Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Junk Blue Book of 1962

Here's a special treat for my readers: we have made the Junk Blue Book of 1962 available for free download here. This isn't the download link itself, but it'll take you to the page where you can get the download. No registration required, no fees -- all you need is a fair amount of patience: at more than 80 MB, it'll take a good half hour or so to download at broadband speeds. (If you're on dial-up, don't even bother.)

But before you go feast your eyes, let me tell you what it is and how this came to be.

In the early 1960s, Colonel Marion Dalby of the U.S. Marines was assigned to survey the coastal craft of South Vietnam. U.S. and South Vietnamese forces needed a kind of "spotters guide," to distinguish presumably friendly local craft from those "visiting" from North Vietnam for the purpose of infiltration and smuggling. A sailor who obviously had a strong appreciation for the culture in which he was working, Dalby took to his assignment with gusto. He collected far more information than was needed for the purposes of mere identification, and created instead a comprehensive description the junks of the country, including their construction, their use, and even ethnographic information. The work was printed in 1962 under the title Junk Blue Book by the U.S. government in a dual English-Vietnamese edition. The press run was very limited.

Capt. Robert Whitehurst, whose photos of Vietnamese junks appear in the previous post, served in Vietnam in the early 1970s, and it seems that he too contracted a jones for junks while he was there. Long after returning to the States, he had to look long and hard to find a copy of the Junk Blue Book. Appreciating both its rarity and its importance, he wanted to make it available to others. After cleaning up a complete set of scans of the book, sharpening images and otherwise improving them, he contacted me and we soon came to an agreement for Indigenous Boats to place the document online for free download.

To that end, Indigenous Boats has created a new static website, The Junk Blue Book of 1962, with a download link for the book itself. I am greatly appreciative of Capt. Whitehurst for making the document available, and we both hope you enjoy it.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, Robert, with making a priceless book available. Having a copy of a microfilm versiuon, I will enjoy more the digital version of the Junk Blue Book, 1962.
    Prof. John Kleinen
    University of Amsterdam