I'm literally just finishing the final chapter of Roger Hicks' "History of the 35mm Still Camera" and would highly recommend it. It contains a wealth of information, not just on models we know and love, but also on some weird and wonderful duds, clunkers and still-borns. The book carries Roger's personal slant on things, so it's more than just "in 1962 Minolta marketed the ST808 with double-reciprocating sprocket drive" and I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly with some views whilst thinking "..hang on a minute, Roger" for others. That tends to make it thought-provoking rather than just a case of mopping up information and all the better for it!
Originally Posted by BobbyR
My only regret was that there wasn't more of it, for the purely selfish reason that my interest in cameras extends beyond the 1968 (if I remember rightly) cut-off of the book. For me, the advent of carbon fibre SLR bodies and auto-focussing is the end of my period of interest. There's a lot that could be written about the early string-and-chewing gum attempts at auto exposure in the early 1970s, some of which were ingenious in their thinking, even if the reliability didn't live up to expectations.
Unfortunately, the book isn't cheap when it can be found (good books rarely are), but should be a part of every historic camera enthusiast's book collection.