Saturday, December 22, 2012

Missing A Story of American Merchant Mariners in World War II

Missing a Story of American Merchant Mariners in World War II

By Norma Andreasen

ISBN 9781466485426 Self published 2004 

This book is a good example of why we don't normally review self-published works. The text changes font, websites are reference with hyperlinks not taken out and the research is somewhat lacking.
While the book is an attempt to record the disappearance of tanker Esso Williamsburg in 1942, it tries to be an homage to the US Merchant Marine in general during the Second World War.
Good selection of photos, but the reproduction was not very good. In the text, destroyer HMCS Kootenay spelled Skootenay. Ships of Convoy 101 - research on the convoy would have been nice.
A real disappointment, this book presents like an essay from a high school freshman.

Infamous Aircraft

Infamous Aircraft

By Robert Jackson

ISBN 9781848846586 Paperback 176 pages March 2012

Everyone has a good idea about the history of the famous aircraft of the 20th Century, but about the ones that were, to be polite, not so great.
Author Jackson has done a commendable job of telling the story of some the quirky and novel designs. These range from dirigibles and aircraft, combat and civil, from biplanes to jets.
The text is fairly well written and flows quite well.
Great work and we hope Mr Jackson puts out another book.

U-108 At War

U-108 at War

By Alistair Smith

ISBN 9781848846678 Paperback 144 pages Pen and Sword Press July 2012

Smith has done a very good job attempting to make sense of this private photo collection illustrating just what life was like on a Second World War U-boat. Amazingly none of the subjects seem to mind which leads one to conclude that there was no censorship ban on photography as in most Allied navies. 
A few minor errors of note in the text:
-There was no Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1941
-Misidentifies the ubiquitous drifter, used by most European navies, as merchant vessels
- No Type XXI submarines went to France in German service
- Cam ship aircraft pilots would bail out near a ship and not just over land
- Allied Convoy commander was a Commodore not a Commander
- Confused a boat rope with boat lowering in one caption
- Photo on page 144 looks like a toilet seat and hence why the crewmember was in that awkward spot
Apart from this, the photos and most of the text gives one of the best looks at what it was like to have served in the U-boat force with one of the highest fatality rates of any service during this conflict.
Congratulations to Mr Smith and Pen and Sword on this worthwhile addition to the historical record.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Descent Into Darkness

By Edward C Raymber

ISBN 9781591147244 Paperback/eBook 240 Pages US Naval Institute Press March 2012

This book is an excellent account of life as a hard hat navy diver just prior to and the first two years of US involvement in the Second World War. Based in California, the author and his dive team were rushed to Pearl Harbor via aircraft to take part in the desperate attempt to recover survivors from the sunken ships of the famous Japanese attack. Great detail is recorded on the trials and tribulations with some success. Unfortunately most of the efforts later turned to recovery of bodies and valuable items. The exhausting work left many with what in those days were probably cases of undiagnosed PTSD from seen bodies floating around inside sunken ships. One eerie instance even tells of coming across a compartment where some crewmembers of a capsized ship stayed alive for several days before succumbing. 
Later parts of the book detail a brief stint on an Apaches Class fleet tug before it was sunk in the Solomons from enemy action. The survivors were taken ashore and employed on Guadalcanal and Tulagi in various capacities, all the while experiencing the horrors of the snake-infested terrain and combat operations.
This book is an excellent opportunity for the reader to familiarize themselves on what life was like for the junior enlisted personnel of those momentous times.

Destined for Glory

By Thomas Wildenberg

ISBN 9781591149699 Paperback/Ebook 288 Pages 1998 US Naval Institute Press March 2012

This book is in a nice easy to read format and contains some photos of rare and famous aircraft. The art of dive bombing was practiced by all navies in the 1920s through to the final aircraft employed - the Grumman A-6 Intruder. This book covers the development of the dive bomber for the US Navy & Marine Corps up the their successes in the Battles of Coral Sea and Midway. 
For aviation buffs, this book would make a welcome addition to their collection.

Flightline Series 1: de Havilland Sea Vixen 1 and 2

by Roy Sutherland

Click to enlarge

Subtitled as an in-depth photographic study, this book does what it says on the cover.  After an eight page short history of the Sea Vixen by Chris Bucholtz, the remaining hundred pages of this book include clear and detailed colour photographs of every inch of this unique British naval fighter.  No more than three photos are included on any one page and some technical drawings are interspersed where appropriate.  As expected, the photos are of preserved museum aircraft and the one remaining flying Sea Vixen.  Cockpit, landing gear, and airframe details are all here.  Highly recommended for anyone wanting to super-detail the new Airfix or Cyberhobby Sea Vixens. (Jim Bates)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Uncharted Waters: A History of the Canadian Helicopter-Carrying Destroyer Second Edition

By Shawn Cafferky
March 2012
ISBN: 978-1-896440-68-2
$25.00 CDN (plus S&H)

After learning the author was deceased, I was at first tempted to give this book a sympathetic review. However, after due consideration, I decided it would do our readers a disservice. 
The book contains a number of errors, which leaves the other work suspect. Some examples (which should have been caught in proof reading and/or editing):

  • Vice Admiral PW Nelles referred to as Admiral
  • HMCS Prestonian said to be a Loch Class frigate
  • HMS Surprise listed as cruiser instead of the CinC Yacht for the Mediterranean Fleet
  • Stated ASROC could not be fitted on a destroyer hull when the US Navy fitted over 150 ships and Canada four
  • The McDonnel Banshee was never operated from HMCS Magnificent
  • HMCS Crusader was listed as one of the first eight ships to be converted to DDH status - but why this was not done is never revealed.
In addition, the quality of the photos is very poor. Drawings of various proposals would certainly be of use.

