Books on Naval Warfare

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Naval Warfare
Napoleonic Wars
First World War
Second World War
Other Topics
Books - Naval Warfare

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Athenian Trireme vs Persian Trireme – The Graeco-Persian Wars 499-449 BC, Nic Fields. Combines a detailed examination of the triremes of this period with an account of four of the main battles – Lade, Artemisia, Salamis and Eurymedon. Benefits from focusing on the actual triremes, looking at how they were built, their design (with more differences between types of trireme than you might think), how they were manned and how their condition might affect their effectiveness in battle, before moving on to look at the four battles (Read Full Review)
US Navy Protected Cruisers 1883-1918, Brian Lane Herder. An interesting look at the first steel warships built for what became the Steel Navy or New Navy, a group of largely experimental protected cruisers that were mainly significant for their impact on US industry, but that also played a major role in late 19th American Imperialism, the Spanish-American War and the conquest of the Philippines (Read Full Review)
US Navy Gun Destroyer 1945-88 – Fletcher class to Forrest Sherman class, Mark Stille. Looks at the gun destroyers of the Cold War period, giving brief overviews of their design, weaponry, sensors and service, before moving onto a larger class-by-class examination that gives useful details on how each class was modified, along with tables showing which members of each class got which modification, making it a useful reference work for these ships (Read Full Review)
Elizabeth’s Navy – Seventy Years of the Postwar Royal Navy, Paul Brown. Traces the evolution of the Royal Navy during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, taking it from the huge post-war Navy of 1952 to the tiny fleet of today, dominated by the two largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy. Each chapter begins with a history of that decade, including any naval conflicts (mainly the tail end of Korea and the Falklands War) and how it affected the Navy, then moves on to a series of photographs of sample ships of that period with captions normally describing their fate (Read Full Review)
Combat Divers – An Illustrated History of Special Forces Divers, Michael G. Welham. After a brief history of the early combat diver focuses on the modern Special Forces diver, looking at what we know about the various units around the world, how they are trained and what little we know about their deployments, before moving on to look at the technology they use, from the standard diving suit to mini-submarines and on to modern underwater drones. A difficult task because of the secrecy that surrounds all of these forces, but the author has done a good job (Read Full Review)
Landing Craft & Amphibians – Seaborne Vessels in the 20th Century, Ben Skipper. Covers a very large topic in a fairly short space, looking at everything from the smallest Infantry landing craft through to the massive Landing Ship Tanks, over a period stretching from Gallipoli, through the Second World War to the end of the 20th Century. As a result each type of vessel only gets a small space, but we do get a good overview of the massive range of landing craft and amphibians produced over the last century, and in particular the huge variant of such craft produced on all sides during the Second World War (Read Full Review)
Warship 2022 – ed John Jordan. An interesting collection of high quality articles on topics that vary from the gunboats of Imperial Germany to the massive ‘super-battleship’ designs produced in the Soviet Union in 1939-41, covering a time period from the nineteenth century to the present day. A good selection of high quality articles, many of which could easily be turned into a stand-alone Osprey (Read Full Review)


US Navy Armored Cruisers 1890-1933, Brian Lane Herder. Looks at these large, fast US cruisers, an important part of the US Navy before the First World War, when despite the flaws in the armoured cruiser concept the American examples were amongst the best designed ships in the fleet. Looks at their combat high point during the Spanish-American War and their decline to obsolescence after the arrival of the faster dreadnoughts and battlecruisers removed their key advantage (Read Full Review)
Essex Class Aircraft Carriers 1945-91, Mark Stille. Looks at the post Second World War of the massive Essex class of aircraft carriers, given a new lease of life by the Korean War, tracing their many upgrades to allow them to operate jet aircraft, their use off Korea and Vietnam, the types of aircraft they used and ending with brief ship by ship summaries of their careers and upgrades (Read Full Review)
Warships in the Baltic Campaign 1918-20 – The Royal Navy takes on the Bolsheviks, Angus Konstam. A useful account of the little known British led intervention in the Baltic which saw a small Royal Navy fleet play an important role in establishing the independence of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, helping fight off Soviet and German forces. Covers the campaign itself, and the ships and men of the Soviet Baltic Fleet and the Royal Navy and allies (Read Full Review)
