'A Quiet Greatness' Is The Coffee Table Book You Actually Want For The Holidays

'A Quiet Greatness' Is The Coffee Table Book You Actually Want For The Holidays

You’ve probably gotten some terrible car gifts in your years. Boomer-core t-shirts of Corvettes, monthly calendars of RAM TRXes — it seems like family members just see “car person” and don’t really investigate much further when buying gifts. Truly, it is a struggle.

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Coffee table books are usually some of the worst gifts. They’re always the same old cars, the same old photographs, and the same old information. If only someone would look a little harder and get you something new this year — something like “A Quiet Greatness.”

Full Disclosure: Author Myron T Vernis loaned me a copy of “A Quiet Greatness” for review. I read it, loved it, photographed it, and sent it on its merry way.

Photo: Steve DaSilva / Jalopnik

“A Quiet Greatness,” from Mark R. Brinker and Myron T. Vernis, is in many ways a traditional automotive coffee table book. It has photos and text of various cars from various manufacturers, tracking how both the cars and their makers changed through the years. But “A Quiet Greatness” has two things that set it apart from the crowd: Its subject matter, and its quality.

First, the subject matter. This is not another book about the history of the Mustang, GTO, Corvette, or any other good ol’ fashioned American V8 monster. Instead, “A Quiet Greatness” covers the best and brightest vehicles to ever come from Japan — from Acura to Yamaha, all the heavy hitters are represented.

Image for article titled 'A Quiet Greatness' Is The Coffee Table Book You Actually Want For The Holidays

Photo: Steve DaSilva / Jalopnik

To merely say “represented,” though, does “A Quiet Greatness” a disservice. It’s clear that Brinker and Vernis genuinely love these cars, and that adoration shows through in the presentation. Every photo is impeccable, every word carefully chosen. I’ve never seen a coffee table book with such attention to detail, and only few books of any category.

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As a longtime JDM fan, I’m an easy target for a book like this. I’ve dreamed of owning a Datsun Z seemingly since birth — of course I’d want to see beautiful, glossy images of them. But for car enthusiasts who haven’t quite caught the JDM bug, “A Quiet Greatness” may just sell you.

Yes, the second-generation NSX is in the book. It deserves its spot among the greats.

Yes, the second-generation NSX is in the book. It deserves its spot among the greats. Photo: Steve DaSilva / Jalopnik

The loving histories give these amalgamations of metal and leather real humanity — the kind of character that you usually have to drive a car to identify. Here, Brinker and Vernis have done the hard work for you. You just have to sit back and read.

“A Quiet Greatness” isn’t cheap — it’s listed for $395 — but it’s unparalleled in what you actually get. Hopefully you’ve got a really rich, very loving relative out there for the holidays. If so, you know what to send them as your wish list.

Image for article titled 'A Quiet Greatness' Is The Coffee Table Book You Actually Want For The Holidays

Photo: Steve DaSilva / Jalopnik