Book Reviews from the Nautical Research Guild - 

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German Capital Ships of the Second World War

By Siegfried Breyer and Miroslaw Skwiot

Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2012

10” x 11-1/2”, hardcover, 432 pages

Photographs, drawings, tables, appendix. $78.95

ISBN: 9781591143253

 

 The subtitle for German Capital Ships of the Second World War, “the ultimate photograph album,” provides the best possible description of the contents of this massive book. A joint project between one of the doyens of German naval technological historiography and a prominent member of the newer generation of European researchers and writers on the topic, this work contains one of the most comprehensive assemblages of photographs of Germany’s post World War I capital ships yet created, many of them rarely, if ever, previously published.

The positive features of this work are the sheer mass of imagery, their breadth of coverage, their generally clear reproduction, and the frequent use of large-format presentation. There also are drawings detailing internal arrangements, general layouts, and detail changes. These, unfortunately, tend to be rather small, despite the large page size.

The vast majority of the textual content of the book is contained in extended photograph captions preceded by short introductory essays for each chapter. Given the authors’ goals, this is not unexpected, but it makes for considerable difficulty in locating specific information of technical details, since there is no index. Furthermore, by their very nature captions tend to be presented in smaller print, and the publisher’s decision to place many of them within the background of the images reduces their clarity.

Overall, this is a very useful book, especially for modelers of these ships, despite its rather high price.

Mark Myers

New Bern, North Carolina