Book Review: British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After


by Norman Friedman

Annapois: Naval Institute Press, 2011. Pp. 432. Illus., diagr., tables, appends., notes, biblio, index. $85.00. ISBN: 1591140781

One of the most important naval historians of our times, Dr. Friedman gives us a very comprehensive technical treatment of the cruisers and similar vessels of the Royal Navy since the beginning of the twentieth century. 

While his account is heavy on details of technology and design, Friedman is careful to explain the political, strategic, and military environment behind the development of the various types and classes of cruisers, including some concepts that were never realized.  After an introductory chapter surveying the history of the cruiser, he devotes a chapter to the traditional trade protection mission of British cruisers at the beginning of the century, followed by one on the new fleet protection mission that developed to cope with the rise of the destroyer.  There follows a fairly detailed chapter surveying cruiser operations and development during World War I, two on the effects of the inter-war naval limitation treaties on cruiser design, a chapter on the build up to war during the late 1930s, two detailed chapters on World War II, one an overview of operations and one on the evolution of cruiser design, and then a chapter on post-war developments, concluding with a chapter on the introduction of the missile to naval warfare and its effects on ships design, missions, and operations. 

An essential work for anyone interested in the Royal Navy and modern naval operations.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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