Book Review – Warships of the Great War Era, a History in Ship Models

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The author followed an RN career as a pilot, then with a period as Curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum, before becoming a successful author of many highly regarded books. Naturally, he started with books covering aspects of naval aviation, but this new book provides a valuable review of warships of the Great War Era. Surprisingly, there have been very few books published on the same topic and those that have appeared have tended towards a narrow selection of classes and relied on drawings and photographs. This book follows a different path and features the history of warships through professional models. It is incredible that Britain has failed so spectacularly to preserve vintage warships that have not only been important to the Royal Navy, but marked a new standard in warship design. It is necessary to travel to the US to see a preserved battleship of the Great War Era. In Britain there is no Dreadnought or pre-Dreadnought or post-Dreadnought to view. The revolutionary early aircraft carriers all died in the breakers yard. Cruisers, destroyers and submarines have faired equally badly. There are many photographs and drawings, but these do not convey all of the character of warships that broke boundaries and took naval warfare to a new level. So strange when Britain literally led the World. However, there are many surviving models that all too often lurk in the recesses of museums or in the rarely viewed reserve collections that are hidden away because the museum lacks space to present them to visitors. This book is therefore not only very informative but it reminds us that these highly detailed models exist and provide a presentation of the character of the real warships that have sadly passed to scrap. An enjoyable and recommended book.

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