For these reasons, we reluctantly cannot recommend this book.

Nomonhan 1939

By Stuart D Goldman

ISBN 9781591143291 Hardcover & eBook 288 pages US Naval Institute Press April 2012 

Largely ignored by history, the Soviet Union's war with Imperial Japan along the Manchuria/Mongolia border is finally studied in depth. This war's outcome, with the Soviets victorious, lead to dramatic changes in the future course of World War II. The Japanese defeat lead them to instead focus south to the Philippines and Southeast Asia. The Soviets, after their victory, were then free to enter into their infamous non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany which preceded the invasion of Poland. Congratulations to Dr Goldman for documenting this event.

Strike Warfare in the 21st Century

By Dale E Knutsen


ISBN 9781612510835 Hardcover & eBook 208 pages Naval Institute Press May 2012

Strike warfare is a term rarely used in the media and almost never explained, although reports of conflicts often describe its application or effects. To provide readers with a better appreciation for this powerful military capability, Dale E. Knutsen defines the term and traces its development. The book opens with a discussion of strike warfare operations and addresses the targets, defenses, resources, and steps required to prosecute an attack. The second half of the book describes how strike weapons are developed. The author’s goal is to eliminate the uncertainty, mystery, and outright fiction that sometimes exist in various explanations of the term. Knutsen closes with some thoughts about lessons learned and trends for the future.
The author spent many years at NAWC China Lake and is a good source of unclassified information on this topic. This book makes for a handy reference tool without getting too dry. The days of aircraft flying low on a bombing run a thing of the past with today's technology making the target not even aware they are about to be vanquished.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Echoes Across Seymour

ISBN 13: 978-1-55017-588-2
ISBN 10: 1-55017-588-2
Price: $39.95 CAD; $39.95 USD
150 B&W and color photographs
8.75 x 11.25 - 256 pp
November 2012

Another masterpiece from Harbour Publishing. The very active Deep Cove Heritage Society selected three members to put for the history of the area of North Vancouver roughly east of the Seymour River. Included are an Indian Reserve, waterfront, various commercial and residential neighborhoods including Deep Cove and the Mount Seymour ski and recreational area. The book is printed in an easy to read two column format and profusely illustrated with black and white and color photography. For current, former and future residents of this dynamic region, this book is highly recommended.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Float Planes and Flying Boats

9781612511078 By Capt. Robert B Workman USCG (Ret'd) Naval Institute Press 2012

With nearly 300 vintage photographs and close to 300 pages of text, retired U.S. Coast Guard aviator Capt. Robert Workman presents a complete picture of naval aviation’s rapid development between 1911 and 1938.  Frustrated by the lack of information specifically about the Coast Guard’s aviation heritage, the author undertook research of his own.  The result is a balanced look at early naval aviation that, for the first time, gives full credit to the important contributions made by Coast Guardsmen.  He shows that it was thanks to their creativity, skill, and determination, along with efforts by the other sea services, that such great strides were possible.  Several chapters are devoted to the inventions of the float plane and flying boat and why the flying boat was considered more seaworthy and reliable.
This book contains an excellent collection of photos and research but lacks focus on what it wants to be. Not sure if it was to be a biography of first USCG aviator Elmer Stone, a history of events or a history of the aircraft involved. Author Workman would have done well to split this into separate projects. The end result was a big disappointment.

The Uchuk Years

Book Cover
978-1-55017-582-0 By David Esson Young Harbour Publishing 2012

On the wild west coast of Vancouver Island, those days still exist, as this book reveals in vivid detail. Relating the trials and tribulations of what surely must be the last of Canada’s historic coastal shipping lines, The Uchuck Years is a rare first-person account by an old salt who owned and captained his own vessels. Enduring for sixty-five years, the company that came to be known as Nootka Sound Service Limited is still in operation to this day, though David Young no longer owns it and has recently sworn off serving as skipper even in a relief capacity.
Initially serving the communities of Ucluelet and Bamfield, the company refocused its efforts when Highway 28 was punched through the mountains from Campbell River to Gold River in 1959. Logging and mining camp bosses farther up coast in the Nootka Sound and Kyuquot areas were convinced of the company’s usefulness, allowing it to move its service farther north along the remote West Coast. The four company vessels—all named Uchuck—have hauled passengers and freight ranging from the more usual outpost supplies to broken aircraft, totem poles and, more recently, kayaks and camping gear for eco-touring expeditions. Every day is an adventure on the Uchuck and the ships have been called upon countless times to perform boat rescue and other emergency support. Young’s gripping first-hand accounts of stormy passages through waters once known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific” are interspersed with his anecdotes about the colourful boss loggers and hermits who make this storm-tossed but incredibly scenic wilderness one of coastal BC’s most fascinating places. The Uchuck Years is transportation history par excellence, a great seafaring yarn and an important history of one of BC’s most charismatic regions.

