Superbly researched, well written, magnificently illustrated, but loses a star for being ludicrously difficult to read because of the choice and size of typeface. Not everyone who buys this book will be as old as I am, but a fair few may suffer from similar fading eyesight and will be disappointed to have to struggle to read it. I note the designer was sufficiently proud of his work to give himself a credit: surely the publisher could have found someone with less pride and more ability?
This book is a welcome companion to Burt's recently published and revised volume on Battleships of World War 2. It follows much the same format and provides detailed descriptions of each class of ship. The book begins with Dreadnought and continues chronologically through each class to Courageous, Glorious, and Furious. There are short histories of each ship in the class, and the occasional excursus into significant losses, such as Audacious and Vanguard; camouflage, with a few colour plates of the more interesting schemes; post-war gunnery trials; the differences between each ship in its class; and some of the to-ing and fro-ing that went on with the designs of each ship.
As you would expect, the book is filled with photographs of each ship, and the photographs include some of battle damage too. The line drawings are clear, but most cover two pages with the inevitable gap in the middle. Even so, this should not put anyone off buying the book. The photographs and line drawings will be particularly useful for modellers too.
Burt's book will make a welcome addition to the library of anyone interested in these magnificent ships, whether they are amateurs such as me, or readers with more specialised knowledge. In short, it is hard to fault this book, and now it is revised, it is once again affordable given the prices the previous edition commanded in the second-hand market.
This revised version of a classic work contains many new photographs in addition to some excellent colour illustrations and line drawings - all of which combine to enhance an excellent product. What I had not previously realised in my earlier reviews of other equally splendid works by R. A. Burt was that, as an accomplished draughtsman and illustrator, this professional artwork is his own!
As one who is continually involved in professional research into historic ships of all types, my first impression was of the considerable fine detail which is included. Easily one of `the' most comprehensive works on the subject of the British battleship from the First World War, I was particularly impressed with, for example, the significant differences between the 12in gun turrets fitted to different vessels. By providing line drawings and explanations of those different turrets (and other aspects), those with a far greater knowledge of these ships than my own will be able to appreciate the entire product.
I would also suggest these minute variations and differences will also be of great assistance to those who make scale models.
With over 350 pages of fully researched material, the author sets the scene in a well-written and well-illustrated eleven page introduction in which he provides the reader with an appraisal rarely seen in other works. In addition, when one considers this is a technical tome in which all the relevant battleships and their various designs and variations are all fully explained, it says much for this author that the work is immensely readable. In no time at all, I found myself cross-referencing from page to page as I worked my way through the book - and enjoying it immensely.
The main chapters cover the following Classes of ship with all the information one would hope to find; Dreadnought, Invincible, Bellerophon, St. Vincent, Indefatigable, Neptune, Colossus, Orion, Lion, Queen Mary, King George V, Iron Duke, Tiger, Erin, Canada, Agincourt, Queen Elizabeth, Royal Sovereign, Renown & Repulse, Courageous, Glorious & Furious and finally we are treated to a Conclusion in which the author provides a fascinating view of these ships during the war years and an equally interesting comparison between the two major battle fleets of the time.
Both the quantity and quality of the historic photographs are of the highest standard and that aspect alone reflects the considerable thought and preparation which went into the completion of this first-rate work.
This is a masterpiece of research. Valuable information simply pop out of every single page. This work is a must for naval historians, war researchers and, not the least, warship modellers. Images and drawings alone make it money's worth. The photograps are treasures, most of them never seen before. Moreover, the photographs have been brilliantly re-worked making them invaluable sources of information and a great pleasure to look at.
I make 1/700 scale waterline warships. This book is essential to anyone's Naval collection. All reviews about this book are correct. Excellent, narrative, plans and photographs. No need for me to elaborate further. For the price I paid, under £30.00 this is a bargain!