I was browsing through a 1927 copy of E. C. Crosman's book "Small Bore Rifle Shooting" a few hours ago and couldn't help but take note of his candor. Crossman is pretty blunt is stating his opinions and doesn't hesitate to name brands or specifics. Not every rifle is perfect. Indeed, all of them come in for criticism. The basic information in his book, even 83 years later, is still valid.
Other writers of the period were pretty much in the same vein: Hatcher, Wheelen, Major Askins (Charles' father) and so on right up to O'Connor. Even so, O'Connor's final volume "The Last Book" wasn't published until after his death by his direction. It's an interesting and revealing read containing a lot of information that for obvious reasons wasn't published previously.
I contrast these old men to the majority of writers today who are likely restrained from being completely open about the guns they test and review by economic reality. Even Keith and O'Connor weren't completely free of the influence of advertisers in the magazines they wrote for. It was probably judicious for them to simply not write about a gun they found wanting. I know that the American Rifleman has a policy of not reviewing a gun or gear that fails their standards.
Does anyone else enjoy reading the books of the writers of yesteryear? To me, they're refreshing.