I have always been fascinated by this class of ship, built in the US for the US and British Navies in World War II. This book is a great addition to the historical record on this type of ship whose two most famous postwar conversions were Jacques Cousteau's Calypso and John Wayne's Grey Goose. Uchuk III should be included in this grouping. The author spent 40 years working on the remote western Vancouver Island wilderness and brings this experience to good use. The reader is left feeling as if they are there during the narrative. Thank you Harbour Publishing for bringing yet another of your classics on British Columbia history to market.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

From Forecastle to Cabin Captain Samuel Samuels

Seafarer's Voices 8: From Forecastle to Cabin

9781848321267 Seaforth Publishing 2012

This is the autobiography of an American who ran away to sea at the age of 11 and charts his rise from the lowliest seaman (berthed under the forecastle) to the command of his own ship and the occupation of the luxurious after cabin. In the course of an action-packed career spanning half a century, he experienced almost all of the vicissitudes of life in the nineteenth-century merchant service: storm and shipwreck, famine and disease, press-gangs and desertion, piracy, violence and mutiny – this last, at different times, as both mutineer and victim. Like many a sailor he was often in more danger ashore than afloat, but many of his adventures make excellent stories – not least his romantic, but foolhardy rescue of a Christian woman from the harem in Constantinople. In this case the story did not quite follow the script, as she married his accomplice in the rescue. Samuels is best known for his later career, as captain of the packet ship Dreadnought, a ship built especially for him and under his direction. Known as ‘The Wild Boat of the Atlantic’ in the 1850s this ship was reckoned the fastest vessel on the New York–Liverpool service, and regularly beat even the steamers on this route. This success was largely down to Samuels’ hard-driving style as master, and much of the latter part of the book is taken up with the resulting crew troubles, culminating in a full-blown mutiny that he put down with characteristic forcefulness.
This work is a revamped and abridged version of a book first published in 1877. The result results in what was apparently a tedious tome in its original guise into something eminently readable. The late 19th century was indeed the ultimate age of the sailing ship as they were rapidly being replaced by steam powered vessels in both mercantile and military service. For fans of sailing ships and life at sea, this book would make a fine addition to their collection.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Naval Warfare 1914-1918: From Coronel To The Atlantic And Zeebrugge

By Tim Benbow Amber Books 9781906626167

At the start of the war, the German Empire had cruisers scattered across the globe, some of which were subsequently used to attack Allied merchant shipping. The British Royal Navy systematically hunted them down, though not without some embarrassment from its inability to protect Allied shipping. However, the bulk of the German East-Asia squadron did not have orders to raid shipping and was instead underway to Germany when it encountered elements of the British fleet. Soon after the outbreak of hostilities, Britain initiated a naval blockade of Germany. The strategy proved effective, cutting off vital military and civilian supplies. The 1916 Battle of Jutland developed into the largest naval battle of the war, the only full-scale clash of battleships during the war. The Kaiserliche Marine's High Seas Fleet, commanded by Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer, squared off against the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet, led by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. The engagement was a standoff, as the Germans, outmaneuvered by the larger British fleet, managed to escape and inflicted more damage to the British fleet than they received. Strategically, however, the British asserted their control of the sea, and the bulk of the German surface fleet remained confined to port for the duration of the war. German U-boats attempted to cut the supply lines between North America and Britain. The nature of submarine warfare meant that attacks often came without warning, giving the crews of the merchant ships little hope of survival. The U-boat threat lessened in 1917, when merchant ships entered convoys escorted by destroyers. With the last few men who served in World War I now dying out, and the 90th anniversary of the Armistice coming in November 2008, there is no better time to reevaluate this controversial war and shed fresh light on the conflict. With the aid of numerous black and white and color photographs, many previously unpublished, the World War I series recreates the battles and campaigns that raged across the surface of the globe, on land, at sea and in the air. The text is complemented by full-color maps that guide the reader through specific actions and campaigns.
Profusely illustrated, this book is written in an easy to read format.

Abandon Ship! The Post-War Memoirs of Captain Tony McCrum RN

Abandon Ship!

By Tony McCrum 9781848846661 2012 Pen and Sword Books

Captain Tony McCrum’s naval career started in 1932. He survived the sinking of HMS Skipjack at Dunkirk and went on to serve on minesweepers and at sea during the landings at Salerno. His wartime experiences were recently published as Sunk by Stukas.

