Most helpful positive review
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
An excellent book. Good on more than one level
on 16 October 2011
As an ex professional warship photographer ( C & S Taylor ) and a great admirer of pre-1920 ship photography I was looking forward to this book. The quality of the period's really big negatives on glass plates, each individually developed, gave superb results difficult to achieve even with today's technology.
Now it is finally available, am I pleased with this book ?
Resoundingly YES, on many levels.
The photography is, as expected, superb, well chosen, and on the whole well reproduced. Good quality paper has helped.
We were lucky that John Brown built such a representative selection of battlecruisers (Inflexible, Australia, Tiger, Repulse and Hood) which covers almost all the RN classes. Each of these five ships has very full chapter of wonderfull images.
But that's not all. I had expected the text to be somewhat pedestrian, merely re-iterating what is available in standard works. Not so, the author has delved deep into archives not only of John Brown but other prime sources , giving the reader an unusual view of the practicalities of warship design, politics and construction. For example the split of the detailed design work between the various yards building each class is fully explained, and one of the best précis of the Repulse and Renown class design from official sources which I have ever seen. And much design minuteae not given before.
Indeed in many respects the text is as valuable as the photos. Anyone interested in British warship design and construction of the period will find it informative, even if their interest in battlecruisers is minimal !
There are plans and explanations of the yard itself, giving a background to the detail in the photos.
Plus several appendices and a somewhat limited index and bibliography.
Overall the book is not only, as expected, a treat for the eyes, but a very valuable contribution to the naval historians knowledge.
Very highly recommended