- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Naval Institute Press; 1st edition (October 1984)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0870217186
- ISBN-13: 978-0870217180
- Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 2.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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U.S. Cruisers: An Illustrated Design History Hardcover – October, 1984
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Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Friedman makes it clear the first cruisers were inspired by the old American civil war frigates. The first cruisers were designed as commerice raiders, scouts, and minor capital ships. This is not much different than the initial days of the US Navy in the 1790 era.
However, the US Navy takes a different view of the Spanish American war and produces a group of post-war cruisers that have interesting design characterists. They are slower, more expensive, and have greater weight than foreign ships.
American cruiser design goes into a sort of hybernation from about 1906 until 1918 when the Omaha class is invented. American cruisers in WWI were left over ships from the Spanish American war or oddly designed ships, such as the over gunned & over armored USS Pennsylvania & Tennessee class armored cruisers.
The Treaty cruisers of the 20s and 30s are the halcyon days of cruisers. Actually, a proper technical term for cruisers are "small, light, very fast battleships".
Dr. Friedman writes that none of the Treaty cruisers are bad designs. Yes, there is stability problems but that is from treaty limits on warship weight and not from bad designs from the US Navy. Indeed, the Cleveland & Baltimore class cruisers are some of the most outstanding designed cruisers from WWII.Read more ›
The discussions of evolution of Cruiser design through each class, along with a discussion of the external factors in the design (the Washington Treaty, budget, Navel Politics...) is fasinating. Any Big ship/big gun fan will return to this book over and over again. The photos are incredable, especially when you have the pre war config, early wartime config, battle damage and analysis, and detailed photos of refit.
This book goes a long way in helping to undrestand the weeknesses of US Cruiser design that contributed to many of the problems faced early in the war, and the changes made as a result. Not being a Naval Officer, much of the thought processes involved in trading armor for speed or guns, stability issues, and armerment mix were a mystery. This book makes sense of these issues, and provides a look into elements of the Navy one might otherwise never consider.
A must for anyone seriously interested in warships!
Of particular value are the descriptions of hundreds of little-known alternative designs. The author is quite free with his pungent, well-informed and largely negative opinions concerning U.S. warship design. This too will keep you interested, through a sometimes highly technical volume.
The line-drawings included in this book are helpful -- and beautifully executed. Yet, one wishes for more of them, particularly as to the Lexington-class battlecruisers and other prominent alternative designs. The drawings of classes actually constructed are, again, well-done but not as comprehensive as the text.
The numerous black and white photographs are generally well-chosen. Some of the details mentioned in the captions are difficult to discern, however. The quality of photographic reproduction would have been better had the book been printed on glossy paper.
Overall, this is the best book of its kind, and yet it might have been better.
Friedman is a naval expert and written other equally good books on US Battleships, Carriers, Destroyers and Subs. The best attraction to these works is not just a simple listing of facts, but Friedman shows why certain decisions were made. Every ship has to compromise speed, protection and firepower. The US General Board (those in charge of deciding what would be built) knew this, got feedback from our Admirals, studied other naval designs, wargames and created a line of ships that were lighter, cheaper than battleships, but capable of protecting carriers and giving shore bombardment. The impact of the naval treaties signed with Japan are discussed, as well as the changes made due to war experience.
Things I wish had been improved - the author tries to show changes in the ships with a B&W photo with white circles on it and a caption. These can be confusing to someone who is not an expert at all things naval. The book was published in 1984 - I wish there were more chapters to bring it up to date.
I am extremely pleased with this book. I have referenced it many times and learn something new every time I read it. It is an excellent resource for any serious naval buffs, for those who love the technical data, for anyone who wants to learn all about US Cruisers. A must have on your shelf.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
All the information I could have wished for! I knew a crewman on the USS Guam and this book explained all the attributes and shortcomings of his ship.Published 5 months ago by jonathan woody
I have yet to buy a book by Norman Friedman that I didn't love. This one is no exception. Full coverage of the development of the American cruiser from the 'Atlanta' class of 1886... Read morePublished on February 20, 2013 by S. E. Bradfield
If you like technical explanations on how these ships are designed and built this is a great book. All of Friedman's books of this type are must haves. Read morePublished on January 16, 2013 by Talyn