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.