on 12 December 2014
As with all New Vanguard books this is a short introduction to an important type of ship. It covers five classes of the so-called "super-dreadnoughts" of the First World War, and includes HMS Erin and HMS Canada, originally built for the Turkish and Chilean navies respectively. The book starts with the Orion class and traces the design and development of the "super-dreadnoughts" through the King George V, Iron Duke, Queen Elizabeth, and Royal Sovereign classes.
Given the size of the book, the treatment of each class and the nature of their development of each is short, I will not say superficial, as there is only so much you can write in a small volume of 48 pages. However, there is enough to interest those who are looking for an introduction to this subject. The bibliography cites books that give more detailed information. After design and development are covered, the book describes wartime modifications of the ships, camouflage, the wartime fleet, and the war service of the ships.
If I were to be fussy, I would have preferred the author had omitted the latter subjects and had concentrated on the design and development aspects of the ships, and explained in detail the differences between the classes, particularly from the Orion class through to the Iron Dukes. and why they were incorporated. In addition, he might have spent a little more time discussing the difference between the Queen Elizabeths and the Royal Sovereigns.
There are a few errors in the book, mostly due to bad proofreading. The most obvious is on page 18 describing the Queens Elizabeths broadsides as "15,000 pounds compared to 14,000 ton broadsides of the Iron Dukes". OK, it is a slip, but it should have been caught by a proof-reader who had a little knowledge of these ships. The cutaway drawing, profiles and plans, and profiles of the ships are fine, but I am not a fan of the artwork in this series of books. However, I have seen worse.
This is not a book for someone who already has in-depth knowledge of these ships, it is more of an introduction, and should be treated as such. I buy them because they make light bedtime reading on a subject in which I am interested. I keep my more detailed books for more in depth study and research.
Edited Friday 12 December 2014 for a minor typo in second paragraph