The World of the Battleship – The Design and Careers of Capital Ships of the World’s Navies 1900-1950, ed. Bruce Taylor. Looks at the careers of twenty one battleships, battlecruisers and armoured cruisers from twenty one different countries, from the Chen Yuen of 1882 to the Missouri of 1944. Looks at the political reasons for the purchase of these expensive ships, their technical specifications, their combat record if they had any, and their impact on their home nations, along with interesting sections on life onboard, demonstrating how much the experience of the sailors could vary from nation to nation (Read Full Review)
The British Navy in Eastern Waters – The Indian and Pacific Oceans, John D. Grainger. Looks at the long involvement of British naval forces in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from the first tentative voyages of exploration, through the long years of rivalry with France and through the period of British dominance that didn’t end until the Second World War and the retreat from Empire. A fascinating account of the development of British naval dominance in an area which never saw a major British naval battle, and rarely saw the deployment of powerful fleets and yet which still became the ‘jewel in the crown’ and for some time was effectively a British ‘lake’ (Read Full Review)
French Warships in the Age of Steam 1859-1914 – Design, Construction, Careers and Fates, Stephen S. Roberts. A valuable reference work that looks at the development and technical specification of some 1,400 warships that were built for the French Navy between the launch of the first ocean-going ironclad Gloire and the outbreak of the First World War. Also includes very brief overviews of their careers, mainly looking at the key dates in their construction, when they went in and out of commission and when their careers ended (Read Full Review)
British Gunboats of Victoria’s Empire, Angus Konstam. Looks at the warships that carried out the famous ‘gunboat diplomacy’ of the Victorian Empire, a type of shallow draft screw driven warship that evolved from Crimean war area coastal bombardment gunboats into more flexible gunvessels and sloops, capable of operating in shallow waters and rivers but also of ocean voyages, making them a flexible instrument of British power. Focuses largely on the technical descriptions and development of the type, with a brief look at their use (Read Full Review)
Anson’s Navy – Building a Fleet for Empire, 1744-1763, Brian Lavery. Looks at the Royal Navy during the period in which Anson was at its helm, showing how the more familiar navy of Nelson’s period began to emerge under Anson. Covers just about every aspect of naval life from the food to the dockyards, daily life on board to the major battles, to give a fascinating view of a Royal Navy that was significantly different to the one we are familiar with, but that was evolving into that more familiar one. (Read Full Review)
Large Scale Warship Models – from Kits to Scratch Building, Kerry Jang. A guide to how to build what must be the largest type of models produced in any significant numbers, hugely impressive warship models that can be almost three meters long! An interesting combination of impressive examples of these huge models and very detailed technical discussions of issues (including a page of notes on glue that covered several times more types than I realised existed!). Should serve as inspiration for anyone considering getting into this hobby, as well as a useful guide to the art itself (Read Full Review)
US Navy Frigates of the Cold War, Mark Stille. Looks at the US Navy’s post war ocean anti-submarine warfare escort vessels, designated as destroyer escorts until 1975 then as frigates, examining their anti-submarine weaponry, their actual role in the fleet, and the seven post-war classes that were produced to fulfil that role (Read Full Review)
Rome Rules the Waves – A Naval Staff Appreciation of Ancient Rome’s Maritime Strategy, 300 BCE-500 CE, James J Bloom. An interesting idea, examining Roman naval history from the point of view of the important late 19th century and early 20th century naval strategists, in particular Mahan and Corbett, as well as the terminology of modern naval warfare. Does a good job of proving how important control of the sea was to Rome, and the loss of that control played a major role in the fall of the Western Empire, although could do with being better organised (Read Full Review)
Elizabeth’s Sea Dogs and their War Against Spain, Brian Best. An interesting look at the semi-official naval forces used by Elizabethan England to try and make up for the lack of a proper Royal Navy in the long un-declared war against Spain and their role in the campaign against the Spanish Armada. Covers the famous figures such as Drake or Hawkins, but also their less well known contemporaries, many of whom come across as eccentric at best! (Read Full Review)
The British Navy in the Caribbean, John D. Grainger. Looks at the long British naval involvement in the Caribbean, starting with the Elizabethan raids that came before the first official involvement and moving on to the long but often inconsistent official presence in those waters, and the closely related British colonial presence in the area. A useful guide to the British involvement, covering many unfamiliar periods as well as the better known exploits of Drake and Nelson (Read Full Review)
Lepanto 1571- The Madonna’s Victory, Nic Fields. Takes an unusual but effective approach to the battle, starting with eleven chapters looking at some of the participants, before moving on to look at the ships, guns and soldiers and sailors, and only finally examining the battle itself, which was a famous victory with surprisingly limited results. An excellent book on a battle fought in a rather unfamiliar style, combining oar powered galleys with gunpowder weapons including bow mounted cannons and handguns. (Read Full Review)
