U.S. Cruisers: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman

U.S. Cruisers: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman soon to be presented for sale on the sparkling BookLovers of Bath web site!

Published: London, Melbourne, Harrisburg, Cape Town: Arms & Armour Press, 1985, Hardback in dust wrapper.

Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Tables; Plans;

From the cover: The modern U. S. Navy began with the authorization of three steel cruisers in 1883. Today, more than a century later, the cruiser is a crucial part of the naval revitalization program. What happened to this important warship over the last century is the subject of this book, the only account of U. S. cruiser development based on internal navy files. It presents a complete history of cruiser design at a level of detail and accuracy never before approached. Like the other books in Norman Friedmans design-history series, this one pays attention to all designs, even those that never left the drawing board, since every proposal made is a link in the evolution of the cruiser force.

Friedman, a recognised authority on U. S. warships, uncovers the reasoning behind the many radical changes in U. S. cruiser design, which culminated in the current series of Aegis missile ships. He deals both with evolving technology and with those changes in the doctrine and role of the U. S. Navy that clearly affected cruiser design.

Because the nature of the cruiser is somewhat ill defined, his book discusses a wide variety of ships, from the battleship-like armoured cruisers of the turn of the century and the battle cruisers of 1916 to scout cruisers and the Atlantas, ships that were, in many ways, enlarged destroyers. It covers the emergence of peace cruisers, which were essentially large gun-boats, and the post-1945 command and missile cruisers. The World War II Alaska-class large cruisers also are included.

Friedman shows how the path from the first steel cruisers to the latest ultramodern Ticonderogas defines many of the themes of U . S. Naval development: the transition from a coastal defence/commerce raiding navy to a navy designed to seize and exploit command of the worlds oceans, and from a navy of independent cruisers on foreign stations to a battle fleet navy and then a carrier navy.

Arms control is another important theme of this book. Friedman explains how cruiser design, much more than the design of any other category of ship, has been affected by the constraints of naval arms limitation treaties. He uses the fine-class gunboat, a slow cruiser, and the original Cleveland (illustrated for the first time in this book), an abortive design that stayed within the 8,000-ton limit prescribed by the London Treaty of 1936, as examples of attempts to exploit treaty restrictions.

Also carefully examined are the many post-World War II cruiser projects, both those that were built, like the nuclear-powered Long Beach, and those that were not, like the specialized command ship of 1968. In every case, the author discusses not merely what was tried, but why it succeeded or failed.

A. D. Baker III and Alan Raven have drawn detailed scale outboard and plan views of each cruiser class and of major modifications to many classes. The author has provided inboard profiles and sketches of abortive projects. Numerous photographs, many of them never before published, complement the text. Appendices include ship characteristics and data on ship careers.

U. S. Cruisers is essential reading for those concerned with the future of the U. S. Navy. Naval historians and architects alike will find this the most comprehensive reference available on the subject and a fitting companion to Friedmans U. S. Destroyers and U. S. Aircraft Carriers.

Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper.

Light Brown boards with Black titling to the Spine. 496 pages. Index. 11¼” x 8¾”.

Of course, if you don’t like this one, may I fascinate you with a carefully selected medley hither or maybe further, hand picked, books in my Military Naval catalogue?

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