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Great Analysis, Little Synthesis
on April 8, 1998
Despite the effort to write this mammoth book (at 880 pages the largest in its class, requiring 50 years of research) the bottom line seems to be missing. It is a bottomless pit of facts, but lacks conclusions about the overall effectiveness of these warships, either against each other or against comparable ships of rival navies. Now I know how much a forward 8" gun director of the Atago weighed, but I still don't know how that director was integrated into the fire control system of the ship or how it contibuted to the net effectiveness of the ship. There is also no synthesis among the classes, that is, an evaluation of the overall results of the Japanese cruiser building program, rated against the programs of other navies. For a book this substantial, a Conclusions Chapter is a "must", and the fact that it is not there accounts for my low rating. However, the pure technical detail of the book was tremendous and the pictures and line drawings were superb. Now, can I find a place for it on my shelf?