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British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After Hardcover – Illustrated, 23 Aug 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Seaforth Publishing; First Edition edition (23 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848320787
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848320789
  • Product Dimensions: 24.5 x 28.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 244,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This latest work from Norman Freidman is in many respects a sequel to the same author's two books on British destroyers, and those who purchased the latter books will know what to expect. In determining the focus and structure of the book the author has made a number of important decisions. The starting point for his descriptions of the development of each of the ships covered is the material held in the various British archives: Admiralty reports, Ships' Covers and Constructors' Workbooks. The line drawings are uniformly of a very high standard and although the photographs are excellent the inclusion of images taken later in the ship's career tends to interrupt the design narrative. However, many readers will find this a strength, and there is no doubting the depth of Dr Friedman's research. The quantity (and quality) of the illustrations is particularly impressive, and the production values of the book are everything one has come to expect from the pubisher. --(Warships - Naval Books of the Year)

About the Author

NORMAN FRIEDMAN is arguably Americas most prominent naval analyst, and the author of more than thirty books covering a range of naval subjects, from warship histories to contemporary defence issues. He has recently published a well-received history of British destroyers in two volumes.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Cook on 5 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is a quality product and very nicely produced, but when it arrived I was disappointed to see that it essentially covers the 'treaty' cruisers of the 1920's and after- not cruisers 'of the twentieth century' as the title indicates. We had to wait for a second volume (which is now available) to cover the earlier ships, though really it would have been too large a subject for a one- volume history anyway.

Unlike most non- British authors Mr Friedman does not set out (with great enthusiasm) to denigrate Britsh warships by detailing their many supposed weaknesses by comparison with their foreign contemporaries. In fact in this book there seems to be rather a lack of critical analysis of any kind. As always, the author provides numerous technical facts, especially concerning the ever- changing radars, anti- aircrft armaments, and so on, but I have yet to find much here about how the various classes actually performed in service.

Foolishly, the British (and initially the Americans) stuck religiously to treaty limits, so of course they were unable to design genuine 10,000 ton cruisers like the 'Counties' that would have a world- wide cruising capability and yet be able to compete with the Japanese 'A' clas ships. Those monsters had half the freeboard (and consequently were very wet at all times) yet were actually nearly half as large again.

Mr Friedman does note that machinery instalations were relatively large and heavy by American standards. This was a matter of choice: conservatism, especially through the use of large tube boilers, being believed advisable for a navy that literally had to operate reliably anywhere in the world.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Passat on 20 May 2011
Format: Hardcover
Norman Friedman is arguably the finest writer on 20th and 21st century naval developments in the world! His books are authoritative and under-pinned by emphirical research. This latest book is no exception and is the first of a two volume work on the development of the British cruiser (the second volume will cover the pre- and post-Dreadnought eras up to the naval treaties of the 1930s, where this book starts, concluding with the so-called 'through deck cruisers' (Illustrious, Invincible and Ark Royal) that have only recently been retired through the ill-judged UK coaltion government's Strategic Defence and Security Review in October 2010.

The book is thoroughly illustrated with both photographs and line drawings of every class of cruiser built for the Royal Navy during the period covered. In many cases photographs and line drawings are included of every vessel within a class. The text is fully referenced and there are a number of appendices and a useful index. In short this well-produced book is likely to become THE standard text book on RN cruiser dsign and development. (The follow-up volume is awaited with interest!)

Expensive, but well worth it! It is highly recommended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sean Corley on 1 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is well up to Friedman's usual high standard - rich in detail, excellently illustrated (though it's not always easy to see the tiny details flagged in the captions)and with a strong narrative thread running through the design history. Hard to imagine even those who know this area well not learning from it. The book is sumptuously produced and a bargain even at RRP let alone at a discounted price. It is, if anything, a little too large for bedtime reading but who's going to complain about being given so much?! What makes Friedman so persuasive is that he doesn't leap to judgement like so many who have looked at RN cruisers have done in the past. The design imperatives were not the same as those faced by rival navies and it makes no sense to compare, say, the Town class ships with some of the mini-battleships produced by the Germans, Japanese and Americans. Friedman also writes very naturally and well. A triumph! Get it now before you have to pay over the odds on the used book market as you do if you want NF's earlier book on the design history of American cruisers.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C.D. ADAMS on 22 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
A review which is boringly easy to do and can be kept quite short.
A magnificent book on the subject from an acknowledged expert.All cruisers, from the pre WW1 Arethusa to the Post WW2 Tigers, are amply covered in text together with some of the best diagrams/plans and photographs I have seen.An excellent book which I rate as very good value.

(On a slightly different but relevant matter ,there is only one book on this subject written by this author,British Cruisers,two world wars and after.A second volume,apparently titled British Crusers,from treaties to the present,is the same book!I know this because I thought so highly of the book I bought, I was very keen to get the second.Fortunately, by contacting the publishers,I discovered the problem before ordering)

An excellent book in all repects!Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 11 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Norman Friedman is an acclaimed American naval historian of the highest calibre with three of his works having crossed my desk since March of this year. Whereas the first of these (Naval Anti-Aircraft Guns and Gunnery) quickly became indispensible and is in continuous use, I found the second (Naval Firepower; Battleship Guns & Gunnery in the Dreadnought Era) rather turgid and hard-going.

In this instance, I am happy to review a book which appears to have everything one might hope to find. Firstly the information is not only ‘there’ but it is also presented in a most readable style - and that is always welcome. Secondly, the historic B&W images are of the highest calibre. Each of these is accompanied by a fully descriptive caption - many of which point out some little additional snippet which adds to the overall enjoyment and interest. In addition, throughout the work we also find a large number of line drawings (side profiles and deck plans) of the highest possible quality.

The work commences with: Glossary & Abbreviations and Acknowledgements - both of which are worth a moment of study. The chapters, which are mostly self-explanatory, are as follows: (1) Introduction, (2) Protecting Trade, (3) Destroyer-Killers, (4) War Experience, (5) Treaties and Heavy Cruisers, (6) The 1930 London Treaty and its Cruisers, (7) The Slide toward War, (8) War, (9) Wartime Cruiser Design, (10) Post-War Cruisers and (11) The Missiles Age. The book then concludes with; an Appendix on Fast Minelayers, Notes, Bibliography, Data List (specifications), List of Ships and an Index.

As a shipwreck historian (it’s what I do!), the full value of this work will only become apparent when I am looking for some awkward detail at some time in the future.
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