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USS Ranger: The Navy's First Flattop from Keel to Mast, 1934-1946
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USS Ranger: The Navy's First Flattop from Keel to Mast, 1934-1946 [Paperback]

Robert J. Cressman
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 27, 2005
The USS Ranger (CV-4) was the U.S. Navy’s first aircraft carrier to be built assuch from the keel up. The RANGER helped maintain the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration’s Good Neighbor Policy, served as a platform for the development of new methods for the operation of carriers and carrier aircraft, continued the Navy’s work in cold-weather flight operations, pioneered director-controlled antiaircraft fire, and trained many naval aviators. During World War II, the Ranger occupied center stage in Operation Torch (against the Vichy French positions in North Africa in 1942) and Operation Leader (against German shipping in 1943), which was the Navy’s only carrier operation above the Arctic Circle during the war. In both instances, the ship’s air group faced the requirement to hit legitimate military targets while minimizing civilian casualties, a problem the United States would confront again in later conflicts. Robert J. Cressman’s emphasis on the human element in both peace and war reinforces his observation that carriers, like people, have multifaceted personalities, represented by not only the ship and its company but also the air group for which it serves as a home.

Editorial Reviews


"Cressman's care for his subject is matched by his publisher. Handsomely produced, the book is well-illustrated with many of the photographs appearing for the first time. The illustrations neatly dovetail with the text, and the captions are themselves replete with added detail. The glossary and index are both models of comprehensiveness. This study should be acquired by any library with strong holdings in naval history." --THE JOURNAL OF MILITARY HISTORY

From the Publisher

Life on board one of the Navy’s seagoing cities in peace and war --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.; illustrated edition edition (April 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574885197
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574885194
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,797,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Cressman�s USS Ranger... January 18, 2004
...1934 - 1946 is simply superb. This impressive and sizeable volume devotes as much text to the USN's first purpose built carrier as Norman Friedman devotes to the entire class in his excellent design history, "U.S. Aircraft Carriers." By his own admission, Mr. Cressman has written what is, in large measure, an operational history of Ranger, her crew and her air department at some expense to a definition of the genesis and design of the ship. Otherwise, there must be little in the career of this extraordinarily active vessel which escapes the author's account. In addition, the book is supplemented with over 250 pictures which depict every stage of Ranger's carreer with equal emphasis upon man, machine and event.
The reader is provided with a virtual who's who and what's what of early USN aviation and the development of the US naval air arm in the 1930's. Cheerfully welcomed by planners, officers and pilots alike, Ranger was instrumental in defining and developing doctrine which provided a basis and broad outline for the operational employment of aircraft carriers and aircraft in the coming war. The reader will find a virtual travelogue of naval aviation and experimentation which is lively by comparison with drier recitations found in more conventional histories. Especially emphasized are the operations of the various airgroups and individual aircraft which flew from Ranger's deck.
Ranger's wartime employment is not overlooked by any means. She was quite profitably employed in the Atlantic where she found herself opposed by Vichy and German forces alike. It is a great testimony to her crew and her air groups that so much was accomplished in North Africa and Norway against an often resourceful and enterprising foe.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost there January 23, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
While it fills a glaring hole in US carrier history, this book falls down on lack of detail on the ship itself. In the course of the text, things like hull strength and vulnerability to torpedo attacks are mentioned, no real detailed analysis is given of the ship as a design or how her shortcomings limited her to use in the Atlantic.

Sometimes the lack of detail screams. While much information on the planes and crew members participating in the Raid on Bodo is given, I could not find an actual list of what the airgroup accomplished? Were the ships hit actually sunk? What was the strategic response by the Germans?

Good naval books are either heavy on design and shipbuilding detail (Friedman's Design history books) or have a multiplicity of personal stories that flesh out an operational history (Musicant's history of the USS Washington). This book does neither- giving a rundown of air operations and, in my opinion, way too much detail on every little air op mishap that occured. Unfortunately we are unlikely to see another book on this unique ship, so the holes may stay unfilled.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wish I had ordered it sooner. December 14, 2013
By Mrs. D
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My dad served almost primarily on the Ranger during his time in the US Navy during WWII. He talked often about his experiences, and when my husband and I visited California recently, we had a chance to tour the Midway in SanDiego and see many of things on that aircraft carrier that Daddy had spoken of.
I wish I had shopped for this book years ago, when Daddy was still alive. He would have really enjoyed reading it. My son, Michael, is very interested in his Grandpa's military history, so that's why I ordered it. Upon my examination of the book, I saw a picture of a young sailor with the last name of Patterson. Daddy served closely with Patterson, and one day Patterson was expected to go on a flying mission, but he was sick and asked my dad if he would go in his place. My dad said that he would if their commanding officer gave his permission. The CO declined, saying that Patterson must go, even if he was sick. If you read the info underneath the picture of Patterson, you will see that he was mortally wounded and died on the way back to the Ranger.
To actually put a face with Patterson after hearing about him all these years, and to realize that my dad would have been killed instead of Patterson if the CO had given his permission just made me cry. My parents never would have been married, my brother and I never would have been born, and my children or granddaughters were never have been born. Just leaves me speechless..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Naval Aviation/ Ship History Buffs February 26, 2010
This book is a must read for navy history buffs. I can't put the book down. Cressman's captivating writing style brings the ship alive. If I did not know any better, I would have thought that Cressman was embedded on the Ranger for the length of her entire career in the Navy.

This book should serve as the template for persons interested in writinga ship's history. If you like this book, you will also like his book on the USS Yorktown That Gallant Ship: U.S.S. Yorktown CV-5
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