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Aircraft Carriers of the World: 1914 to the Present - An Illustrated Encyclopedia [Hardcover]

Roger Chesneau
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Brockhampton; Reissue edition (1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860198759
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860198755
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 24.4 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 399,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Aircraft Carriers of the World is the first comprehensive reference work to detail in one volume the 360 plus carriers designed or projected by the world's navies. This has detailed narratives tracing the origin and evolution of the aircraft carrier as a viable fighting unit. Containing over 400 hundred photographs and line drawings, this book provides the reader with all the essential information he may wish to seek concerning what has become the largest and most complex fighting machine devised by man.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"Aircraft Carriers of the World - 1914 to the Present" is a hardback book measuring approx. 10in x 10in. Beginning with a chapter headed "Evolution of the Aircraft Carrier," the author successfully explains the early days of aircraft at sea and the problems encountered in providing them with a mobile, floating base from which to operate - and return. With sections devoted to explaining flight-deck geometry, the catapult, landing systems and hangars, this provides an essential lead-in to the information that is to follow.

Chapter 2 gives the reader an insight into the changing "Role" of the Aircraft Carrier. This is a journey from those early days of "spotter planes" - required to do no more than report the whereabouts of enemy ships, right through to the ultimate modern-day, mobile nuclear powered system for delivering offensive airborne weapons to any corner of the world's seas.

With the right amount of graphs, ships' profiles, technical and historical information, this book is a scholarly piece of work. It was particularly interesting to see how the speed of carrier-borne aircraft has improved from less than 100 mph in 1915 to over 1,500 mph in 1972 and how the ratio of capital ships to aircraft carriers had completely reversed over a similar period. Further changes and modifications due to the advent of the British designed Sea Harrier are also covered in great detail.

Surprisingly, few countries (14 in all) appear to have ever employed Aircraft Carriers in their fleets and the remainder of the book gives full details of these countries and their ships in alphabetical order.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reference Book upto the mid 1980s 6 July 2003
If you are interested in Aircraft Carriers then you need this book as it should be your first port of call whether your an Enthusiast, a Scale Modeller or a Maritime Historian.
It is testament to Robert Chesneau that there is enough detail for just about every type of aircraft carrier built or planned upto the mid 1980s and has an interesting look at the start of the book of "Evolution of the Aircraft Carrier". It also has many rare and detailed photos aswell as line drawings and artists impressions.
The only drawback is that it needs updating and does not include France's latest carrier or the new proposed British ones for example.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value, though not quite up to date 14 Jan 2003
By T. D. Welsh TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a large, fairly heavy, well produced book containing a wealth of information about aircraft carriers from the beginning (before the First World War) to 1983, with brief notes covering the period 1984-91. That leaves a 20-year gap to the present, although not that much has happened in the interim. Don't look for any details of the new fleet carriers currently planned for the Royal Navy, though, and Theodore Roosevelt (laid down 1981) is the last Nimitz class USN carrier mentioned in the main body of the book. This is particularly unfortunate as the United States is the world's only "carrier super-power", and the Nimitz class apparently the ultimate manifestation of the carrier itself.
Otherwise, this book does what it says on the cover, providing a complete and reasonably detailed history of fleet and escort carriers, although hybrids like the Japanese Ise and Hyuga, and such types as seaplane tenders, are excluded. The complete predominance of the USA is hammered home by that country's many successive classes of carrier, some of them having "production runs" in the dozens. Indeed, while Japan began the Second World War with 16 carriers and ended it with 4, the USA had 101 by 1945. Amazingly, Britain had no fewer than 71 carriers that year. All this information comes from the handy diagram running across pages 38-44, showing how many carriers were afloat every year from 1914 to 1983.
As well as full accounts of all carrier classes ever built, grouped by nation, there are substantial sections on the evolution of the carrier and its role throughout the 20th century. An index of ships' names and a bibliography complete the package. Every single class has a diagram, a photograph or both; sometimes several photos are provided - some full-page. Apart from the cover, everything is monochrome.
All in all, this is a very good book which offers pretty comprehensive coverage of its subject up to 1983. For the price of a tenner, it is a terrific bargain.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I give 5 Stars apart from one MAJOR point 1 Aug 2013
That major point is that it was written in 1983 and it shows. No matter that my copy says updated in 1992 and printed again in 1998. The only thing they updated may have been that statement.

For example
- the text talks about the Invincible Class just coming into service and the only photo of Ark Royal is of it being built
- It still deals with the USSR and no mention is even made of the Admiral Kuznetsov class, as they came later
- It talks about (and shows a plan with helicopter pads) of France's planned next carrier. This is the, now long in service, Charles De Gaulle
- The Tarawa class ships are explained, but no mention is made of the now commonplace Wasp-class

I am sure you get the picture. Anybody under 30 will think they have come across a piece of ancient history

But, if you can live with the fact that the book seems like a historical document itself, it is marvellous. The general structure of ships listed chronologically within countries works perfectly. It allows one to see the development of ideas within separate navies and the "passing of the baton" from the RN to the USN

I am especially taken with the large number of excellent (albeit small) line drawings of the ships. Most of these are not just side elevations but also top-view plans. Three of these deserve special mention
- A page (p87) of HMS Furious in her 1917, 1918 and 1932 configurations, both top and side
- HMS Hermes, both 1966 and 1982
- HMS Ark Royal and HMS Campania, from WWI

Great to have of any ship but especially so for aircraft carriers. Curiously none of the plans have a scale given for them, but this is not a major problem

Added to that are a large number of photos (understandably in b/w), well titled.
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