note.

user posted image

3. The Thompson Submachine Gun, by Roger A. Cox, 1982. Law Enforcement Ordnance Company. Out of print, and very expensive to buy. Prices are currently $350-$400 to acquire this book. No ISBN noted, however there is a 1986 38-page supplement still currently available that has ISBN 0-943850-00-3. 231 pages. This was the definitive work before Tracie Hill's American Legend book. It is good, and contains some manuals printed in their entirety, but don't feel like you have to fork out the bucks to acquire this one. Tracie's book has more content, and covers just about everything that this book does.

4. Notes on Auto-Ordnance, The Thompson Submachine Gun, Second Edition, by James F. Bannan and Tracie L. Hill, 1989. Out of print. South West Publishing Co. No ISBN noted. 307 pages. This book is predominantly pictures of Thompson accessories, and is a good reference piece that I use from time to time. Most items are covered in Tracie's later book.

5. Thompson Submachine Gun Box Magazines, by Douglas W. Richardson, 1995. Currently available from the author. No ISBN noted. 56 pages. This is a great tool for identifying characteristics of patent date magazines, and all Thompson box mags. He also has a similar book on drum mags that I have not acquired yet.

6. Thompson, The American Legend, The First Submachine Gun, by Tracie L. Hill, 1996. Collector Grade Publications. Currently available. ISBN 0-88935-208-9. 559 pages. You simply must have this book if you like Thompsons. No more to say.

7. The Thompson Submachine Gun, Classic Weapons Series, by Chris Ellis, 1998. Out of print. Military Book Club. No ISBN noted. 64 pages. Marginal Thompson book, not necessary to have. Has good WWII pictures, some of which cannot be found printed elsewhere.

8. American Thunder, The Military Thompson Submachine Guns, by Frank Iannamico, 2000. Out of print. Moose Lake Publishing. No ISBN noted. 294 pages. This is a great book covering military Thompsons better than any other book up until it was published. It has been replaced by an even more thorough book, American Thunder II.

9. Colt Thompson Serial Numbers, by Gordon Herigstad, Volume Four, 2004. Currenty available ($250 + shipping) Published by the author. No ISBN noted. If you are seriously into Colt Thompsons, then you should acquire this book that attempts to document the history of every one of the 15,000 Colt Thompsons produced. It has history you will not find elsewhere for individual serial numbers. It is a tome of about 1,000,000 pages...(not really, but it's over 3 1/2 inches thick, and leather bound.) Very nice book to have in the library. They are individually serial numbered like Colt Thompsons, beginning at #41. I have #241, which was the 200th book printed.

10. On The Side of Law and Order Exhibit Catalog, 2004. Currently available. Thompson Collector's Association program for the exhibit of Thompsons at the NRA National Firearms Museum. 36 pages. I include this one because it is a great, color program that has a lot of history and information on rare Thompsons and other Auto-Ordnance items.

11. American Thunder II, by Frank Iannamico, 2004. Moose Lake Publishing. Currently available on this website. 536 pages. You must have this one if you have any interest in military Thompsons. Enough said.

I did not include any manuals or catalogs in this picture or post. They are a whole other subject that is very dear to me, and will be covered completely in a publication to come.

David Albert
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#2 Roland, Headless Thompson Gunner

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 05:51 PM

Great post Dave. Thanks for all the info. Someday maybe you can write "The History of the Thompson SMG Publicaitions"

Funny how the books may be worth as much as the actual item someday.
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#3 Zamm

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 11:53 PM

Dave,
Excellent post!
Know what holes need to be filled now1
Thanks,
Z
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#4 Merry Ploughboy

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 07:55 AM

Re No. 9, I do not believe Gordon ever refers to the covering as leather nor do I believe it to be leather. Rather a number of Nauga's gave their innocent lives to become book covers for Gordon's worthy tome.

MHO, YMMV, IYL,...

MP
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#5 dalbert

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 09:28 AM

MP,

You are correct. Imitation leather, but still nice.

David Albert
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#6 Merry Ploughboy

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 09:38 AM

Dalbert,

I'd drop Amreican Thunder (the first) and substitute United States Submachine Guns - both by Frank I.

USSG covers the TSMGs including the WH models and is a nice place to compare with the US subguns guns that followed.

MHO, YMMV,...

MP
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#7 Diane

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 10:26 AM

Thank you for the very nice photo's and your picks as good books to have in a collection.

But seeing a couple books it reminds me of something that I've been trying to find.

Does anyone know how I can contact William J. Helmer? Or if you know him, could you have him email me?

I would appreciate it. I do have his city and state, but no listing for a phone or address is available from the phone company and I cannot find one on the search using Google.
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#8 dalbert

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 05:26 PM

MP,

I almost included United States Submachine Guns, by Frank Iannamico in the picture, but I thought for Thompson coverage, his other books specific to the Thompson would overshadow it. It's definitely a great book, and you are right that it provides a good historical comparison to other subguns, as well as the WH information. I reference the book frequently. It should be added to the list.

Thanks!

David Albert
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