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Ultimate Encyclopedia of Knots and Ropework: Knots and Ropes for All Pursuits from Sailing and Fishing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2002

    Good coffee-table book

    This is a fine book within obvious limits. The author is clearly a skilled knot-tyer, but I submit that this book is not encyclopedic in scope, nor can it properly be described as 'ultimate.' An average page teaches one knot: there are large color photographs of the knot in various stages of completion, and a shot of the finished knot in a somewhat decorative--fanciful--context (lying on a weathered board, hitched around a piece of wrought iron). Even the use of photographs does not guarantee clarity: sometimes you must squint to see if a rope lies over or under another; or striped cordage may be used, rendering ambiguous the distinction between the edge of a rope and the pattern on its surface. This format is not 'Mickey Mouse,' but it may be too 'Martha Stewart' for some tastes. If you learn from photographs better than from line drawings, this may be for you. Even if you are not serious about knot-tying, it is a pretty volume to flip through. The Ashley Book of Knots, in contrast, costs less than twice as much, is less than twice as thick, yet seems to include about ten times as many knots (as it uses smaller line drawings), plus a wealth of ancillary information, including lore, caveats, comparisons, nomenclature, anecdotes. The two works illustrate the difference between expertise and mastery.

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