The Junks and Sampans of the Yangtze, G.R.G. Worcester. A truly compelling book looking at far more than it’s title might suggest – as well as detailed examinations of the many different types of junks and sampans found on the Yangtze, we also get an enthralling account of life on that river as it was until fairly recently, written by a British member of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service, who was given eight years to research his topic! Has a timeless feel, despite being researched during a time of near constant civil war, followed by Japanese invasion, with the author spending time in a Japanese prison camp, and having to leave China after the Communist takeover. This is one of those books that I’m sad to have finished!(Read Full Review)
Spanish Galleon vs English Galleon, 1550-1605, Mark Lardas.Looks at the design, construction and crews of English and Spanish galleons, the differences between them (and how they changed), their place in the naval world of the late sixteenth century, and three iconic clashes involving galleons on both sides. Particularly interesting when looking at why the two countries produced different designs of galleons, and how the Spanish in particular learnt from their experiences and produced better ships after the Armada. (Read Full Review)
Britain’s War Against the Slave Trade, Anthony Sullivan. Focuses on Britain’s long naval campaign against the African slave trade, which combined with a prolonged diplomatic effort eventually ended that trade. Largely taken up with accounts of every clash between the Royal Navy and slaving ships along the coast, the fate of those slavers and the people found onboard, but also looks at the attempts to win over the major slaving nations, and the difficulties caused by jointly run courts set up to decide the eventual fate of the captured ships(Read Full Review)
The Battle of Tsushima, Phil Carradice. Although the book includes good material on the reasons for the campaign and the battle itself, it focuses largely on the utterly compelling story of the 18,000 mile long voyage taken by the Russian Baltic Fleet as it moved towards near-total distruction at the battle of Tsushima. This voyage was a major achievement, carried out with hardly any friendly bases along the route, but is inevitably overshadowed by the crushing defeat of the Russian fleet at the end of the voyage (Read Full Review)
Sovereign of the Seas 1637, John McKay. A rather technical, but also lavishily illustrated, examination of Charles I’s famous flagship, split into a very technical first half discussing the details of the ship and her construction and the methods used to fill the gaps in our knowledge, and an impressive section of 2D, 3D and isometric plans that cover just about every part of the ship in great detail(Read Full Review)
Admiral Albert Hastings Markham – A Victorian Tale of Triumph, Tragedy & Exploration, Frank Jastrzembski. A biography of a Victorian admiral most famous for his part in the disastrous lost of HMS Victoria in 1893, but who deserves to be better known for his role in Arctic exploration, and the general adventurousness  of his life! This saw him serve in Chinese waters, the South Seas, and reach the furthest point north yet achieved by explorers(Read Full Review)
French Armoured Cruisers 1887-1932, John Jordan and Philippe Caresse. Looks at a group of ships that when first built posed a real threat to Britain’s naval lines of communication, but that have been largely forgotten because they were seen as badly outdated by the outbreak of the First World War. Includes a great deal of detail of the often complex design process, and some of the best plans of warships I’ve seen. An excellent study of some of the most powerful warships of their time(Read Full Review)
The British Navy in the Mediterranean, John D. Grainger. A nice approach to a key aspect of British military history, looking at the rise and fall of British naval power in the Mediterranean, from the earliest appearance of British warships protecting merchant ships in the sixteenth century, through the intermittent presence of British fleets in the sea during the long sequence of wars with France and Spain and on to the almost century and a half of dominance that began late in the Napoleonic Wars and lasted well into the Second World War. A fascinating examination of one of the key elements of Britain’s naval power(Read Full Review)
US Navy Battleships 1886-98 – The pre-dreadnoughts and monitors that fought the Spanish-American War, Brian Lane Herder. Looks at the first capital ships constructed for the ‘New Navy’, marking the rebirth of American naval power after the navy had been run down in the aftermath of the American Civil War. Built in response to a scare triggered by the purchase of modern warships by the major powers of North America, these ships won the naval battles of the Spanish-American War, a key step in the development of American imperialism and the rise of US naval power(Read Full Review)
The Last British Battleship – HMS Vanguard 1946-1960, R A Burt. Looks at the long development and brief service career of the last British battleship (and the last battleship launched anywhere in the world), designed early in the Second World War but not completed until after the war had made battleships effectively obsolete. This book completed Burt’s study of the British battleship, filling the one gap left in his work. The lack of any really service record for the ship means that this is effectively a large design study, but an interesting one(Read Full Review)
