I have now had an opportunity to go through this book properly and would like to update my inital impressions as posted here about 5 weeks ago.
Firstly, it is a very expensive buy here in the UK ! Close to US$100.00!!
That being mentioned, I do feel that Mr. Bogdan fully deserves the accolade which this book gives. He had the courage to stand on his own feet and live his vision. What he produced was without doubt the finest range of fly reels ever offered. Around these reels developed a mystique: they were virtually unobtainable for many years due to an annual output of about 300 reels. Also they were very expensive.
What emerges from the memories of the rich, famous, the many guides and friends is that Mr Bogdan is a wonderful, uncomplicated man who has always held unshakable views. A picture develops where deep friendships were forged - based on mutual respect - between the rich, the famous, the privileged and an engineer who had earned their respect and friendship by simply being the man he is in the round. That he gained entrance to the best of fishing in Norway, Canada - in fact everywhere salmon can be found - is based on his strength of character, along with the fact that he is a very fine fisherman. He may well have started by having favour pushed upon him by a few who wanted access to his reels. But there are countless stories illustrating the fact that Stan was not buyable.
A few years ago I sat in the very same boat from which he had fished for salmon the previous week at Grimersta in the Outer Hebrides. The ghillie spoke of him as being extremely knowledgeable on all aspects of salmon fishing.
The book itself is a glittering record of Mr Bogdan's background, early days, start of his reel making concern: it continues by describing the multi-faceted skills which he brought to salmon fishing. His story is covered so well by pictures, paintings, copies of letters of all sorts, that one can feel that a long period of history has suddenly been made available to cover that which for most of us until this book happened was mere mythology.
It is a well produced volume, though I would like to have seen a more comprehensive coverage of the reels themselves. (I would also like to have seen the range revised or extended so that the reels were more suitable for modern fly lines.) There are however pictures (highest quality) which include not only the standard reels, but also very special reels such as the big "Alta" salmon reel.
My major criticism is the use of a glossy china-clay paper. I have many very minor criticisms, but to state these would only display my own intolerance!
I would say that the book is an absolute must-have for anyone interested in salmon and trout reels which are the products of the "James Purdey" of reel makers.