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Carrier [Hardcover]

Jean Hood
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Jun 2010
A century of vivid eye-witness accounts by aircraft carrier crews and their embarked naval air squadrons taken from interviews, correspondence, archived memoirs, published autobiographies and official reports. Fully international in scope, with accounts by British, American, Australian, Indian, Italian and French personnel Encompasses conflicts from the First World War to the Second Gulf War, peacetime activities, life on board and humanitarian missions including Haiti 2010. Includes first-hand experience of changing technology, from arrested landing to angled decks and dipping sonar. One hundred years have passed since the first flight from a warship, an appropriate moment at which to mark the audacity, courage, vision and determination of the men, and more recently women, who have crewed aircraft carriers or flown from their decks. Using her contacts with serving and veteran personnel from several navies, extracts from archived memoirs, official reports and published material, Jean Hood covers the full range of carrier experience. Told by all ranks, from stokers and admirals to air fitters and pilots, the stories range from dramatic accounts of combat, accidents and rescues to humanitarian missions and amusing anecdotes of life on board in war and peace - all put into context by the editor. A famous novelist s diary for Christmas 1914 recalls the first attempt at a bombing raid by naval aircraft; an inter-war staff officer watches in dismay as his admiral is catapulted upside down. The Taranto raid is told through the eyes of the Fleet Air Arm pilots who flew it and the fitter who waited for their return. A radio operator relives the day when vulnerable US escort carriers confronted the Japanese Navy at Leyte Gulf, and the opening strikes of the First Gulf War come vividly to life through the words of two pilots and a flight deck co-ordinator aboard USS Saratoga. A stoker tells how he abandoned the sinking HMS Eagle, an Australian pilot looks back on his dramatic rescue after being shot down over Korea and a US bombardier navigator relates the incredible tale of how he survived a partial ejection. An Italian helicopter pilot and his team describe the night-time MEDEVAC of a mother and baby from the ship trafficking them to Europe. With its focus on the human aspects of carrier life and naval aviation, this wide-ranging anthology will appeal to veterans, serving personnel, historians and general readers.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Conway; First Edition edition (7 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844861112
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844861118
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 582,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


With its focus on the human aspects of carrier life and naval aviation, this wide-ranging anthology will appeal to veterans and serving personnel, naval historians and enthusiasts..... ....2009 was the year of celebration for the Fleet Air Arm's 100 years anniversary. With hugely enjoyable events it also served to attract a whole array of books ranging from the fairly good through to those frankly impossible to review, bad as they were, being so inaccurate and having obviously been quickly produced to gather a market. No such worries exist in considering this superb offering for the celebration of the anniversary of THE Naval Aviation milestone in 2010.... Recommended? Certainly! This is a book certainly not to be missed. --Reviewed by Peter Rickard for Fleet Air Arm Officers' Association

...It is a tribute to Jean Hood that this book is not just a random selection from various Museum archives and biographies. The accounts really do cover every facet of carrier life and operations, and succeed in both educating and entertaining. This is a thoroughly enjoyable book and highly recommended. --Peter Wykeham-Martin for RN Museum Journal, RNSA journal and Warship World, November2010

...the definitive book on life in the capital ship of the past 70 or so years. --Navy News, October 2010

About the Author

Jean Hood grew up in Essex, read English at the University of Durham and spent some years as Information Officer for Lloyd s Register of Shipping where she provided information on modern and historical merchant ships to the international maritime community and enthusiasts. She lives in Cheshire with her husband and son and enjoys walking, opera and giving talks. Carrier is her fourth naval/maritime book for Conway; her previous book, Submarine, chronicled the experiences of Second World War submariners from thirteen navies.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100 years of Carrier warfare! 26 Aug 2010
Incredible as it may seem, 100 years really have passed since an aircraft first took off from a warship. By collecting together so many personal accounts from those who were involved in carrier operations from around the world, editor Jean Hood has expertly created a new way of looking at the evolution and changing modus operandi of the aircraft carrier - by viewing the subject through the eyes of those who combined their individual skills to bring each ship to life.

With personal stories from American, Australian, British, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese and New Zealand personnel, we are treated to just about every aspect of what it takes to fly aircraft from ships from those early days right up to the humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti in 2010.

With those earliest flights requiring an aircraft to land in the sea before being recovered by crane (or not!), to the angled and sloping flight decks and from early string bags to vertical take off and landing aircraft, we are treated to the private recollections, thoughts and experiences of those who were there at every level. Even the female Master Chef aboard the USS Ronald Reagan is mentioned.

By 1939, only four nations in the world operated aircraft carriers. They were USA, Britain, Japan and France - although the single French carrier remained interned in a neutral port throughout the second world war and saw no action. When that war was concluded, only the USA and Britain had an effective carrier force. From here we discover the remarkable difference between the USA's first aircraft carrier (USS Langley) - a converted collier with a flat deck running above her entire superstructure and the USS Lexington - commissioned only 7 years later and looking almost exactly how a modern aircraft carrier might look today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Being an ex Fleet Air Arm man, all through the 1960's and early 70's and having served in 4 carriers and being Flight Deck Crew on 3 of them, and hangar crew in one. I feel qualified to write comments on this book.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I found it so interesting to read about other eras of flight deck operations and the actions of other nations. The article including the Captains letter after the attack on Illustrious and how he felt was very moving and informative. Also the reports by the Japanese aircrew who took part in the attack on Pearl Harbour were very very interesting. All in all I highly recommend this book to anyone who has served in the Navy and especially anyone who has served on a flight deck. There are so many things which you will read and you will say. " I know just what he is talking about."
To cover the different eras from the very first take-offs from a ship to latest must have taxed the editor Jean Hood, but she has done it brilliantly covering not only the men on the flight deck but also the men below who kept the carriers going.
I also like the format where you can read it as long as you like and then put it down and come back to it. Most of the experiences and anecdotes are not over long. Therefore it can be read when ever you have a short time or 5 minuets to spare.
It will bring back so many memories to men such as myself and yet to others who have never worked on a flight deck, it will give an idea of what it was like and to get a feel of an operational flight deck. A thing which when in full flood was like a very,noisy,fast and beautifully choreographed ballet.
A must for any RN/FAA enthusiast.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Actual accounts 28 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is set apart by its content of accounts of actual experiences on board carriers. Some fascinating and hair raising tales are included and highlight the dangers of operating aircraft at sea. A lot of U.S.N. coverage features and I would like to have seen more post WW2 R.N. accounts.
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