Period Ship Modelmaking – An Illustrated Masterclass, Philip Reed. A lavishily illustrated account of the creation of two models of the American privateer Prince de Neufchatel, one waterline model and one with a full hull. I’ve no idea how useful it will be for the ship modeller, not being an experienced scratch builder, but it is a very pretty book, and the end results are very impressive. Most of the work is covered in great detail (apart from the original creation of the ship’s hull, which only gets a single short paragraph!)(Read Full Review)

Ancient Warfare - Medieval Warfare - Other Topics

Ancient Warfare

Byzantine Naval Forces 1261-1461 - The Roman Empire's Last Marines, Raffaele D'Amato. Looks at the last naval forces of the Roman Empire, existing for two centuries between the Greek re-conquest of Byzantium and the fall of the city to the Ottomans. Supported by a wide range of colourful examples of Byzantine paintings and manuscript illustrations that give us a really vivid picture of this final period of Roman naval power (Read Full Review)
Republican Roman Warships 509-27 BC, Raffaele D'Amato. Looks at the development of Roman naval power from its very earliest mentions, through the first flowering of Roman sea power during the First Punic War to the battle of Actium, the last naval battle before Augustus founded the principate, a period of almost 500 years. Covers the ships themselves, the weapons they carried, how they operated, and the wars in which they were used. Has a great deal of info packed into its 48 pages [read full review]
Rome Seizes the Trident - The Defeat of Carthaginian Seapower & the Forging of the Roman Empire, Marc G. Desantis. Looks at the way in which Rome seized control of the western Mediterranean from the long established naval power of Carthage, and then maintained that power for the rest of the Punic Wars, as well as tracing the impact of Roman naval power on the wider course of the conflict. Also asks why Carthage was unable to respond to the Roman naval challenge, rarely winning a naval battle during the First Punic War and not mounting a serious challenge at all during the Second [read full review]
Roman Warships, Michael Pitassi. Takes an interesting approach to the problem of reconstructing Roman warships, beginning with artistic and literary sources, moving onto a detailed plan based on the known limits of rowers and ending by constructing accurate models to see if the plan actually works in practise. The results are fascinating and his arguments very convincing. [read full review]
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Medieval Warfare

Medieval Maritime Warfare, Charles D Stanton. Mainly a narrative history of the main periods of naval warfare during the Middle Ages, covering the slow decline of Byzantine naval power, the brief Norman dominance of the central Mediterranean, the Crusades, the clashes between Genoa and Pisa and Venice and Genoa, the War of the Sicilian Vespers, the Vikings, Normans and the Hanse and the battles of the Hundred Years War. [read full review]
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England's Medieval Navy 1066-1509: Ships, Men & Warfare, Susan Rose. An excellent detailed examination of the early days of English naval power, the period before the establishment of a permanent Royal Navy, when most warships were impressed merchant ships taken over for the duration of a campaign.  Excellent material on the men, their ships, skills, weapons and the battles they fought. [read full review]
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Norman Naval Operations in the Mediterranean, Charles D. Stanton. Based around a narrative history of the Norman's maritime empire in the central Mediterranean, this interesting book looks at the naval operations involved in the Norman conquest of a kingdom in southern Italy and Sicily, in the maintenance of that kingdom and during increasingly grandiose campaigns in the eastern Mediterranean. [read full review]
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Other Topics

The Social History of English Seamen 1650-1815, ed. Cheryl A. Fury. A selection of articles looking at the live of British sailors during the period that saw the Royal Navy evolve into the foremost naval power in the world, after overcoming the trauma of the Civil Wars. A mix of general and very specific articles, the choice of an earlier than normal start date means that this covers some unfamiliar topics, and unfamiliar twists on familiar topics (Read Full Review)
In Pursuit of the Essex - Heroism and Hubris on the High Seas in the War of 1812, Ben Hughes. Follows two main participants in one of the more unusual naval duals of the War of 1812, the clash between the Essex and the Phoebe at Valparaiso on the coast of Chile. Follows both of the main participants on their long voyages from home ports into the Pacific, their attempts to find each other, the standoff after they met at Valparaiso and the eventual battle, triggered by an unsuccessful attempt by Porter to escape out to sea [read full review]
