Preservation, Education, and Commemoration of Naval History
BOOK REVIEW – Warships of the Ancient World, 3000 – 500 BC
Written by Adrian K. Wood and Illustrated by Giuseppe Rava. Osprey Publishing, Ltd., Long Island City, NY. (2012)
Reviewed by John R. Satterfield, DBA.
Writing about human activities in the Bronze and early Iron Ages is a daunting task. Evidence from these eras is fragmentary at best, like a jigsaw puzzle with far more pieces missing than available. Focused examinations on specific topics must rely on even sketchier resources. Earliest examples of writing or illustrations that survive are typically clay tablets or inscriptions on monuments or buildings, and nearly all of these artifacts are remnants.
BOOK REVIEW – CSS Alabama vs USS Kearsarge: Cherbourg 1864
By Mark Lardas, Osprey Publishing, (2011)
Reviewed by Thomas P. Ostrom
The author, Mark Lardas, brings a degree in naval architecture and marine engineering to his analysis of this epic American Civil War naval battle; as well as experience in writing as a military historian, and ship modeler. The book is enhanced with magnificent illustrations by ship modeler and war gamer Peter Dennis.
BOOK REVIEW: British Light Cruisers 1939-45
By Angus Konstam, illus. by Paul Wright, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, UK. (2012).
Reviewed by Richard P. Hallion, Ph.D.
Generally speaking, light cruisers have not received as much attention from historians and novelists as have other vessels, though they have figured in two of the great novels of naval warfare—C. S. Forester’s The Ship, and Alistair MacLean’s H.M.S. Ulysses. Both relate the travails of protecting convoys from sub, surface, and air attack, the former about supplying Malta, and the latter about the Murmansk run. This slender but highly useful volume is a welcome factual introduction to the type, focusing on those vessels of the Royal Navy, which ably served the Admiralty’s needs during the greatest sea war ever fought.
BOOK REVIEW – USN Destroyer VS IJN Destroyer: The Pacific 1943
By Mark E. Stille, with contributors, Osprey Publishing, Long Island City, NY (2012)
Reviewed by Michael F. Solecki
The naval frigates known as “destroyers” first came into their own in the Pacific Theater of World War II. These ships evolved out of the 1890s from the need to counter smaller torpedo boats used to attack capital ships in fleet-formation; getting their name from the shortening of the original moniker of “Torpedo Boat Destroyer.” They are known as the “greyhounds of the sea” for their sleek hulls, tasking flexibility, speed, maneuverability and stamina; oh, and of course their “haze grey” color.
BOOK REVIEW – E-BOAT vs. MTB: The English Channel 1941-45
By Gordon Williamson, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, UK, (2011).
Reviewed by Captain John A. Rodgaard, U.S.Navy (Retired)
E-BOAT vs. MTB is Gordon Williamson’s latest contribution to Osprey Publishing Company’s Osprey’s “Duel” series of short works that emphasize the “…account of machines of war pitted against each other and the combatants who operate them.”
BOOK REVIEW – Great Lakes Warships, 1812-1815
By Mark Lardas, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, United Kingdom (2010)
Reviewed by Diana L. Ahmad, Ph.D.
For a book of only forty-eight pages, this publication provides an excellent overview of the Great Lakes ships of the War of 1812. An amateur historian, the author, Mark Lardas, trained as a Naval Architecture and Marine Engineer, but worked at the Johnson Space Center for a time. Lardas devotes as much time to describing the vessels as he does to explaining the battles in which the ships participated.
BOOK REVIEW: Yangtze River Gunboats 1900-49
By Angus Konstam, Illustrated by Tony Bryan, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, UK (2011)
Reviewed by Captain Roger F. Jones, USN (Ret)
This small gem is one of Osprey’s comprehensive series of books on military history, units, and warriors. Despite the date in the book’s title, the history of western nations’ gunboats patrolling the Yangtze River goes back to June 1858, upon signature of the Treaty of Tientsin.
DUAL BOOK REVIEW: US Submarines 1900-35 and Defeating the U-Boat: Inventing Antisubmarine Warfare
US Submarines 1900-35 by Jim Christley, Osprey Publishing, 2011.
Defeating the U-Boat: Inventing Antisubmarine Warfare by Jan S. Breemer, Dept. of the Navy, 2010.
Reviewed by James-Joseph Ahern
Introduced into naval service at the start of the Twentieth-Century, the submarine presented the first threat to the century old concept of the battle fleet as being the primary source of control of the seas. Many naval officers looked down on these small, cramped and smelly boats as little more than coastal defense weapons that had no place in the fleet let alone as a threat to the ever growing behemoths at their center – the battleships. Yet in less than two decades the technological development of submarines on both sides of the Atlantic, along with the practical experience of their crews, had catapulted them into ocean going vessels that almost cost the United Kingdom World War I. Two new works that look at the submarine from a technological perspective as well as a strategic view are Jim Christley’s US Submarines, 1900-35, and Jan S. Breemer’s Defeating the U-boat: Inventing Antisubmarine Warfare.