This book covers the second part of his naval career between 1945 and 1963. Having arrived back in Plymouth from Trincomlee as a lieutenant aboard the destroyer Tarter in November 1945, his first appointment was as senior instructor at the RN Signals School in Devonport. There then followed two appointments as Flag Lieutenant; first to Admiral Pridham-Wippell, CinC Plymouth Command and then Admiral Sir Rhoderick McGrigor, CinC Home Fleet, where he was also Deputy Fleet Communications Officer. He was based on the admiral’s flagship, the battleship HMS Duke of York which he joined in 1947. The fleet exercised in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and ‘showed the flag’ in various ports in the USA, Caribbean Islands and the Baltic. In May 1948 he was promoted Lt. Commander. In 1950 he instructed at the main Naval Signals School at Leyedene House near Petersfield.

Promoted Commander, now 32 years of age, he was surprised to be appointed to accompany King George VI on a state visit to Australia and New Zealand. This was to be aboard the liner SS Gothic as there was no Royal Yacht at that time. However after months of preparation the voyage was cancelled because of the King’s terminal illness and the coronation of Britain’s new Queen.

In November 1954 he took his first command, HMS Concord, a destroyer in the 8th Destroyer Squadron based in Hong Kong. During his eighteen month captaincy of this ship he saw action off the coast of Malaya and a lengthy visit to Australia to assist in the aftermath of a hurricane. After a spell ashore as Training Commander at HMS Ganges and after promotion to Captain in 1958, he was sent to Norway on the staff of the CinC Northern European Command. In November 1960 he was again given a seagoing command. He was to skipper HMS Meon and responsibility for the Amphibious Warfare Squadron in the Persian Gulf. The squadron composed of Meon, two tank-landing ships, four tank-landing craft and a Rhino (a pontoon-like vessel for the shallow-water landing of tanks). He was ordered to cover an area extending from the East African coast, the Red Sea and to the Persian Gulf. Having worked-up this mixed bunch of vessels and their crews, plus army personnel he was confronted with the defence of Kuwait when it was threatened by the Iraqi dictator General Kassem in 1961. He was charged with landing the twelve tanks in his squadron to defend Kuwait’s main port of Shuwaikh. This was successfully carried out under difficult circumstances and the Iraqi invasion was defeated. After 42 years in the RN, Tony retired to be with his wife and young family.

The book is reasonably well written and covers a period that has not been covered in depth, the early years of the Cold War and Royal Navy amphibious operations in the Middle East.  A few errors were noted in the manuscript, which are probably faulty recollection from the time elapsed, HMS Barham was sunk by the Germans - the Italians and HMS Concord has 4.5 inch guns not 4.7. One other error if the flyleaf spells HMS Tartar TARTER.

The book is well worth reading and kudos to the author and publisher for bringing out this book.

The Aden Effect

9781612511092 Naval Institute Press 2012
Murder, politics, seapower, Middle East instability, and intrigue in the White House are all part of this action thriller. Set against a background of modern piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the story begins as the new Ambassador to Yemen, C.J. Sumner, is assigned to negotiate access to the oil fields off the island of Socotra and enlist help countering pirates who are capturing ships at will off the Horn of Africa. Meeting with resistance to her diplomatic overtures, Sumner recruits Connor Stark, a former naval officer turned mercenary who knows the region, as her defense attaché. When Stark sets up a meeting with the owner of a Yemeni shipping company and the ruling family, the challenges begin.
Against this backdrop, diplomatic security agent Damien Golzari is investigating the death of a State Department official’s son when he stumbles on an illicit khat trade involving Somali refugees in the United States. His probe leads him to Yemen and the shipping company owned by Stark’s contact. As a result of this chance discovery, the two men are forced to become unwitting allies when they discover that their mysterious roads lead to one source.
To earn the favor of the Yemeni government, Sumner sets up a humanitarian-assistance mission to Socotra. But the Navy warship assigned to assist her is attacked by pirates. Stark assumes command and mounts a daring counterattack. Sumner negotiates a treaty to develop the oil fields and provide mutual security from the pirates, who, unknown to her, are working with other powers. In a final confrontation, Stark and Golzari must decide whether to challenge a navy and the most powerful man in the world.
A good effort at a first novel, a genre we normally do not review. But having had the privilege of once having dinner with Tom Clancy's first editor, I know USNI has shown a knack in the past of spotting good novelists. This book flows well with the only complaint being the imaginary USS Bennington, a ship so poorly run it is a bit tough to believe. With a bit more polish, hopefully the next work, from what appears to be a planned series, will not stretch credulity too far.

Sino-French Naval War 1884-1885

By Piotr Olender 978-8361421535 MMP Books Maritime Series 3104

This new book covers the Sino-French Naval War 1884-1885, a little-known part of late 19th century naval history. The background, operations and outcomes are described in detail. All the ships involved, both French and Chinese, are described and illustrated with full technical specifications. Profusely illustrated with scale drawings and photos.
This little known war, intended to open trade routes into the interior of China, profoundly shaped Southeast Asia for the subsequent 70 years. 