Fighters over the Fleet – Naval Air Defence from Biplanes to the Cold War, Norman Friedman. A history of naval air defence from the First World War to the present day, looking at the systems used to control air defence, and the aircraft and weapons involved. Gets a bit bogged down in post-war aircraft design, but otherwise a detailed but readable account of a remarkably complex topic that has dominated fleet design since the Second World War, covering an impressive wide range of topics over a century of naval aviation. [read full review]
Sailors on the Rocks - Famous Royal Navy Shipwrecks, Peter C. Smith. Looks at a long series of Royal Naval shipwrecks, from the loss of HMS Coronation in 1691 to the grounding of HMS Nottingham in 2002. Covers the background histories of the ships involved, their actions in the period before their loss, the lead-up to the loss, the rescue attempts and the aftermath of the loss. An interesting book that covers a great deal of ground [read full review]
The Barbary Pirates 15th-17th Centuries, Angus Konstam. Looks at the high point for the Barbary Pirates, a mix of corsairs, privateers and slavers based along the Barbary Coast of North Africa, and whose raids at their most daring reached as far as Iceland! Covers the Barbary Coast and its main ports, the types of ships they used, their crews and commanders and their methods of operations. Gives a good idea of the motivation and reasons for success of the infamous Barbary Corsairs. [read full review]
The Sailing Frigate - A History in Ship Models, Robert Gardiner. A splendid visual history of the British frigate, based around the collection of scale ship models in the National Maritime Museum. Each change in design is illustrated by a high quality colour photograph of a model, with some key pictures included detailed annotations picking out key features. Also includes a number of special subject spreads, looking at the evolution of features such as bow or stern design. A splendid book, and a very good way of illustrating the development of the sailing frigate [read full review]
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A Biographical Dictionary of the Twentieth Century Royal Navy: Volume 1 Admirals of the Fleet and Admirals, Alastair Wilson . The start of a large project to produce a dictionary of 20th Century British Naval Biography, starting with Admirals and Admirals of the Fleet. Split into two, with the biographies in pdf form on CD and a printed volume to explain the format and contents of the biography. This is a very useful reference work in its own right – it'll certainly be of great use for me as I try and track down some of the more obscure wartime admirals – and the complete series will be a very impressive achievement.   [read full review]
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Britain and Colonial Maritime War in the Early Eighteenth Century - Silver, Seapower and the Atlantic, Shinsuke Satsuma. A look at the political influences on British naval policy during the first half of the eighteenth century, a period in which Spain was still the main focus of naval warfare and Spanish silver still held sway in many imaginations. Focuses very much on the political scene in Britain, rather than the details of actual naval expeditions, although these are also covered. [read full review]
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RHNS Averoff - Thunder in the Aegean, John Carr. An unusual ship history in that for most of her existence the Averoff had little military role, but was instead involved in the woeful series of military coups that so blighted Greece. The first half covers the main part of her active military career, and in particular the First Balkan War, the second the period when her officers and crew was more involved in politics than naval matters. [read full review]
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Before the Ironclad - Warship Design and Development 1815-1860, David K Brown . Looks at the final half century of wooden warships, from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the appearance of the first major ironclad ships, a period of constant technological progress. Although the Royal Navy has gained a reputation for being a conservative organisation during this period, this book proves that it was always willing to experiment with new ideas, just not interested in triggering an expensive arms race. [read full review]
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Naval Resistance to Britain's Growing Power in India 1660-1800 - The Saffron Banner and the Tiger of Mysore, Philip MacDougall. Looks at the clashes between British naval power and the fleets of the Marathas and Mysore, in the period when the East Indies Company went from being a trading company to a major political power in India. The author really knows his material, and as a result we get a very detailed picture of various Indian fleets, their ships, organisation and leadership and the reasons they failed to overcome the British. [read full review]
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British Warship in the Age of Sail 1817-1863, Rif Winfield. Splendid reference work looking at the complete service histories of every warship to serve in the Royal Navy between 1817 and 1863, including the periods before and after those dates. Covers the period that saw the introduction of steam power into the Navy, and the appearance of the first ironclads, a period of increasingly rapid change. [read full review]
