Dave Hunter's previous books The Fender Telecaster: The Life and Times of the Guitar That Changed the World and The Fender Stratocaster: The Life and Times of the World's Greatest Guitar and Its Players have both been reviewed on these pages. Both a writer and a musician, the author brings to his books the mentality of both a researcher and a player. He understands the instruments he's writing about because he's undoubtedly held them in his hands.
This time around, Dave goes hunting for the Gibson Les Paul. Like his previous books, he runs through the instrument's history then dissects the tonal elements by examining the woods, pickups, bridges, frets, necks, et al, that were used in building these iconic guitars. There are numerous profiles on key Les Paul players. including Paul Kossoff, Peter Frampton, Jimmy Page, Billy F. Gibbons, Mick Ronson, and of course, Les Paul himself.
The main distraction here--and it is the same negative criticism leveled at the other two books mentioned here--is the continuity and layout. For example, the book begins with a history of the guitar, but 15 pages in this section is displaced by a profile of Les Paul. In order to continue reading the history, you have to skip multiple pages. It is confusing. Additionally, if a particular Les Paul is being discussed, the accompanying photos will have nothing to do with that specific instrument--which is strange, because the photos here are terrific; they just don't match up with the copy.
Short of that, this is a terrific book on the Les Paul. Hunter has done his homework and lays out a detailed and well-researched story.