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