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Broke of the Shannon and the War of 1812, ed. Tim Voelcker. Looks at a wide range of topics related to the battle between the Shannon and the Chesapeake, a naval clash that ended the early string of American victories and restored damaged morale in Britain. Looks at the battle itself, the background to the war, and the long term impact of both the battle and the conflict. [read full review]
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Naval Firepower - Battleship Guns and Gunnery in the Dreadnaught Era, Norman Friedman. A detailed history of the evolution of fire control methods during the period of the big-gun battleship, focusing on a key area of technology without which the expensive big guns would have been of little value. The topic is complex but Friedman does a good job of explaining the key concepts and the technology that was developed in an attempt to allow the guns on a warship that was probably moving at high speed to hit a second distant warship. [read full review]
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The Birth of the Royal Marines 1664-1802, Britt Zerbe. A study of the formation of the Royal Marines, focusing on the fifty years from 1755 when the current Marine Corps was formed. Organised thematically, looking at the formation, administration, manning and uses of the Marines, both as a police force (onboard ship and on shore) and as a military force. [read full review]
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Blackbeard's Last Fight, Pirate Hunting in North Carolina 1718, Angus Konstam. A look at one of the smallest famous naval battles, when Blackbeard and around twenty five pirates were attacked and defeated by sixty Royal Navy men on two unarmed ships, a battle that was seen as the marking the end of the 'Golden Age' of piracy. An interesting look at a well planned and well executed anti piracy raid. [read full review]
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French Cruisers 1922-1956, John Jordan & Jean Moulin. Split into technical and historical sections, so looks at the design of the cruisers class by class before turning to their peacetime and wartime experiences. The text is supported by very high quality accurately labelled plans of the ships and a good selection of photos. These were interesting ships, with some unusual features and that often had a very dramatic time during the Second World War. [read full review]
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British Cruisers of the Victorian Era, Norman Friedman. Looks at the evolution of the British cruiser during a period of massive technological change. We start with ships that were effectively Napoleonic frigates but with auxiliary steam engines, and end with the fast turret armed turbine powered cruisers of the First World War (the last generation of ships before the battlecruisers). A splendid book that focuses on the design process as much as on the physical details of the ships, asking why a particular type of ship was built and looking at the many compromises that produced each design. [read full review]
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Dictionary of British Naval Battles, John D. Grainger. A sizable reference work that covers at least 4,000 naval engagements involving British warships over the last 1,500 years, ranging from the countless battles between individual ships up to major clashes such at Jutland or Trafalgar. A very valuable reference work for anyone interested in individual naval battles, but that also gives a good feel of the overall nature of British naval power [read full review]
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Fighting at Sea in the Eighteenth Century: The Art of Sailing Warfare, Sam Willis. An analysis of the practical aspects of war at sea in an elongated Eighteenth Century, looking at the basics of fighting under sail, command with limited communication, the impact of damage on tactics, the unwritten rules that governed naval commanders and how all of these elements combined in small and large scale naval engagements. [read full review]
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De Ruyter, Dutch Admiral, ed Jaap R. Bruijn, Ronald Prud'homme van Reine and Rolof van Hövell tot Westerflier. A collection of interesting essays written by Dutch historians and that examines different aspects of de Ruyter’s life and the wider world of the Dutch Republic. This is a valuable piece of work that helps explain the important of de Ruyter as a European figure (not just as a commander during the Anglo-Dutch Wars). [read full review]
The Battle-Cruiser HMS Renown 1916-1948, Peter C. Smith. Built as a First World War battlecruiser, the Renown survived to become one of the most important British warships of the Second World War. Making extensive use of the memories of the crewmen who served in her, this book tells the tale of a fast, happy, but vulnerable ship that despite her thin battlecruiser armour surivied to play a major part in the most British naval successes, especially in the Mediterranean. [read full review]
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Historical Dreadnoughts - Arthur Marder, Stephen Roskill and Battles for Naval History, Barry Gough. An unexpectedly absorbing look at the careers of two of the twentieth century's greatest naval histories and the rivalry that developed between them when they were at the height of their fame. Should be of value to anyone interested in the writing of history, or in British naval history during the world wars [read full review]
