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BB Book Review


Another review for the Battleship Book, by Commander Mark R. Condeno, Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary:

From the Pre- dreadnought HMS Victoria to the Post World War Two USS Guam, the Battleship Book is a highly useful account of about 62 Battleships/Battlecruisers of 9 navies that possess them. The author Robert Farley, a teacher of national security courses at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky and an avid enthusiast of Maritime History, Airpower Theory and National Security issues is to be commended for this impressive tome. He is also the author of Grounded: The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force.

Beginning with an introduction in which he covers battleship history emerging from the Steel Battleship types of the late 19th Century to the advent of HMS Dreadnought in 1905 and until the demise of these Castles of Steel after the Second World War. He then present’s his thesis for coming up with the book and on why he has written it, its purpose and objective.

The book is divided into three chapters covering the era of the Pre-Dreadnought, World War One and World War Two. As each for the three chapters, each particular entry is typical providing basic ships information, its history from commissioning, actions involved to decommissioning as well as its impact on warfare and technology. He also provides comparisons to other battleships of each particular period. Apart from the individual ship entries which is the books strength were in the readers would gain knowledge of both old and new, interlude chapters on battles are provided in which these vessel engaged such as the Battle of Jutland (1916)- which celebrates the Battles Centenary this year, the Naval Treaties prior to World War Two and Pearl Harbor. Subsequently, 8 sidebars of various pages provide information on relative subjects like battleship aviation, turrets, guns, and even movies featuring these ships.

In assessment Mr. Farley, has done an outstanding job in adding another volume on Battleship History. The book is exciting and informative, and how it is arrayed is another gem, even with only one photograph per entry which is understandable, the history is of more importance. A four page conclusion, further reading section and photo credits supplement’s the book.

The Battleship Book is a valuable account for Naval Officers specially those on the Academy and Service School positions, Historians, Students and Enthusiasts. The book is highly recommended.

CDR Mark R Condeno

Yamato hit by bomb.jpg
HIJMS Yamato hit by bomb during Battle of Sibuyan Sea. By Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. http://www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nara-series/80-g/80-G-320000/80-G-325952.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=382967


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  • Lurker

    I must say that the recommendation in the end is so finely tuned that it is very close not being a recommendation.

    Naval Officers specially those on the Academy and Service School positions, Historians, Students and Enthusiasts.

    In essence, this reads as “service school teachers of maritime war history, and officers who have history as a hobby”. It makes rather clear that the book is too sophisticated and embedded with details to be of use to an average Philippine Navy Officer. Which is likely to be correct.

  • Humanities Grad

    Not having read the book yet, I can’t comment much on the review other than to note that the reviewer is very much a graduate of the Carrot Ironfoundersson school of punctuation.

    • Bill Murray

      I particularly liked the “In assessment Mr. Farley, has done …”

    • William Berry

      I liked “were in”, presumably an eggcorn of “wherein”!

  • Ken

    Where was this published? (It seems more… thoughtful and grammatical than the usual Amazon book review. Some YouTube comment sections seem more thoughtful and grammatical than the usual Amazon book review.)

    • Lurker

      Secondly, I would like to question using Mr. Condeno’s rank in this conjunction. Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary is a non-governmental organisation that is an adjunct of the Philippine Coast Guard. Its members may bear an internal rank that has a name similar to a naval rank.

      Usually, persons are not referred to with their ranks in their civilian hobbies unless the issue has to do with that hobby community. For example, I do not use my masonic honorifics outside masonic affairs.

      Normally, it is a courteous to refer to people with their honorifics. Nonetheless, in my opinion Mr. Farley’s use of the “Commander” honorific was inappropriate, as he is now promoting his own book. Indirectly, the honorific attributes to the review-writer such authority he does not have. This would be fine otherwise, but not when advertising one’s own work.

      • If you are going to pick nits, go for the hand-reared giant ones reserved for members of the Imperial family.

        • rea

          A hand-reared Imperial giant nit probably qualifies as a full louse.

          • ExpatChad

            I have lived in Leyte, midst the ruins of the largest naval engagement in history, for the last six years, and have never seen the slightest evidence of a Phil Coast Guard, much less the auxiliary.

            On the other hand, for giant, Imperial Nits (hand reared, no less) we have Rodrigo Duterte.

            Anyone care to rent him?


            • cpinva

              “Anyone care to rent him?”

              how much are you willing to pay?

              • ExpatChad

                I may pay my home and retirement and burial beside my son if you don’t. Is that worth anything?

      • (((Hogan)))

        Condeno regularly reviews books for military journals (including official service journals like Air & Space Power), and they don’t seem to have a problem with including his rank and branch of service. He clearly has some recognized expertise outside the hobby community.

        • Lurker

          I agree. If I were quoting this review, I would use Condeno’s rank. However, doing so when promoting one’s own work is slightly inappropriate.

          • Vance Maverick

            Your concern has been noted. ;-) Here, though, Farley is among friends, and tooting his horn is entirely forgivable.

            — Vance Maverick, OBE, Magister Templi

            • rea

              Many of us are proud of our skills and accomplishments

              –rea, Ace Pokemon Trainer

      • Ken

        I hadn’t intended to question anyone’s credentials, I was just wondering where the original could be found.

        • Vance Maverick

          Google leads only here, suggesting the original is an email or an internal newsletter (or not yet published).

      • Honorifics are much more common in Philippine usage than in the US. For instance, you will see “Engr.” used in front of an engineer’s name the way we would use “Dr.” for a medical doctor. Just because we omit them here doesn’t mean it isn’t normal usage elsewhere – and the honorific appeared in the original review which Farley quoted.

  • Keaaukane

    Does this mean that Dr. Farley is the BB King?

    • Mike in DC

      You should see his CV portfolio.

      • Mike in DC

        I’m also looking forward to his book on submarines but I can’t seem to find the SSBN# for it.

      • wjts

        Rob’s book is an admirable Enterprise, even if Lurker’s Waspish comments suggest he may have kicked the Hornet’s nest with this post (though the comment section here has admittedly never been a Shangri-La of the sort that Bon Homme Richard might have enjoyed). Still, Rob’s an Intrepid man and he can take it on the chin like a Boxer and I see no reason to believe that such criticisms will compromise his Independence as a blogger. Indeed, I suspect that we are not even Midway through a veritable Constellation of Rob’s posts on the subject. Let us hope that nothing happens to Forrestal the remainder of them, America!

        • Keaaukane

          Good one. Plus 1 fleet.

  • Retriever78

    I just visited the site and have seen the discussion with regards to my review of Mr Farley’s book.

    When I reviewed it, I have not use my Auxiliary Rank, but when I wrote in Official service journals I usually used it and in communications.

    Surprised of the turnout of discussion. I’ve been writing for a number of years in Official Naval & Military Service Journals of 7 countries and this is the first time the use of my auxiliary rank was questioned.

    Apart from being an Auxiliary Officer, as added justification I am also a PN Reserve Officers course graduate and have also serve as Research Officer of the PN’s Office of the Naval Historian and currently project consultant to its Maritime Historical Branch. Other than that I have also a US Military History Course taken a decade ago.

    Looking forward on Mr Farleys upcoming books as well as future discussions.

    Mark R Condeno

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