Number of Books:
2.3" (Vol. 3) to 2.6" (Vols. 1, 2)
17 lbs. 3 oz.
Vol. 1 = 1,330, Vol. 2 = 1,370, Vol. 3 = 1,160
Number of Photos:
Approximately 5,700 (mostly color)
Similar to the standard edition found here
, this is the signed edition, which is personalized on the inside cover of Volume I by the author, Cor Roodhorst. Dr. Roodhorst has signed very few sets, so these remain quite rare for those who collect signed editions.
There are currently only a handful of noteworthy English language reference books covering the AK-47 and its variants. Probably three of the most recognized, comprehensive, and sought-after works in the US are Frank Iannamico’s AK-47: The Grim Reaper: Second Edition, the bilingual Russian coffee table book Kalashnikov Arms by Alexei Nedelin, and AK-47 & Kalashnikov Variation by Masami Tokoi. Unlike the Nedelin book, which is more of a pictorial history with minimal textual content, Iannamico’s book is filled with both photos and written information. The Tokoi book is entirely in Japanese, but was offered with an English translation booklet that frequently is not included with the tome.
Although The Grim Reaper is superlative and arguably the finest book when compared to the other two, color photos are only found in an insert section added to the second edition. The first edition does not include them. Kalashnikov Arms is replete with beautiful images, but lacking in terms of informational content. As previously cited, AK-47 & Kalashnikov Variation frequently becomes separated from its translation booklet, making the text useless to English speakers that do not read Japanese. When the English add-on is available, the information is good, but not all-encompassing.
Furthermore, except for AK-47: The Grim Reaper: Second Edition, which was published in 2013, Kalashnikov Arms was released in 1997, while AK-47 & Kalashnikov Variation came out in 1993. Consequently, two of these reference works are relatively outdated.
Enter Dutchman Cor Roodhorst’s The Kalashnikov Encyclopaedia, which not only addresses all the shortcomings of the three books previously mentioned, but also fills in gaps that have never been addressed by any book ever written on the AK-47 and its derivatives. With a publishing date of 2015, it is also the most recently updated of all AK reference guides.
Roodhorst’s work is impossibly ambitious. In the space of three enormous volumes weighing 17 lbs. 3 oz. and spanning 3,860 pages with thousands of photographs—most of them in full color—virtually every variation of AK is covered in depth based on an evaluation and flowchart system that identifies what firearms are AKs, variants, derivatives, or distant inspirational relatives. By rating the interchangeability of parts with established AK types, while also ranking functionality and cosmetics into his methodology, Roodhorst has developed a logical classification system, along with a flowchart to explain how a firearm is classified.
For example, guns that are both Russian and indisputably pure AKs are considered to be “Original,” while those with the least amount of parts commonality are defined as “Derivative Type Z.” All of the weapons that fall in between these two maximum and minimum categories are broken down into other groupings (e.g., Copy Type A, Copy Type B, Copy Type C, Derivative Type A, Derivative Type B, Derivative Type C, Derivative Type D, and Derivative Type Y). That is how the author identifies how and what firearms are included in the encyclopedia.