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The Battle of Quiberon Bay 1759, Nicholas Tracy. Written for the 250th anniversary of this battle, won at night, in a storm, and in a difficult bay on the French coast, Tracy looks at the wider context of a battle that ended a real threat of French invasion, with sections on the strategy of naval warfare in the period, the career of Admiral Hawke as well as on the battle itself [read full review]
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Naval Miscellany, Angus Konstam. This is an entertaining collection of Naval snippets that would be a great 'bluffer's guide' for anyone who wants to learn about many of the most famous or significant aspects of naval history. Konstam has selected a good mix of the better known admirals, ships and battles and some obscure but interesting ones, as well as some suitably miscellaneous aspects of naval lore.  [read full review]
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Tudor Sea Power - The Foundation of Greatness, David Childs. A wide ranging study of the Tudor navy from its rise under Henry VIII to the more famous clash with Spain under Elizabeth I, looking at every aspect of the fleet from the smallest details of equipment up to the great clashes with the French and Spanish. [read full review]
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The Fourth Force: The Untold Story of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary since 1945, Geoff Puddefoot. A look at the development and deployment of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, which provides support services (including transporting fuel, ammunition and supplies) to the Royal Navy, from 1950 to the present day, a period in which the RFA was involved in the retreat from Empire, the Korean, Falklands and Iraq wars and a series of less well known operations, playing a vital role on each occasion.  [read full review]
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British Warships in the Age of Sail 1603-1714: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates, Rif Winfield. A very impressive reference work that gives details of the design, construction and reconstruction, service careers and when possible the captains of every warship to serve in the English and Royal Navies from 1603 to 1714, the period the three Anglo-Dutch Wars and the real beginnings of British naval power. [read full review]
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The Story of HMS Revenge, Alexander Stilwell. This book looks at the ten British warships to have borne the name Revenge, starting with one of the most famous Elizabethan warships and ending with a recently de-commissioned nuclear submarine. In between we find powerful sailing ships of the Anglo-Dutch and Napoleonic Wars, and a super-dreadnaught that fought at Jutland and took part in the hunt for the Bismarck. [read full review]
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The Four Days Battle of 1666, Frank L Fox. This is a detailed study of the longest major battle of the age of sail, using English and Dutch accounts of the fighting to produce a clear but detailed account of the battle, the events that led up to it and its aftermath. An excellent study of a battle often described as the 'Greatest Sea Fight of the Age of Sail', and one that came just as the old melee tactics were being replaced by the line of battle [read full review]
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French Battleships, 1922-1956, John Jordan & Robert Dumas. A very detailed look at the generation of French battleships built or designed between the world wars, looking at the design, construction and military careers of the Dunkerque, Strasbourg, Richelieu, Jean Bart, Clemenceau and Gascogne, supported by an impressive number of plans and photographs. [read full review]

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Captain Cook's War and Peace: The Royal Navy Years 1755-1768, John Robson. This interesting study fills a gap in our knowledge of Cook's career, and makes it very clear why he was chosen to command the Endeavour on her expedition into the Pacific, as well as providing a view of the Royal Navy in the period that saw it win command of the seas. [read full review]
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Spanish Armada: The Great Enterprise against England 1588, Angus Konstam. A useful book that places the Armada campaign in its wider context, with a focus on the two fleets, their ships, commanders, men and fighting styles, and some interesting material on the Spanish Galleon and the English Race-built Galleon [go to full review]
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Fireship: The Terror Weapon of the Age of Sail, Peter Kirsch. A lavishly illustrated look at one of the most feared weapons of the age of sail. This is a very impressive piece of work – well written and researched, wide ranging in scope and with detailed accounts of most of the key fireship attacks from the sixteenth century wars against Spain to the Greek War of Independence. An essential read for anyone interested in naval warfare in the age of sail. [see more]
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Scorpion Down, Ed Offley. An interesting book that provides an alternative theory about the sinking of USS Scorpion, an American submarine lost in 1968. Offley suggests that the submarine was actually sunk by the Soviets in revenge for the possible sinking of a Soviet submarine [see more]
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