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This particular publisher has tackled the subject of US Heavy Cruisers from WW2 by producing two books which complement each other perfectly. The first of these is the subject of this review and covers the pre-war classes which were still in service when hostilities commenced. The second covers wartime and post-war classes from 1943 to 1975.

It is another work from a series of books which have become very popular as far as those covering ship types are concerned. Altogether, the product is best described as an excellent overview of the subject which provides the perfect introduction for those who may be new to the topic. Before getting down to specifics, the book commences with; Introduction, Naval Strategy and the Role of the Heavy Cruiser, USN Heavy Cruiser Design and Naval Treaties, USN Heavy Cruiser Weapons, USN Heavy Cruiser Radar. There then follows five chapters covering the pertinent detail for the following classes of ship; Pensacola, Northampton, Portland, New Orleans and Wichita. Within each of these are the four headings; Design & Construction, Armament, Service Modifications and Wartime Service. The book then concludes with; Analysis & Conclusion, Bibliography and Index.

In short, established author Mark Stille begins by expertly setting the scene in terms of US naval strategy and the design of the most important aspects of this type of ship in the form of hull, weapons and radar and includes whatever generalities were relevant. Following this most instructional narrative, we then find the particular details of each of the five classes mentioned.

The work is fully supported by images of the highest possible quality with either an historic photograph or artistic impression on almost every page. Though mostly ship portraits, some photographs also cover other aspects - such as four vessels streaming in line ahead and executing a 90 degree turn to starboard in unison, ships at anchor and alongside, gun crews, vessels fully camouflaged and some instances of damage. That well-known photograph of the USS Minneapolis minus her entire bow section forward of her guns is included.

The artistic illustrations fall into three broad categories; Across pages 34-35 is a port-side profile of the USS San Francisco with two cutaway sections showing; (A) her engine room and (B) the aft triple 8 in gun turret - all the way down to the magazine revealing the ammunition and the mechanisms for loading shells. There are two excellent images of ships at work; (A) the USS Houston under fire during the Battle of Sunda Strait and (B) the USS Tuscaloosa firing her guns in support of US Forces on D-Day. Perhaps of more importance, however, the third group comprises three images for each class with two very different starboard profiles and one deck detail. Each of these is accompanied by lengthy captions in which items of particular interest (modifications, position of radar etc) are pointed out.

I doubt there is any “new” or revolutionary information which was hitherto unknown by today’s experts. For those with lesser knowledge, however, I really cannot think of a better way of learning about the ships covered by this book and, for that reason alone, the work must be considered as very useful and fully recommended!

NM
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on 5 December 2014
A decent, well written overview of Second World War US Heavy Cruisers. Though limited in scope and content due to the nature of these wonderful little volumes, the book gives the reader a good overview and brief insight into the workings of a vital naval asset.
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on 22 April 2014
Another excellent book from this wonderful author. It covers all pre-war classes of US heavy cruisers and the author imparts his usual knowledgeable stamp on the subject. Another winner in this series dealing with Wartime ships.
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on 4 July 2014
Perfect thanks
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on 29 August 2016
A really good potted history - just what I wanted! Swift delivery, all good!
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on 14 January 2016
Excellent book as usual!!
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on 10 August 2014
Some misprint in text
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on 25 July 2014
Before the time of the modern aeroplane the heavy cruiser was always a ship of Empire it was designed to police the World. This book is of some interest to a minority but it does succeed in illuminating the problems faced by a fast developing Country of World dominating aspirations which was patiently waiting in the wings to take over the reins from a dying British Empire set drifting with a deliberate and accumulating inevitabiiity towards it's final fatal countdown.

The background of this book hints to us that the rest of the world had finally caught up with the British Empire ...and now the game was up its selfish geofascist London based establishment was openly squeezing and stripping any easily removeable assets from it's colonies post haste and thereby accelerating the end of it's Worldwide domination. As an integral part of this explosive decline the London establishment was deliberately neglecting it's global responsibilities and inherent obligations to all of it's increasingly victimised peoples and callously ... knowingly precipitating a massive Worldwide feeding frenzy amonst those who wished to inherit The World.
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