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on 20 April 2004
Your first impression upon recieving this will be just how huge it is. Atjust over 6cm (2.5 inchs) in thickness you had better strengthen yourshelves and coffee tables. The huge impression does not stop there forinside the covers is a cruiser policy, design and operational history thatmakes excellent books like "Norman Friedman's US Cruisers - An Illustrateddesign history" and "Robert's - Britsh cruisers of WWII" look childlikein comparison (and these last two titles are amongst the best that moneycan buy being far better than their closest rivals). This book is for thededicated naval buff and anyone intent on research in this topic.
Those of you who thought they had all the information they needed onJapanease cruisers from either "Whitley's - Cruisers of WWII" or "Conway'sall the world's fighting ships 1922-47", think again. These books oftenberate the Japanease designs and certainly don't do them justice. Whereas the authors of "Japanease cruisers of the Pacific War" have gone togreat pains searching through even Japanease sources to write the mostcomplete work on Japanease cruisers that there will ever be. You could saythat the title often strays a little from cruisers as it delves deeplyinto policy and then the conplex subject of firecontrol. If you wanted toknow how a type 94 Japanease director and computer functioned, its in thisbook along with simple diagrams and any of its ancesters used on boardJapanease cruisers in WWII. In fact the number crunchers among you mightenjoy the dispersion figures and statistical chances of hitting a targetat 20000 metres and so on....
For those who just want to know the life and times of these ships, thatsin there too. Modellers will find this work invaluable, for while the shipdiagrams are small (they have to fit inside), none the less the diagramsand details on the ships superstrutures, the modifications they underwent,the internal arrangements, the armour schemes etc. are all in there. Asfar as I can tell only paint schemes and crew member names have been leftout!
On general Japanease policy and Japanease ambitions in the interwar periodand beyond, this work will prove an invaluble resource. Containing amongstother things, some Japanease inteligence of the time and their projectedbuilding programs. For example we now know that the 1940 Battlecruiser B64often quoted in the west, should be B65 and that a class of 6 (not 2)ships were planned.
Like any book, there are some weaknesses. For me it was in the layoutwhich was quite alien and tiring. A graphist here or there might have madeit easier on the eye especially when flicking back and forth. However forthe dedicated reader this work will leeve your jaw dropping in places suchas when you learn that the cruiser Nachi underwent a final torrid ordealof 9 torpedo and 20 bomb hits (a lot for a cruiser) and so on. Thisoutstanding work has yet to become widely known as the definitive work onthe subject. I fear that by the time it does, it will be no longeravailable with a high second hand market price. My advice is get it whileyou can or pay far more in the future.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 August 2012
I bought this book new in 1997 so I'm a bit late with this review-- why?--because I could never quite 'get into it'. It seems almost sacreligious to say that of an 880 page book that represents a lifetime of dedication on the part of the authors.

As others have said, it's really very well written with huge amounts of technical detail, accompanied by innumerable charts and digrams- though that very fact means you need to be in quite a 'studious' mood in order to attack it. Personally I do not like the appreach whereby a class is described 'as built' but you then have to hunt through this huge volume to locate the sections dealing with modifications and rebuilds. The drawings are well produced, but many longitudinal profiles are divided at the spine and thus have a gap of about 2 cm in the middle. 'Fold out' plans would have been much better. There is no colour section.

There are many photographs here, but they are rather small, not always using the space available across the page. Unfortunately the paper quality is not exceptional- cost clearly played a part in this- and as a result the photos lack definition and quite a few seem under exposed. Of course really good photographs of these Japanese warships are sometimes hard to locate- but the reproduction standards here do not compare with that found in, for example, the 'Warship Pictorial' books on these ships.

There are 140 pages of appendix. Personally I do not like appendix's: with a few exceptions, if something is really worth saying it ought to be in the main body of the book, otherwise this makes for a 'disjointed' account. Similarly, the wartime history of each class is given individually. I'm not sure this can be adequately done without a great deal of repetition when describing events and it's as though the particular class of cruisers in question acted in isolation from the rest of the fleet, which they sometimes did- but not often. In the new book 'The Littorio Class' the operational history is given in one long account, which I prefer- though others will take a different view.