THE ROYAL NAVY IN FOCUS 1980-89 Our Own Titles

Maritime Books ISBN 9781904459484

Steve Bush, Editor of Warship World Magazine, has done a credible job since assuming the authorship of this popular pictorial histories from company founder Mike Critchley. 
The 1980s was a period the began with the infamous John Nott cuts which were about to be implemented when the Falklands War broke out in 1982. Most of the remainder of the decade was an upbeat period of the future of the Royal Navy until the end of the Cold War in 1989 when cuts continuing to this day have reduced this proud service to a mere shadow of its former self.
The book contains about 150 full color photographs of ships of the  Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service and Ships Taken Up From Trade (STUFT).
This book makes a fine addition to the bookshelf of any ship lover.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Seizing the Enigma The Race to Break The German U-Boat Codes 1939-1943

By David Kahn
Revised Edition 9781591148074 Paperback 416 pages 2012 Naval Institute Press

Seizing the Enigma tells the thrilling story of the Royal Navy’s battle to crack the Germans’ supposedly unbreakable U-boat Enigma code, which would allow the vital Allied convoys in the North Atlantic to be routed away from Dönitz’s wolfpacks. This battle was fought both on shore and at sea: by an assortment of scientists, chess champions and linguists, including Alan Turing, the father of the modern computer, who struggled to crack Enigma at Bletchley Park, and in the Atlantic by sailors and intelligence officers, such as Ian Fleming, the future creator of James Bond, who undertook dangerous and often fatal missions to seize the essential encryption keys and Enigma machine components from Kriegsmarine surface ships and U-boats. Kahn expertly brings this unparalleled intelligence operation to life in this revised paperback edition of his classic book.
Having a friend that worked at Bletchley Park and a father who took part in the Battle of the Atlantic, this book was read with great interest. Written by David Kahn, former Scholar-in-Resident for the US National Security Agency and considered one of the foremost experts on cryptology.
A detailed account on all parties involved in the coding and code breaking, which will likely be around in perpetuity, is covered from each nation’s perspective. A good selection of photographs is included which is always good to help the reader get a sense of the persons they are reading about.
This fascinating book is highly recommended to for those with an interest in naval or cryptography history.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Indian Defence Review

Indian Defence Review Annual Subscription (4 Issues)

Indian Defence Review
Quarterly Journal Lancer Publishers

A beautiful looking publication apparently offered as up as a vehicle for contractors wishing to sell in the Indian market. Several topical essays are included in each issue and is profusely illustrated. This journal provides a rare English language insight into the psyche of the Indian Armed Forces.

Why the USS Scorpion (SSN 589) Was Lost: The Death of a Submarine in the North Atlantic By Bruce Rule

Why the USS Scorpion (SSN 589) Was Lost: The Death of a Submarine in the North Atlantic
By Bruce Rule
9781608881208 2011 Self-Published

This book is not a traditional historical text, but instead a compilation of materials related to the tragic loss of USS Scorpion in 1968.
The book contains a number of tables, correspondence and graphs that largely debunks, via information in the public domain, that Scorpion had been sunk by the Soviet Navy. Mr Rule has come to the same conclusion as many historians – Scorpion was sunk by one of her own MK37 torpedoes that somehow managed to start itself while in the tube. Although not mentioned in this work, the torpedo is widely believed to have been fitted with a nuclear warhead, a regular occurrence in Cold War ASW operations. Luckily it appears the warhead never exploded.
Such a detailed work, a labor of love by the author, will likely only be of interest to serious students of submarine operations and naval history. We certainly commend Mr Rule for his efforts to bring the Scorpion story to life again; a difficult undertaking as most official records are still classified.

One Marine’s War A Combat Interpreter’s Quest of Humanity in the Pacific

One Marine’s War A Combat Interpreter’s Quest of Humanity in the Pacific
By Gerald A Meehl 9781612510927 Naval Institute Press 2012

Growing up in Shanghai in the 1930s, Mr Sheeks had an opportunity to develop a familiarity with Asiatic languages. Studying at Harvard at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, Sheeks was quickly recruited by the US Navy for language translation duty in the Pacific for the US Marine Corps. Extensive training in the Japanese language followed in California and Colorado before leading to active duty in the invasions of Tarawa, Saipan and Tinian.
The book certainly educates the reader on the heretofore little known work of the translators during combat operations and behind the front lines.  A worthy addition to the historical record of the war against Japan in the Pacific and is recommended.

No Sailing Waits and Other Ferry Tales: 30 Years of BC Ferries Cartoons

No Sailing Waits and Other Ferry Tales: 30 Years of BC Ferries Cartoons
By Adrian Raeside Harbour Publishing 128 pages 978-1-55017-596-7 2012 $9.95 

Adrian Raeside, following in the footsteps of the great Len Norris of the Vancouver Sun, is renowned for his topical editorial cartoons.
Book CoverBC Ferries, long the bane of BC travelers, has provided enough material over the years for the full Raeside comic treatment in this compendium of 150 works issued by Harbour Publishing.
The book reveals one of the cartoonist’s proudest accomplishments, helping to get rid of the breakfast fare served onboard by the transportation behemoth.
This book makes the perfect gift or purchase for those familiar with ferries in British Columbia and makes a great read in a ferry lineup or at home. Congratulations to Harbour for bringing the cartoons of Mr Raeside to a wider audience.

