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British Battleships 1919-1945 Hardcover – 30 Apr 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 30 Apr 2013
£56.12 £43.91

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Seaforth Publishing; 2nd edition (30 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848321309
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848321304
  • Product Dimensions: 24.5 x 28.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 228,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Burt's work brings together a powerful combination of extensive photography, detailed large scale drawing, diagrams illustrating differences within classes, changes over time, and camouflage schemes. The most remarkable accomplishment of Burt's volumes is their success in bringing together policy, technology, evolution to face new challenges physical changes, and operational history accompanied by extraordinary and extensive imagery, they simultaneously meet many of the needs of historians of technology, researchers in naval history, and model makers without compromising the quality of work. The publishers are congratulated on bringing these important works back into print - they fill a major need. Nautical Research Journal

About the Author

RAY BURT has researched the design, construction and service histories of British battleships for many years, and has also assembled one of the most outstanding collections that exists of photographs of the ships. He is also an accomplished draughtsman and illustrator, and many of his superb drawings appear in this book.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Other reviews have given excellent descriptions of this magnum opus, so I will just compare it with the original 1993 edition that I was lucky enough to acquire at that time- can that really have been 19 years ago? There are probably other owners of the original book wondering whether or not they should buy this new one.

The new edition is in a somewhat larger format: It does not appear to be very much bigger, but in combination with 18 extra pages it actually makes a remarkable difference. There are some 70 or so additional photographs, many showing 'on deck' scenes and some replacing previous ones with similar but better shots. The overhead view of Warspite (surely the greatest of all British 20th century battleships) on page 98 in my opinion takes the prize amongst the new pictures. Moreover, it is remarkable how great the impact can be of simply increasing the size of an existing picture and slightly improving the reproduction. Take, for example, the shot of Hood at sea, pages 306- 7 in the old book, and presented as a full double page 'spread' on pages 314- 15 in the new one. The latter is quite spectacular- perhaps the finest in the book- yet I hardly noticed it in the old edition.

The text does not seem to have been much changed, and of course like others I cannot understand the continuing absence of Vanguard, our last battleship, but the format is more modern and attractive. The excellent drawings are all much the same as before, but sometimes appear in rather different locations.

All considered I'm very pleased I bought this new edition- it provides a fascinating comparison with the old one and transforms what was always a very fine book into a quite outstanding one- and at £29 from Amazon it is almost ridiculously good value.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The 1993 first edition of this book by R. A. Burt has long eluded me, the result of the hundreds of dollars that a second hand copy demands. As a long time battleship (BB) and battlecruiser (BC) enthusiast, I always felt that my collection was incomplete without this particular book. When this new revised edition was available for pre-order, I had no hesitation ordering months before its publication. At the price it is a no brainer. In fact, I ordered copies from both the Amazon site and the Amazon UK site to make sure that I would get it at the earliest possible time (and I have no intention to return any of the copies). Now that the book has arrived, I am very pleased with my decision, as this book is an authoritative reference on British BBs and BCs for the period after World War One.

In my opinion, this is one of the two masterpieces on this subject, the other being Alan Raven and John Roberts' (R&R) British Battleships of World War 2: The Development and Technical History of the Royal Navy's Battleships and Battlecruisers from 1911 to 1946. Other works pale in comparison. The two books have many things in common, in particular their focus on the design of the ships and their changes over time. Thus, it does not surprise that the contents of the two books overlap quite a bit, and both contain a lot of excellent information, photos and line drawings. Nevertheless, I still believe any BB/BC enthusiast like me could not be wrong getting both Burt's book and R&R's book.

Both books cover Renown, Repulse and Hood in addition to the Queen Elizabeths, Royal Sovereigns, Rodney, Nelson, and King George Vs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not really a history book about British battleships. It is an encyclopedia on the subject with far more detail that anything else published. The Amount of information is staggering and it is a book that you will return to again and again to find that detail that you have been wondering about. Almost everything is here and to add more detail you would have to list all crew members through the years in order to push the scope of the book.

For me the most interesting things in the book is the detailed operational histories. The Level of analysis of the battle damage of various mines or torpedo hits is unbelievable. Sometimes you wonder if these ships were hit in engagement that you read about but "normal" history books do not tell you. Here you are informed of any hit, independent of how small it might be. I have for some unknown reason missed the fact that submersibles have been down to HMS Hood and to HMS Prince of Wales and tried to evaluate the damage done to them. I would have loved to see pictures of those expeditions.

For some reason there is a chapter on early aircraft carriers. It is logical that if they were built on battleship hulls to include them in the book but Mr Burt have included all of them even if they are not related to battleships. Not that I complain but it seams odd considering that he has omitted the worlds last battleship HMS Vanguard. Not to have Vanguard in such a book is as if you were writing about The Beatles but fail to mention their last record "Let It Be".

But apart from that minor detail this is a book you will be proud to have in your library and one you will return to again and again. I will definitely buy his "British Battleships of World War One" as soon as it is published.
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