I already have Volume 2 of Dian Hanson's encyclopedic _History of Men's Magazines_, detailing what I believe to be the golden age of that genre (the 1950's), so I was really looking forward to getting Volume 1. This volume is presented just as beautifully as the other five volumes in the series, with lots of gorgeous full-page color and B&W photos.
However, there is a very big oversight, not to say error, in the material contained in this volume. Let me explain; Volume 1 bills itself as covering the history of men's magazines from 1900 to the period immediately after World War II. OK. So where are all the pictures from 1900 to the beginning of the 1920's? Certainly, there weren't very many magazines specializing in girlie art or photography before the Roaring Twenties, but France did have several, most notably the famous "La Vie Parisienne", which started publishing in, I believe, the 1870's and ran almost continuously for seven or eight decades. There was a LOT of first-class girlie art in that 'zine from the 1870's to the 1910's (including some classic art produced during World War I) that Hanson could have located and reproduced. Also, what about the Gibson Girl in "Life"? That's not strictly "girlie" art within the parameters set by this series, to be sure, but she was such an iconic figure that she should have gotten at least a couple of pictures. Or what about all the "French postcards" of the Gay Nineties and after? Those directly adumbrated the later girlie magazines, and also go unrepresented, at least in the pictures.
Furthermore, Hanson errs seriously in putting a large number of pictures from the 1950's and 1960's in a volume that is expressly _not_ dedicated to those decades (the 1960's, in fact, get two volumes later on in the series). She may have intended to show how girlie photography developed over the decades, but there was plenty of room later on in the series to do that. The space misappropriated to those pictures would much better have been allocated to the kind of imagery I described in the previous paragraph.
Sorry, Dian. I really like Volume 2. Volume 1, however, is a rather disappointing introduction to what should have been a definitive reference work on a little-studied genre.