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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2011
I acquired this book based on the publisher's advertising which made it sound like a serious pictorial or reference book. Unfortunately, it is neither. Its seems more like a minimum-effort "vanity-press" type book.

Photo selection and quality is poor. In ten minutes of online searching I was able to download more WW2 era MAS photos, more interesting ones, and better quality than those in this book. Instead of making a serious effort to find interesting and technically informative photos, its appears from the credits that the author relied almost entirely on one person's donation.

The photos are mostly dark, small format portraits of boats taken at a distance. With the exception of a close up photo of a motor, there are no photos inside the wheelhouse or interior compartments and only one camouflage photo. Photo coverage of WW2 boats is sparse, most are prewar. Of the 74 photos, 8 in color, advertised, subtract 7 because they show 1970s era hydrofoils (no class is stated). These are irrelevant in a book subtitled "1915-1945." The other "color photo" is a photo of a painting. The claim of color photos seems like a bait and switch.

Photo captions are heavy on obvious and layman's commentary like "very interesting looking boat", "looks like a millionaire's yacht." One caption states the Italians "never added weapons to their boats" even though an internet search turned up photos of boats with field added weapons. On page 78 the author claims the photo shows a boat being painted in "black and white dazzle" camouflage. From the action in the photo, it would seem he is under the impression that camouflage paint was applied by throwing buckets of it at the boat, then smearing it with a mop, and the "painters" in the photo are standing in a puddle of paint in their bare feet. Its a pity the angle of the photo prevents actually viewing this alleged camouflage.

But the bulk of the book is text. The author begins with a fanfare of self-congratulatory hype: "this is my longest and most comprehensive work" "my best work to date" "a logical extension of my preferred field of study". Why is this outrageous back patting filling up page space? Filling up space seems to be the theme of this book. There is a lot of blank space, too.

I found the text poorly written, careless and unclear. Some of it makes no sense because words are missing or contradictory. Strangely, most of the boat measurements and numerical data was plopped into the text as full sentences, often with numbers spelled out as words, when format and common sense says it should be presented as tables with numerals. Further, the author flip flops between metric, english, fractions and decimals and the numbers sometimes contradict. This makes the data difficult to find and unreliable when found. There are numerous run-on sentences, and some jarring catch phrases and metaphors like "another feather in the boat's hat."

Side note, the Amazon advertisement currently states 142 pages when there are only 128 pages in my copy, and the last four are completely blank.

All the above made me suspect the author rushed to fill a minimum page requirement just so he could add another book to his name. But even if the author honestly believes, as he states, this is his best work ever, then Nimble, the publisher, should have pushed him to do better, or at least made some effort to clean up the poor writing and grammatical errors. A book this amateurish has no place among serious naval titles in a reference collection. Its the first Nimble book I have and I will be very reluctant to buy another.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2012
This book is informative and well-written. The layout is good, and the scope broad.

It is largely textual, although it contains some 74 photograpghs, largely of boat exteriors and at sea. I would say that I missed wheelhouse and interior photographs.

It is in-depth reading, and not for the reader who would prefer to go online for snippets of information.

Many readers would expect the book to concentrate on the very late war-years from the end of 1942 to the beginning of 1945, given that that was the only period in which they were a threat to the USN. The MAS fleet was severely weakened by the Italian surrender in 1943, and that of the Fascist Republic was a shadow of its past. Mr Connelly does not so limit himself.

He puts the later World War Two boats in context, emphasizing their history and roots. He puts them in a European context. To some extent this explains the poor quality of the earlier photographs, which he compensates for with his glossy images of modern Italian patrol boats.

He reaches out beyond the confines of his time-span to complete the story to date. It is rather a pity that so few authors do not attempt something like this. It is a definate bonus.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2011
This book has been very helpful for my research about some aspects of the Regia Marina, it covers the MAS boats subject from a comprehensive perspective, technical information, pictures and plans and is written in plain English language. I'm Looking forward to read other works of the author.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2011
As a WWII torpedo boat fan I was excited about this book. It covers one of the forgotten combatants of WWII. I found it interesting and informative not only about the developement of the early boats but of the Italian tactics. It was a nice departure from the usual info on American and German boats. Writing style is easy and reading moves along quickly. The photos are good. I recomend this book as an addition to all topedo boat enthusiast's library.
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