Book Review: United States Naval Aviation, 1919-1941: Aircraft, Airships and Ships Between the Wars


by E. R. Johnson

Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011. Pp. iv, 338. Illus., diagr., appends., biblio., index. $45.00. ISBN: 0786445505

Of several trends in maritime warfare between the world wars, none was as important as the rise of naval aviation, and in United States Naval Aviation, 1919-1941, aviation historian Johnson gives us a look at the technological side of this revolution in naval warfare.

Johnson opens with an overview of “Influences that Shaped Naval Aviation, 1919-1941,” which discusses how the various naval arms limitation treaties, changes in fleet strategy, organization,  and tactics, the Fleet Problems, and particular individuals all contributed to the rise of the Navy’s, the Marine Corps’, and the Coast Guard’s air services.  He then gives us a chapter on the development of heavier-than-air aircraft, one on developments in light-than-air aircraft, and one on the evolution of aviation-related ships, not just aircraft carriers and seaplane tenders, but also other types of ships fitted to operate aircraft, from battlewagons to submarines.  A series of appendices deal with aircraft procured from abroad, racing and experimental aircraft, aircraft and ship terminology and designations, and the state of naval aviation on the eve of Pearl Harbor.

A very valuable resource for those interested in aviation, and in particular naval aviation.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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