Book Reviews from the Nautical Research Guild -
The NRG has many new book reviews on naval and maritime history and ship modelling. They contain valuable information for researchers and modelers. So many more than the Journal’s review pages can accommodate... To improve the Journal’s service to its readers, additional book reviews are presented here for all maritime and ship modeling enthusiasts.
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
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.
New Bern, North Carolina