by Stephen M. Younger
Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2018. Pp. xiv, 306+.
Illus., notes, biblio., index. $54.00. ISBN: 1682472892
The Life Story of an American Battleship
Younger, the director of Sandia National Laboratories and the author of books on a very broad range of subjects, gives us a biography of the USS Nevada (BB 36). With her sister-ship Oklahoma (BB 37), Nevada introduced many new technologies to the U.S. Navy, notably oil fuel, geared steam turbines, and "all or nothing" armoring, along with triple-turrets, all of which characterized subsequent U.S. battleship design.
Nevada joined the fleet in 1916. During World War I, she performed convoy escort duty, as a shortage of oil fuel in Britain limited American battleship participation in the Grand Fleet to coal fired vessels.
Between the world wars Nevada took part in the Fleet Problems and other maneuvers that helped shape Navy doctrine. She also took part in several major voyages, notably the 1925 visit by the Battle Fleet to Australia and New Zealand. and had a three year modernization.
Nevada was the only battleship to get underway at Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941, despite severe damage, but was beached to prevent her sinking. Repaired, she served through the war, lending gunfire support at Attu, Normandy, the South of France, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. After the war, Nevada was one of the ships involved in the Bikini atomic bomb tests, and was later sunk as a target.
Younger tells this story well, mixing technical and operational matters with details on personnel and ship board life, from line crossing ceremonies to accidents to Thanksgiving meals and VD rates. He is very good on the interwar period, treating Nevada’s role in the Fleet Problems, on various diplomatic missions, and has a notably good account of the fleet’s largely forgotten visit to New Zealand and Australia in 1925.
Silver State Dreadnought is an excellent book for those interested in naval history.
Note: Silver State Dreadnought is also available in an audio-edition.
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