Order of the Badge of Honor / Order of Honor; History and Awards, by Oleg Derevyanko and Valeriy Durov, C 2020, Moscow.
The book is a result of many years of painstaking research by its principal author Oleg Derevyanko, who is generally recognized in Russia as top expert on the Order of Badge of Honor, with collaboration of late Valeriy Durov, a world- renowned award historian, book author and museum curator. It is similar in format to the previously published volumes of the "Collector's Books" series which included landmark reference guides on specific Soviet decorations such as the Order of the Red Banner and Order of the Red Star. This book's focus however is somewhat different: although it covers all the major types and variations, it goes much more in depth with regards to the history of this fascinating Soviet award, details of its manufacture, and statistics of its bestowal.
Speaking of the latter, the amount of information included is simply mindboggling. It has everything: from serial number ranges reserved for industrial enterprises and organizations to number of foreigners awarded during and after WW2, from demographic breakdown of the recipients to specific amounts of money allocated by the Soviet government for the production of awards, and on and on - too many data points to mention in this brief review. Beside other things, there is a list of the first award decrees starting from the establishment of the Badge of Honor in 1935 with award serial numbers allocated for people awarded by those specific decrees - an extremely helpful feature considering that Russian civilian archives are often not within easy reach.
Not to appear too dry, the book is literally chock-full of specific examples of award recipients and their achievements - many of them extremely interesting and unusual - that are in many cases accompanied by a b/w photo of the awardee. The volume is also richly illustrated throughout with huge close-up photos of the awards, issue cases, order booklets, award decrees and related paperwork. In this regard, the Badge of Honor reference guide is next to none although to reiterate, its main subject is historical development of the decoration and practice of its bestowal as opposed to fine points of the numismatics (which will be the subject of the second Badge of Honor book by Derevyanko reportedly planned to be in print in 2021.)
This reference book will undoubtedly remain the ultimate word on the subject. It can be a fantastic source for a historian or serious collector of Soviet decorations.
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