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Holograms and Holography:

Design, Techniques and Commercial Applications, John Vacca

July, 2003


Run like the wind.  Run fast and very far away from this book.  To quote another reviewer "This is the worst book on Holography in print."

Check out some of the reviews from Amazon, although I urge you to ignore the paid reviews, the people who read the book don't understand holography any more than the author does. The reviews on Amazon are interesting in that there was an incredible run to review that book in June and July of 2001 and that all the reviews were positive.  Makes one wonder if the Amazon reviewer rumors are true.

Note that for this review I didn't have access to the CD since I checked out the book from the library and the CD had been kept by someone else.  Even though I obtained the book for free, I still feel like I've been ripped off.

What's wrong with this book

In short, it's written like a 10th grade book report on holography.  It's clear that the author is not seriously involved in holography and has merely gathered together as much information he could find on the web and put it between two covers.

Many of the illustrations and text are taken directly from freely available web sites.  I have yet to find any place in the book where credit is given (although to be fair, perhaps credit is present on the CD that I didn't receive with the copy I reviewed).  There are also numerous cases where he's taken other peoples work and not only doesn't credit them in any way that I can find but adds references to the text that aren't actually present in the chapter.  An example of this is on pg 44 where he refers the reader to "[Berkhout, 7]" when there is no seventh reference.  In fact, that whole chapter is taken directly from this paper and yet I can find no proper credit given.

Vacca should have presented this book as editor and kept proper credit on the writing rather than presenting it as his own work.

The way the information is presented is very much like you'd find in sales literature.  For example, in the introduction the author says "...a holographic recording encapsulates an infinite number of views of an object".  No, there are a large number of views present in a hologram but not an infinite number.  His wording sounds good but is technically inaccurate.  This is typical throughout the book and leads me to believe that the book is not intended to "show experienced (intermediate to advanced) holography professionals how to design and create holographic applications..." but rather to help management and sales people learn just enough about holograms and how they're created in order to sell them as part of their products.

What's really wrong with this book

From the point of view of someone who actually wants to get into the business or hobby of making holograms, this book is even worse.

Vacca has no grasp of how holograms are made.  From his descriptions of vibrations (pg 24) and how they aren't a problem, to his examples of "basic" setups that are needlessly complex he demonstrates only his ability to find information on the web and gather it together into a pile of paper.

It's at this point in writing this review that I decided I would stop.  This book has wasted enough of my time and I think by this point in reading that you should have a firm understanding that I think this book is a complete waste of time and space.  Rather than reading this book, you would use your time better by checking out my links page and going to the sites you see there for more information on holography.

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