Images of War Tirpitz The First Voyage Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

Images of War Tirpitz The First Voyage Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives
By Jonathan Sutherland and Diane Canwell
9781848846685 2011 Pen and Sword Barnsley, South Yorkshire
The photos in this book are taken from an unpublished album belonged to a member of the crew of famous German Battleship Tirpitz. It is a little known fact that before the start of World War Two the ship went on a shakedown voyage into the Atlantic, travelling north into Arctic waters and south into the more tropical climbs of the Caribbean. There are superb photos of the officers and crew both above and below decks, including some unique shots of the crew during their stint on a magnificent sail training vessel. Other stunning shots show the vessels mighty weapons during gunnery practice during her sea trials. This unique collection gives a close up view of one of the most powerful ships of World War Two, a ship that proved to be a persistent thorn in the side of the Royal Navy until sunk in Norway towards the end of the war.
This book is a fascinating look at the German Navy built around a collection of photographs from a Luftwaffe flight officer stationed on Tirpitz. The details of youth work, naval training, wartime service and postwar incarceration are displayed with detailed captions. One small error was noted on page 71, the photo shows a light cruiser built in the 1930s and not the training ship Schleswig-Holstein as indicated.
The fate of original photo album owner after his incarceration in France has not been discovered to date.
We are certainly happy his photographic work has survived for present day and future historians to study.

The Memoirs of Karl Doenitz Ten Years and Twenty Days

The Memoirs of Karl Doenitz Ten Years and Twenty Days

By Karl Doenitz 548 pages 9781848326446 2012 Pen and Sword £13.50

The story of the last world war, as told by Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz himself. His memoir covers his early career with submarines in the First World War and follows both his successes and failures through the Second World War, with great detail on the way the U-boat campaign was waged, as told by the man who invented U-boat tactics.
Doenitz includes details of the U-boat campaigns during the Second World War as well as the opinions, ideas and commentary on the period. Of particular interest are the comments regarding British and American conduct during the war. An important social document, and an invaluable source for any student of the last war.
The Memoirs of Karl Doenitz
He became the last Führer of Germany after Hitler's suicide in May 1945 and the book’s subtitle, Ten Years and Twenty Days, is a direct reference to the time Karl Doenitz spent in Spandau Prison having been convicted of war crimes following trial at Nuremberg.

Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz, a First World War U-boat officer, stayed in the peacetime navy and was the flag officer in charge of submarines upon the commencement of hostilities in 1939. In 1943 he became navy commander and eventually succeeded Hitler after the latter’s suicide in 1945.
This book, first published in 1959, chronicles U-boat and naval operations as well as the political and organizational machinations at home. To do this to such an extent, only a senior officer could have compiled such a comprehensive record.
This book should be compulsory reading at naval and staff colleges and on the shelf of any student of naval history.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor to Coral Sea The First Six Months of the Pacific War

pearl harbor to coral sea
Pearl Harbor to Coral Sea
The First Six Months of the Pacific War
Compiled by Neil Robinson | Illustrated by Peter Scott
£19.99 100pp
70th Anniversary Special highlighting color schemes and markings carried by the Imperial Japanese Navy’s pre-emptive strike force aircraft and the defending USAAC and USN / Marine aircraft based at Pearl Harbor and then the Battle of Midway.
Representative aircraft from all six IJN carrier Divisions with explanation of the IJN’s coding systems and aircraft markings. Compiled by Neil Robinson | Illustrated by Peter Scott. Comprehensive selection of the aircraft that took part – from both sides
Follow-on coverage of all the other areas and aircraft involved in the first six months of the Pacific War up to the turning point at the Battle of Midway in June 1942. For the modeler, history or aviation enthusiast, this book is a must for their collection.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

British Destroyers & Frigates The Second World War & After

British Destroyers and Frigates The Second World War & After
Norman Friedman
Hardback 352 pages 9781848320154 2008 £45.00

Disclaimer to this review – Dr Norman Friedman is one of our favorite authors. With this book, he certainly doesn’t disappoint. The development of British destroyers and frigates, beginning with the 1930s Tribal Class design through to the current times, are covered in his usual comprehensively researched style. British Destroyers and Frigates The Second World War and After instantly becomes the de facto standard for information on the myriad of details on design, construction and fittings on these ships. These ships served in wartime and peacetime in both the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and navies around the world. I thought I had a good grasp on Canadian naval history, but was amazed to learn details of planned construction of Castle Class corvettes in Canada.
This book is a must for the collection of any student of naval history.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Seaforth World Naval Review 2011


Seaforth World Naval Review 2011
Conrad Waters
Hardback Seaforth Books 9781848320758 £25.00

We were very excited to receive the latest book in the new Seaforth annual on naval affairs and were most definitely not disappointed. Articles by several noted experts such as Norman Friedman and Devrim Yaylali are included on topical subjects. An extensive review of world naval developments is the main focus of the first part of the book is very well done. Combined with first rate illustrations and reasonable price, this book is rapidly becoming an indispensible resource. We look forward to the next edition!

