Saturday, July 23, 2011

Warships of the Bay of Quinte


April 2011
197pp, Paperback
$28.00 CAD

This is the story of six of Canada’s Warships HMCS Napanee, Belleville, Hallowell, Trentonian, Quinte (I), and Quinte (II). These histories give a unique account of the small ships that were the backbone of the Canadian Navy during the Second World War and the Cold War. The stories record the accomplishments of these hardworking ships as well as the mistakes. This rich and vivid account of an important part of Canada’s Naval Service draws from the records of the ships, interviews with their crews, letters, diaries, newspaper articles, community libraries and photographs. You will learn about HMCS Napanee as she fights a five day battle against twenty-four German submarines in on one of Canada’s most tragic convoy battles. Be with HMCS Belleville as she fights to rescue a torpedoed merchant ship and find out about how a German submarine sinks the HMCS Trentonian late in the war killing six of her crew.
This book is the first work of history by the author and unfortunately it shows.
A short list of errata is as follows:
·         Winston Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty when term “corvette” coined; not Prime Minister
·         Incorrect usage of HMCS as “the HMCS” on numerous occasions
·         Rank of Captain (N) was not used in the Second World War
·         On page 66 a location “west” of Boston was used for an incident at sea
·         Bermuda is in the Atlantic Ocean NOT the Caribbean Sea
·         CANCOMINRONONE should have been capitalized
The most glaring error was the author missing the historical significance of the ground of HMS Indomitable in 1941. This event started a chain of events which had catastrophic consequences for the Royal Navy in that Indomitable was to be the air cover for HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse in the Far East.
There are a few good illustrations in the book however not enough to recommend it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Seabound Coast

Cover for The Seabound Coast

The Seabound Coast
The Official History of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1867–1939, Volume I
By Richard H. Gimblett, William Johnston and William G.P. Rawling
January 2011
1014pp, Hardback
From its creation in 1910, the Royal Canadian Navy was marked by political debate over the country’s need for a naval service. The Seabound Coast, Volume I of a three-volume official history of the RCN, traces the story of the navy’s first three decades, from its beginnings as Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s “tinpot” navy of two obsolescent British cruisers to the force of six modern destroyers and four minesweepers with which it began the Second World War. The previously published Volume II of this history, Part 1, No Higher Purpose, and Part 2, A Blue Water Navy, has already told the story of the RCN during the 1939–1945 conflict.
Based on extensive archival research, The Seabound Coast recounts the acrimonious debates that eventually led to the RCN’s establishment in 1910, its tenuous existence following the Laurier government’s sudden replacement by that of Robert Borden one year later, and the navy’s struggles during the First World War when it was forced to defend Canadian waters with only a handful of resources. From the effects of the devastating Halifax explosion in December 1917 to the U-boat campaign off Canada’s East Coast in 1918, the volume examines how the RCN’s task was made more difficult by the often inconsistent advice Ottawa received from the British Admiralty in London. In its final section, this important and well-illustrated history relates the RCN’s experience during the interwar years when anti-war sentiment and an economic depression threatened the service’s very survival.
The amount of information, graphics, photographs and maps in this book is indeed mind-boggling.
A couple of interesting things I learned from reading this book – Britain wanted to give Canada a coal-burning Bristol Class cruiser instead of HMS Aurora and the senior destroyer commanding officer of the RCN in the 1930s had a broad black funnel cap as per the Royal Navy leader tradition.
A very big well done to Dr Gimblett and his co-authors.

Whelks to Whales, Revised Second Edition

ISBN 13: 978-1-55017-491-5 
ISBN 10: 1-55017-491-6
Price: $25.95 CAD; $25.95 USD
500+ color photographs
5.5 x 8.5 - 328 pp
March 2011

Whelks to Whales, Revised Second Edition
Coastal Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest
By Rick M. Harbo
One of the best-selling concise guidebooks to marine life of the Pacific Northwest now revised and updated.
Newly revised and updated in 2010 with additional photographs and up-to-date names, this full-color field guide to the marine life of coastal British Columbia, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and northern California is perfect for divers, boaters and beachcombers. It is a ready reference to more than 400 of the most common species, the fascinating local sponges, jellyfish, crabs, shrimp, barnacles, clams, snails, seals, fish, whales, sea algae and hundreds of other living things that can be observed and identified without being disturbed. The book is arranged for quick identification with color-coded sections, full-color photographs and comprehensive but concise information on size, range, habitat and facts of interest about each species. A glossary, checklist, reading list and full index are included.
Yet another extraordinary work from Harbour Publishing, both well written and with an excellent look and feel. The size and weight make this book an excellent addition to a picnic basket, beach excursion or boat ride in the Pacific Northwest. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Field Guide to Sea Stars of the Pacific Northwest

ISBN 13: 978-1-55017-513-4 
ISBN 10: 1-55017-513-0 Price: $7.95 CAD; $7.95 USD  Pamphlet color photographs 37 x 9  March 2011

A Field Guide to Sea Stars of the Pacific Northwest
By Neil McDaniel

Sea stars are amongst the most common and conspicuous invertebrates that thrive in the rich waters of the Pacific Northwest, from northern California to southeast Alaska. Worldwide there are more than 2,000 different species, but no other temperate region has a greater variety and abundance of these colorful and often very large echinoderms, which are closely related to sea urchins, sea cucumbers, brittle stars and feather stars. An underwater photographer, journalist and naturalist with over 40 years of diving experience, Neil McDaniel provides many original field observations to accompany his remarkable images of these fascinating animals.

This durable, water-resistant 8-fold field guide describes how to identify more than 30 species likely to be encountered by beach walkers and scuba enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest. It also provides intriguing details about their behavior, including how they move about, hunt for prey, reproduce and avoid predators. It is an ideal companion for family explorations to the sea shore, an invaluable reference in any scuba diver's kit bag and a useful addition to the home library.

As a big fan of the layout and design work of Harbour Publishing, they never cease to amaze with their ever increasing abilities for putting out an outstanding production. This fold out guide to Sea Stars should be a must for every lover of boating and beachcombing in the Pacific Northwest.