This book is just a shade short of 190 pages and gives a fair history of Hitler's seven post WWI Battleship; the Lutzow, Admiral Scheer, Graf Spee, Gneisenau, Scharhorst, Bismarch, and Tirpitz.
There are three surprising items in this book. The three pre-dreadnought battleships that Germany is allowed to keep in the post WWI have their fates and uses fully described in this book. Basically, the pre-dreadnoughts were used as training ships or fire support monitors. Second, the book does a great job talking about the debacle in Norway. Third, in nearly all of the losses of the battleships the root cause nearly all goes to the Luftwaffe.
Graf Spee was scuttled. However, because of the poor air observation techniques of the float plan assigned to her, it let British authorities either be warned of the Spee or to track the Spee using float planes launched from the British cruisers. The very good German float planes were more than a match for the RN Walrus reconnaissance aircraft. Why the AR 196 are never used an an anti-reconnasance aircraft role is a problem the German Luftwaffe never solves.
Hitler was warned by Admiral Raeder that the invasion of Norway was a bad idea. At the time of the Norway invasion the German surface fleet had only four battleships and two of those were of the slow "Panzershiffe", the pocket battleships. When the Norway invasion was done Hitler didn't have one battleship in service. All his battleships had either been shelled, bombed, mined, or torpedoed out of action.
Bismarck was indirectly lost through Luftwaffe inaction. A proper German reconnaissance of the by-the-Norway coast was not done. No German aircraft screened the passage of Bismarck and that action would have shot down the lone Spitfire which spotted the ship. Last, both Scharhorst and Gneisenau were damaged by RAF bombings at their port in Brest, France. If the Luftwaffe had screened the Bismarck and she had been met by a force of Gneisenau and Scharhorst then there is almost no chance that Britain would have been able to stop this most fast and powerful battleship squadron. The battle of the Atlantic was lost in early 1941 by the want of just 100 fighter aircraft to screen or protect the battleships.
When both Gneisenau and Scharhorst are used as fast raiders they cut lanes of destruction through the Atlantic ocean. With Bismarck as a heavy base ship then the surface ships of the Atlantic would have stood no chance against this powerful squadron. Yes, the war was that close. Three battleships would have caused the convoys to scatter and become easy prey for the German U-boat wolf packs.
Hitler would have done well to have Goering shot. Indirectly, Goering cost Hitler his whole surface Navy.
After the sinking of Bismarck the rest of the surface fleet were to be sunk in due time. Gneisenau was eventually turned useless by mines, air attacks, and torpedos. She was sunk as a block ship in 1945. Scharhorst was lost to the KGV in 1943. The main reason was the lack of any aircraft screening by the Luftwaffe. Her loss is told in great detail in the book.
Tirpitz, Lutzow, and Scheer are lost in air attacks. The former was given no air support. She was shuttled from Norway harbor to another Norway harbor as kind of a live target for RAF bomber crews. Scheer was crushed in a massive bombing raid. Because her crew was in an air raid bunker Scheer lost the fewest of her crew on any air raid and finished her days as sort of the most lucky ship in the German Navy. Lutzow was sunk by air attacks while in harbor. However, her above the water guns provided needed support to the dying German army in early May of 1945. She was destroyed by her own crew when over 100 rounds of 150mm ammo was exploded in the ship. The first of Hitler's battleships died as the last.
This book is most worthwhile and informative. However, it only has a mild amount of technical data on the German battleships. You will have to reference other books for the information on construction techniques. Also, this book often directly quotes from other books. So, some of the information is a little of a re-hash, this book borrows quite a bit from "The Elusive Sisters, the Gneisenau and Scharhorst" . The result is the retold stories and lack of technical data costs a star.
But, the information on the German high seas command is priceless. The intolerable way that Germany has no Maritime Naval aircraft indirectly costs it the war against Britain.
I highly recommend this most worthwhile book.