Assault Landing Craft: Design, Construction and Operations


Assault Landing Craft: Design, Construction and Operations
Brian Lavery
Hardback Seaforth Books 9781848320505 £19.95

Author Brian Lavery is Curator Emeritus of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich so the read is comfortable in the knowledge they are reading a history from and expert. This book covers the wartime development and operation of the LCA landing craft used with great effect to the Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy at D-Day. Fully illustrated, this important new work provides and important place in the history of naval amphibious operations.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Profiles of Flight: Vought F4 Corsair Carrier and Land-based Fighter

ISBN: 9781848844087 - Vought  F4 Corsair
Profiles of Flight: Vought F4 Corsair Carrier and Land-based Fighter 

Dave Windle
9781848844087 Pen & Sword Books $39.95

Beautifully illustrated with color profile artwork and black and white photos with the photos of deck landing training on training carrier USS Charger which spend most of the Second World War undertaking this duty off the Virginia Capes. This book would be an excellent addition to the collection of aviation fans and modelers. Well done to Mr Windle on what was obviously a labor of love. 

Vought F8 Crusader 1955-1999

Vought F8 Crusader 1955-1999
Gérard Paloque
Paper 9782352501855 Histoire & Collections $24.95

This book is very well researched and illustrated by French author Gérard Paloque. Profusely illustrated with photographs and first rate artwork. The Vought Crusader was the last jet fighter able to deploy on any US Navy carrier of the period and was used extensively in the Vietnam War. In addition the aircraft was used by the French Navy for many years. One small beef with this book was the awkwardness of some of the translations from the original French, something that should have been caught in editing. However the overall book is superb and must for any fan of naval aviation.

Nimrod: Rise and Fall

Nimrod: Rise and Fall
Tony Blackman
Hardback 978-1-908117-79-3 Grub Street £20.00

The history of Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) has for the at least the past 70 years has been a blending of high technology sensors and weapons fitted to aircraft capable of staying aloft for several hours. The best examples of this were the cat and mouse games between aircraft and submarines in both the Second World War and the Cold War. Based on the Comet civil airliner, the long service Nimrod in Royal Air Force service is very well documented. This profusely illustrated work follows development from prototype stage to the recent scrapping of the final version, Nimrod MRA4. Well done to Mr Blackman on this comprehensive work which will make a welcome addition to any fan of military aviation’s bookshelf.

Ready for Anything: The Royal Fleet Auxiliary 1905-1950

Ready for Anything: The Royal Fleet Auxiliary 1905-1950
Geoff Puddefoot
Hardback Seaforth Books 9781848320741 £25.00

Having previously read the companion volume, albeit out of sequence, it was good to catch up with this book. Kudos to Mr Puddefoot for his zeal and passion for compiling these first rate unofficial histories of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. A few minor errors were noted such as Royal New Zealand Navy cited in 1914 when this service was not formed until 1942. A description of the ships being refueled in the illustrations would have been nice such as the page that features a Battle Class destroyer and a Swiftsure Class cruiser.  This book fills an important service in filling in gaps in the historical record of the Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and British Pacific Fleet of 1945. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

British Warships and Auxiliaries 1952

British Warships and Auxiliaries 1952
Steve Bush
375 pages illustrated 9781904459453 £25 hardback Maritime Books 2012

Author Steve Bush, who authors the annual British Warships and Auxiliaries, has undertaken the daunting task of compiling what this book would have looked like in 1952, the year of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s ascension to the throne by including the Royal Navy and their Commonwealth cousins.
Fully illustrated, all ships from that era are included with in tabular format along with a representative photo of each ship class.
Congratulations of Mr Bush and Maritime Books for another fine product.
File:HMS Vanguard (1946).jpg

HMS Ark Royal Zeal Does Not Rest 1981-2011

HMS Ark Royal Zeal Does Not Rest 1981-2011
Alastair Graham and Eric Grove
368 Pages illustrated 9781904459460 £29.99 hardback Maritime Books 2012

This is a superb looking book and is a history of this British aircraft carrier, which spent much of her life in refit or reserve. Her active duty periods were indeed very busy and included the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Many anecdotes are included from former commanding officers and those with a role in the life of the ship. Luckily it appears this famous name will go in the future with a new HMS Ark Royal about 2020 or so.
File:HMS Ark Royal (R07).jpgThis book is Maritime Books at their 
best, bringing Royal Navy history to life for future generations.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Occupied St John's A Social History of a City at War 1939-1945

Edited by Steven High
978-0-7735-3750-7 2010-10-12 8.5 x 10 336pp 152 b&w photos $49.95

This book, edited by Steven High, Research Chair in Public History at Concordia University, is a compendium of essays written on St. John’s, Newfoundland during the Second World War, which at the time was a British Crown Colony. The sparsely populated city soon had grow in a hurry early in the war with a massive influx of US and Canadian military personnel. Service in Newfoundland for Canadians constituted foreign service for veteran’s benefits purposes.
An excellent “social” history of St John’s but was disappointed by the little coverage of the Royal Canadian Navy facility HMCS Avalon, whose history sadly remains untold.