Of course this is a superb work of scholarship, but to be really accessable it needs to 'flow' as a narative and a standard work of this kind deserves better production standards. Perhaps it would have been better produced as two or three more manageable- and individually more affordable- volumes. As an enormous book the size of a breeze block 'Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific war' is hard to hold, let alone to comfortably read! Nevertheless, if you are a real enthusiast you ought to own this book, so it's unfortunate that good secondhand examples are now becoming quite unaffordable for most people to buy.
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on 1 February 1999
This is the most comprehensive book I to this date have seen on japanese cruisers. The books describes Japanese cruisers built from 1918-1945. The books describes the thechnical aspects as weel as the single cruisers oprerations in WWII. That the book really goes into details can be illustrated by mentioning that there is chapter describing the cruisers of the Ping Hai class built for China but taken over by the imperial navy when war came. There are many drawings and lots of photos never published before in a book in the english langue. Simply perfect.
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on 7 September 2006
I had the pleasure of using this work for my dissertation and despite its daunting size it is actually a beautifully written and entirely accessible work. It actually covers the interwar years in such lavish detail it could just as easily be called "Japanese Cruisers 1919-45" without contradiction.

Furthermore to my astonishment, when I needed to question Mr Lacroix on a specific area of the book relevant to my dissertation, he responded within 24 hours of me sending an email.
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on 26 December 2009
In many ways, IJN cruisers were among the most interesting ships in the old Japanese Navy. Fast, heavily armed and generally of distinctive and menacing appearance, they seemed to epitomise much of the fighting spirit of that service, and were constantly in action from the first days of the war until the end of the surface fleet.

With this massive book, the authors have done full justice to their subject matter. Apart from amazingly detailed tecnical descriptions and drawings there is a wealth of photos, many of which will be unfamiliar, as well as a huge volume of information on the design history of these ships and their service lives.

If I had to make a criticism it would only be that its size and weight mean that it is strictly a table top book; but there again, this 'fault' is only a reflection of the huge amount of information it contains.

If you are interested in the Japanese Navy, this is certainly a must-buy book, and it seems most unlikely that it will ever be bettered.
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on 20 April 2004
Your first impression upon recieving this will be just how huge it is. Atjust over 6cm (2.5 inchs) in thickness you had better strengthen yourshelves and coffee tables. The huge impression does not stop there forinside the covers is a cruiser policy, design and operational history thatmakes excellent books like "Norman Friedman's US Cruisers - An Illustrateddesign history" and "Robert's - Britsh cruisers of WWII" look childlikein comparison (and these last two titles are amongst the best that moneycan buy being far better than their closest rivals). This book is for thededicated naval buff and anyone intent on research in this topic.
Those of you who thought they had all the information they needed onJapanease cruisers from either "Whitley's - Cruisers of WWII" or "Conway'sall the world's fighting ships 1922-47", think again. These books oftenberate the Japanease designs and certainly don't do them justice. Whereas the authors of "Japanease cruisers of the Pacific War" have gone togreat pains searching through even Japanease sources to write the mostcomplete work on Japanease cruisers that there will ever be. You could saythat the title often strays a little from cruisers as it delves deeplyinto policy and then the conplex subject of firecontrol. If you wanted toknow how a type 94 Japanease director and computer functioned, its in thisbook along with simple diagrams and any of its ancesters used on boardJapanease cruisers in WWII. In fact the number crunchers among you mightenjoy the dispersion figures and statistical chances of hitting a targetat 20000 metres and so on....
For those who just want to know the life and times of these ships, thatsin there too. Modellers will find this work invaluable, for while the shipdiagrams are small (they have to fit inside), none the less the diagramsand details on the ships superstrutures, the modifications they underwent,the internal arrangements, the armour schemes etc. are all in there. Asfar as I can tell only paint schemes and crew member names have been leftout!
On general Japanease policy and Japanease ambitions in the interwar periodand beyond, this work will prove an invaluble resource. Containing amongstother things, some Japanease inteligence of the time and their projectedbuilding programs. For example we now know that the 1940 Battlecruiser B64often quoted in the west, should be B65 and that a class of 6 (not 2)ships were planned.
Like any book, there are some weaknesses. For me it was in the layoutwhich was quite alien and tiring. A graphist here or there might have madeit easier on the eye especially when flicking back and forth. However forthe dedicated reader this work will leeve your jaw dropping in places suchas when you learn that the cruiser Nachi underwent a final torrid ordealof 9 torpedo and 20 bomb hits (a lot for a cruiser) and so on. Thisoutstanding work has yet to become widely known as the definitive work onthe subject. I fear that by the time it does, it will be no longeravailable with a high second hand market price. My advice is get it whileyou can or pay far more in the future.
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on 13 September 1999
Huge, incredibly detailed study. Bulging with illustrations and diagrams. Wonderful book for all interested in the IJN.
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