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on 10 September 2008
"Ark Royal": Sailing into Glory
This book is a fascinating glimpse into the history of a very famous Royal Navy ship. However it is marred by some rather annoying mistakes which crop up with monotonous regularity. If the reader knows nothing about maritime history especially about the Royal Navy and its' adversaries it would pass as a good read both historically and also for the frustrations that producers and makers of documentaries face in gaining finance and approval for the production of television programmes. Some of the mistakes which tend to grate are the classification of various ships and aircraft. HMS Hood was a battlecruiser not a battleship likewise HMS Renown was also a battlecruiser. HMS Berwick gets several honourable mentions as a battleship in reality she was a County Class heavy cruiser the same applies to the German Heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen it to was identified as a battleship. A couple of destroyers are wrongly identified as cruisers and HMS Rodney was described as a battlecruiser a relic from the first world war. If we ignore these errors the book is an enjoyable read and worth adding to the collection.
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on 25 November 2006
A "must read" for anyone with an interest in naval history and war at sea. The accounts of the veterans and discovery and subsequent exploration of the wreck make this an even more fascinating read and bring the story of the "Ark" right up to date.
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on 29 July 2007
While the book is a reasonable overview of the subject, and the discovery of the wreck is fairly interesting, it is difficult to find many positive things to say about it.

It fails as an historical text for several reasons. Firstly it is almost impossible to keep track of complex military manoeuvres without maps, and yet there is only one in the entire book - and this bears very little relevance to the action described!

There are quite a few photos, but not many are of the Ark in action, and some do not have captions. At one point Rossiter describes a photo of the Ark with oil spilling from it, but for some reason does not include it. The tiny computer images of the survey are unexplained and rather meaningless, and the handful of photos of the wreck is rather miserly considering the book is nearly 400 pages long.

Rossiter does not refer to dates and times enough for the reader to be certain of chronology. He is also rather vague sometimes. On page 54 he describes the battle of Jutland in 1916 as inconclusive. This is true to the extent that losses were fairly even, but he fails to acknowledge that the German High Seas Fleet did not leave port again, and it mutinied when ordered to do so. On the pages leading up to 78 Rossiter describes the engagement with two U-Boats, the U-30 which was damaged but escaped to port, and the U-39 which was sunk. But he then mentions that the crews involved in the sinking of the U-30 assembled for inspection by the First Lord of the Admiralty....the U-30? Then later, on page 149 he finishes a chapter on the action of the Ark in the Mediterranean by stating that the first shots in Britain's war with Germany had been fired. So what was that about the U-Boats? It all left me wondering how much of Rossiter's text I could trust.

Rossiter does not make much use of primary sources, apart from the five former crew members he meets during his survey and the odd letter from Admiral Sommerville to his wife. The text reads as though he has read a few history books and from these has compiled a new narrative, rather than starting from the original accounts. The print is also very large, and gives the impression that someone has tried to pad it out a bit.

The book provides a narrative, and even though the prose was bland, the operations it describes are staggering in their daring and conduction. They are also stories that need to be told, as a number of these people are still alive, unrecognised. But on its own merit, this is not a book I would recommend.
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on 12 July 2013
The greater part of the book covers the birth, life and death rather than the rediscovery, but still a good read and don't ever recall seeing a TV documentary on the subject (apologies if I am wrong)
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on 27 October 2013
Delivery as promised, book in good condition . My husband worked on one of the Ark Royal's and the information in this book has been a joy for him to read.
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on 14 January 2014
bought it as a present for my brother who is very interested in history of any sort,he was pleased with it.
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on 1 November 2015
A very interesting and factual account of the search for this import ant ship of WII .
Well done Mike
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on 8 February 2007
I found this book a must read for WW11 historians, Mike Rossiter has researched the 'life' of the Ark Royal and its aircrew. The book is based more on the Ark's activities during the WW11, although the finding of the Ark was extremly interesting. This book is full of facts.

I have now become interested in other books - Sink the Bismarck and the Battle of Taranto. How the Fairy Swordfish aircraft played a major role.
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on 23 April 2013
Purchased for my Dad on Kindle, he had a stroke so perfect for him and he seems to be enjoying the book
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on 13 April 2008
I was given this book as a birthday present which was ideal given my interest in Naval history. I've grown up only really knowing the present HMS Ark Royal so I was particularly keen to read about one of the historic predecessor namesakes that played a major part in WW2.

The book is split into two main themes the ship's historic life and the author's quest to find the wreck over 60 years later. The author takes the reader through "the Ark's" life from construction, her wartime service and eventual loss including interesting information provided by veterans who served aboard. Interspersed within the book are photos taken throughout HMS Ark Royal's life including images from the wreck showing her present condition.

All in all, I found this a fascinating book that gave me a much better understanding of the role HMS Ark Royal played during the Second World War; and the incredible bravery of all who served. Very much recommended for Naval historians or individuals interested in learning more about some of the key RN Naval battles of WW2.
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