United States Naval Aviation 1919-1941

E.R. Johnson
Print 978-0-7864-4550-9 Ebook 978-0-7864-8585-7 605 photos (40 color illustrations), appendices, glossary, bibliography, index 352pp. softcover (8.5 x 11) 2011 $45

The period 1919-1941 witness revolutionary changes in aviation, probably none more so than in naval affairs.
Mr Johnson, a practicing attorney, has a wonderful hobby for naval aviation enthusiasts. His work on naval aviation history is akin to Canada’s P.D. Martin for depth and scope of coverage. This hobby is to really delve into aircraft history, not just the planes that went into production, but also the ones that never went past prototype stage.
Also examined are airships and blimps as well as ships that service/embarked aircraft. The ships involved included not just aircraft carriers, but seaplane tenders, cruisers, battleships and other vessels. A final section covers foreign aircraft and airships which were either used or tested by the US Navy.
This book is profusely illustrated with photos and drawings as well as eight pages of color artwork. We eagerly await the next work from Mr. Johnson.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tirpitz The Life and Death of Germany's Last Super Battleship

Tirpitz The Life and Death of Germany's Last Super Battleship
Niklas Zetterling and Michael Tamelander
6 x 9, 256 pages, illustrated, 9781935149187, $32.95, hardback, Casemate December 19, 2009
When I first began reading this book, I was expecting another run of the mill ship history. However I was very pleasantly surprised when I quickly realized it was not. This book was superbly written in that you actually can feel and empathize with the characters regardless of which side of the battle they were on. Two things new that I learned were the fact that British First Sea Lord Dudley Pound was likely suffering from the brain tumor which eventually took his life in 1943 during the fiasco that was Convoy PQ17. In addition, the effects on German decisions due to oil shortages, was not fully appreciated before. The original text of this book is believed to have been in Swedish so a few clunky translations are noted such as the word “crafts” concerning vessels and the use of kilometers in ocean distances when nautical miles should have been used (the whole basis of our system of latitude.)  These should have been caught in editing. Apart from this, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Attack on Pearl Harbor Strategy, Combat, Myths, Deceptions

Attack on Pearl Harbor Strategy, Combat, Myths, Deceptions
Alan D. Zimm
6 x 9, 480 pages, illustrations, 9781612000107, $32.95, hardback, Casemate May 6, 2011
Kudos to the author of this book; shows that historians are finally getting past politically correct "revisionist history." Good riddance! Instead this book is a highly analyzed treatise on the attack on Pearl Harbor of 1941 from the perspective of the US and Japanese. With the use modern spreadsheet technologies, results of various actions are examined as to their effectiveness. This serves to place many historical inaccuracies in a better light. Perhaps a little dry for the average reader, but a useful tool for future researchers.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Black Flag The Surrender of Germany's U-Boat Forces on Land and at Sea

Black Flag The Surrender of Germany's U-Boat Forces on Land and at Sea
Seaforth Publishing
Lawrence Paterson
Hardback ISBN: 9781848320376 Published: 21 August 2009

On the eve of Germany's surrender in May 1945, Grossadmiral Karl Dönitz commanded thousands of loyal and active men of the U-boat service. Still fully armed and unbroken in morale, enclaves of these men occupied bases stretching from Norway to France, where cadres of U-boat men fought on in ports that defied besieging Allied troops to the last. At sea U-boats still operated on a war footing around Britain, the coasts of the United States and as far as Malaya.
Following the agreement to surrender, these large formations needed to be disarmed - often by markedly inferior forces - and the boats at sea located and escorted into the harbours of their erstwhile enemies. Neither side knew entirely what to expect, and many of the encounters were tense; in some cases there were unsavoury incidents, and stories of worse. For many Allied personnel it was their first glimpse of the dreaded U-boat menace and both sides were forced to exercise considerable restraint to avoid compromising the terms of Germany's surrender.
One of the last but most dramatic acts of the naval war, the story of how the surrender was handled has never been treated at length before. This book uncovers much new material about the process itself and the ruthless aftermath for both the crews and their boats.

British Warships and Auxiliaries 2012/13

British Warships & Auxiliaries 2012/13
Maritime Books
By Steve Bush
2012 £6.99 | $10.90

Published every year since 1979, first edited by Mike Critchley and latterly by Steve Bush, this book is indispensible for follower of the Royal Navy. Of particular interest are the supplementary craft operated by private contractors; many of which are of new construction or charter and some of the previous craft operated by the Royal Marine Auxiliary Service (RMAS) before  privatization.
This reasonably priced reference comes in full color format and is highly recommended (as usual!)