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Book Review
Frituur Zorro
Frituur Zorro - A Second Life For Army Trucks
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by: Peter Wood [ PADREPETE ]

the book

Frituur Zorro from Narwal Press is both a quirky glimpse into the past in a 'where are they now' format, but also an important record for later generations of what arises from the futility of war, into the utility of hard working people. As with many an old soldier who lives and breathes amongst us, Theo Barten and Maarten Swarts understood they wanted to identify those heroes of freedom rarely thanked. They scoured Europe in the early years of the 70s in search of what many in Europe had grown up seeing as part of the lifting veil of war heralded by the Tommies and the Yanks riding 'softsides' on to Berlin to end the nightmare. These were the transports, the ambulances and command vehicles quickening the end announcing by their presence in the streets that war was to be over soon.

Sadly, like many warriors, these vehicles melted into memory, sometimes to be so well camouflaged by new owners as to seem garish or disrespected. Some were relegated to haul timber and scrap until they too ended broken and forgotten in a crowded back lot. Others found the footlights of the Carnivals travelling their final miles painted bright colors to be admired by ensuing generations of children not far removed from the horrors of a previous decade. Some still functioned in their roles as providers of comfort as with a lowly chip truck found between the covers of this fascinating book.

Theo Barten and Maarten Swarts drove criss-cross through Belgium, Northern-France, the Netherlands and the then Eastern-block countries searching out these forgotten soldiers. From their efforts the resulting black and white, and sepia-toned photographs capture these unique vehicles in the street scenes of that period. Especially interesting, the hand painted signs on some of the vehicles give the photos' a truly unique atmosphere.

For the modeler and armchair historian I am reminded of how we now see books of this caliber on such intrinsic subjects. The 169 pages bristle with diorama ideas while telling an important story often forgotten on the North American continent. Here, on this side of the pond, we were the lucky ones. Not only did we leave nations in ruins, but the vehicles we deemed not worth salvaging... unless that GMC was the only vehicle that might help you to eke out a living in post-war Europe.


This addition to your library would certainly be one to start conversations with, while Theo and Maarten tell the stories of what and where and how they found these odd vestiges of waning memory with contagious enthusiasm.

As stated in the Introduction by H. J. A. Hofland, this homage to what he calls 'Emotional Metal' is also an important addition to the field of industrial archeology, a science that emerged almost too late to preserve the battlefields, ordinance and memories of recent history.

You may order this book directly from their website, but do so soon if you want to give it as a gift... even to yourself.
Highs: Unique book by enthusiasts who documented their travels very well. It is a remarkable peek into the post war era and the ingenuity of those who found these 'treasures'.
Lows: Written in Dutch with English translation which sometimes is not up to levels found in other books using two languages. But buy it for the photographic record and unique subject.
Verdict: A rare find in what might have been an overly scholarly volume. It's an evening of fine scotch and warm conversation with new friends.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-90-9025502-6
  Suggested Retail: $65.00 USD (Suggested)
  Related Link: To purchase this book.
  PUBLISHED: Nov 23, 2010
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Narwal Press!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Peter Wood (PadrePete)

Avid modeler for many years, I have a love of people and of the modeling community and feel we are in the 'Golden Age' of modeling right now. I am never without several kits on the bench and can hardly wait for the next release. Although visually impaired, I never let a great model, book or subject ...

Copyright 2021 text by Peter Wood [ PADREPETE ]. All rights reserved.


Aah! this is so my youth! I strongly remember the groundwork for a housing project being dug by a crane on an american halftrack opposite my parental house in the early 60's
NOV 24, 2010 - 04:00 AM

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