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U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History Hardcover – April, 1983

20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0870217395 ISBN-10: 0870217399 Edition: First American Edition

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U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History + U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Revised Edition (Illustrated Design Histories)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Norman Friedman is a prominent naval analyst and the author of more than thirty books, including Naval Firepower, British Cruisers of the Victorian Era, Naval Weapons of World War On, and British Destroyers. He lives in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; First American Edition edition (April 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870217399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870217395
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book for those who want technical information about the US Navy Aircraft Carriers. The book covers detail information about the design, construction, and modifications of all of the classes of US carriers built since the beginning of carrier aviation. In addition, the book covers other designs the US Navy thought about but never bothered to build. This book is not for the novice but for those who need detail technical information, this is the book to get.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By D. Smith on March 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This volume, one of many in Norman Friedman's naval design histories, is amazingly thorough in its coverage of U.S. aircraft carrier design from the 1930s-era Saratoga and Lexington through the nuclear-powered Nimitz-class, as well as the offshoot amphibious assault carriers.
The book is filled with design schematics, ships' specifications and more esoteric naval information than you could possibly absorb in a lifetime. The rich wealth of information is the consistent strength of this series that makes it a bit overwhelming for the casual reader looking for a narrative history of U.S. carrier.
The emphaisis here is on ship design, its impact on operations and little else. If there is any shortcoming to be found within the book, it is that it is rather old, having been last updated in 1983, when the Nimitz class was just hitting its stride and long before the design innovations fueled by the Navy's growth in the waning years of the Cold War.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A reader on January 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've read just about every book I can lay my hands on concerning the Essex class aircraft carrier and though this magnificent book envelops each American carrier it is far (FAR) more superior to the mediocre Essex-Class Carrier by Alan Raven, regardless that Alan Raven's book is dedicated to the Essex alone. Many believe that Raven's book is the standard for the Essex class carrier but it falls far short when compared to this brilliant masterpiece.

Please take my word for it - do NOT spend the $100.00 for Alan Raven's Essex-Class Carrier unless you want a photograph of a radar antenna and save yourself about sixty dollars and months and months of dead-end research and buy this outstanding piece of work instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MajorCase302 on August 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is not a take-to-the-beach-for-light-summer-reading fare. It is a technically dense, exhaustive study of United States aircraft carrier design, from the first awkward experiments, (the Langley), through a brief description of the then-new (1983) Nimitz class. Reading it is like trying to run through knee-deep mud, but oh, what mud. Everything a serious historian--(or naval architect, for that matter)--could possibly want to know about pre-1983 American carriers is here. Want to know where the avgas tanks were in the first Yorktown class ships? You got it. How about a complete description of the electronic suites--radars, HF/DF, communications, meterological--on the post-war carriers? Every minute iteration in the continually evolving systems is there, and which ships had which systems and when they were installed, upgraded, replaced or removed. Why did some of the Essexes have fold-up gun sponsons? (To fit through the locks of the Panama Canal.) There is even the only good description I've ever seen--with photographs--of the two WWII carqual carriers converted from paddle-wheel (!!) steamers that operated in Lake Michigan. CVEs, the post-war conversion projects, LPHs, dedicated ASW carriers, the second Enterprise, catapults, arresting gear, and on and on. If you are a serious naval historian, this book belongs on your shelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Windes on April 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Along with Friedman's other books on the main classes of U.S. combatant ships (Battleships, Cruisers, etc.), this book must be considered as the greatest book ever on the development, construction, battle performance,and redesign of U.S. Carriers ever published. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and drawings, "U.S. Aircraft Carriers" has the added value of being very readable--and enjoyable.

For every class of carrier built during the century, Friedman assembles a mountain of data concerning the thoughts that went into the design and building of each class. Friedman reveals not only the military necessities that each carrier attempted to cover, but the international and political pressures that also figured into each design. What emerges is a very large book, but one that is very well constructed from the best materials. I've owned my copy of this book for approximately 20 years, and with average care, the book appears virtually brand new.

What is so interesting when reading this book was how American designers, after the creation of the experimental "Langley," immediately hit upon the formula for all future American battle carriers with the Lexington and Saratoga. Each was very large and fast, and could carry a very large air group. The U.S. has, on occassion, built smaller carriers for specific purposes when tiny, inexpensive types were all that was needed, or as in the case with the Independence class, the need for hulls was so great that partially built ships were hurriedly converted and performed Yeoman duty. In fact, the U.S. has gotten tremendous value for its investment in carriers. The Essex class ships from WWII were rebuilt several times to fit a number of needs, and were remarkably successful.
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