Forgotten Fleet – The Mothball Navy


This covers an often overlooked aspect of a warship’s history by looking at what happens to many of the US Navy’s warships once they are decommissioned. Many well known warships are covered including the carrier Midway and the Iowa class battleships. Madsen looks at the challenges of preserving these ships and the experience of bringing ships back into service which have laid dormant for many years

Graveyards Of The Pacific

It provides an interesting tour of the events of the war at sea in the pacific during WWII. The authors splice their description of the events of nearly 60 years ago together with accounts of the expeditions to explore the wrecks left by these battles. Compared to Ballard’s earlier books this one is noticeably lacking the normally high numbers of Ken Marschell’s paintings which would have provided an excellent contrast to the many archive photographs which so graphically illustrate the events of WWII

Great Naval Disasters


This should perhaps have been called Great American Naval Disasters as it concentrates solely on disasters involving ships of the US Navy. This highly readable book is split into 4 sections namely Collision and Grounding, Explosion, Fire, and Mysterious and Curious. Stories covered include the grounding of Missouri in Chesapeake Bay on 17th January 1950 and the major fire onboard the carrier Constellation while she was fitting out in 1960

Great Yachts and their Designers


This provides a good snap shot of the development of yachting as a whole from the 1890s through to 1987. Obviously, any work trying to cover such a vast subject will have a number of omissions but I think that Eastland’s book has fulfilled its promise more successfully than some of its contemporaries. The work of well known designers like G.L. Watson, William Fife, Colin Archer and Nat Herresoff are covered. As well as covering the yachts of dreams like the immortal J Class yachts Eastland has included modern GRP production yachts resulting in a well rounded book. The text is supported by a wonderful collection of images including many full colour photographs

God’s Heretics


Medieval history in general has been enjoying a period of greatly renewed interest, as has the history of the Christian Church. Biblical scholars have long been aware of documents in the Vatican secret archives that put a significantly different slant on Christian history. Conspiracy theories have become popular some of them being founded on little solid evidence. The passion of belief makes this a very difficult area of history to research and debate. Some scholars claim the roots of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam lie in ancient Persia or in Egypt. In the process they challenge accepted beliefs. The lack of detailed historical accounts leaves space for theories to be developed and for the priests of a faith to distort the story to suit their own secular needs. The Roman Church had developed into a power base by the Tenth Century, able to challenge secular rulers on the battlefield. The priesthood was becoming rich and corrupt. There is much evidence that the advance of Christianity was due in large measure to the ease with which it adopted pagan festivals and beliefs. One medieval church wall painting uncovered in England includes pagan symbology and is probably typical of painting of the time. Even within the Roman Church there were competing strands that had very different interpretations of the story of the Church. By the Eleventh Century the leaders who were coming out on top were those who were largely indistinguishable from the secular rulers and nobility motivated by greed and power. The Cathars presented a significantly different belief structure

Gar Wood Boats – Classics Of A Golden Era


The author tells the fascinating story of a ferryboat Captain’s son who through the invention of a hydraulic lift establishes a substantial engineering business. This business provided Garfield Wood with the necessary backing to establish a boatbuilding business which produced very high quality fast motor launches. Wood’s fortune also gave him the backing to pursue his racing dreams enabling him to win races in both America and Britain. His early race boats were built using his engineering skills and the boatbuilding skills of the Smith family who after six years of partnership decided to part from Gar Wood in 1922 to establish the legendary Chris Craft

From Monitor to Missile Boat

This covers coastal defence from 1860. Illustrated to the usual high standard of Conway titles with sketches, line drawings, engravings, and photographs. This is excellent coverage of coastal defence vessels which are a rarely covered part of naval resources. The coastal bombardment and defence big-gun vessels are reviewed including battleships relegated to coast defence. There is also coverage of modern missile boats, the unusual French surveillance frigate, and the latest stealth vessels. Sea mines and coastal artillery are covered, but mainly in respect of Scandinavian equipment and methods, and not to the same depth as the coverage of vessels

French Eagles Soviet Heroes


The author is a thorough researcher writing with a readable journalistic style. This book became practical because of a lucky find of the Normandie-Niemen Squadrons’ unit records and interviews with survivors. Illustration consists of a plate section of rare black and white images, and a number of helpful maps in the main body of text. With the opening of Soviet archives, more information is now becoming available on the campaigns on the Eastern Front, but it is still a much under covered period of recent history. The contribution of British and French Squadrons flying with the Soviet airforces has not received the coverage that the pilots and ground crews deserved. This book is a welcome addition to this history, covering the contribution of Free French Air Force Squadrons serving in Russia

Focke Wulf FW190


This book is part of the fine series of volumes published by Histoire and Collections and marketed by Orca Books for model engineers. The subject of this volume is the famous FW190 which has become one of the most studied aircraft of the 1939-45 World War. The authors have addressed their work particularly to the static display modeller with a description of the building of display models by scratch build and from plastic kits. However, they have also provided a nice synopsis of the history of the aircraft, a review of model kits of the FW190 and a section on colour schemes applied to the 190 by the Luftwaffe, both official schemes and field modifications

Filming the Dam Busters


The author has written widely on RAF Bomber Command during WWII. This book tells the story of the filming of the Dam Busters and complements his excellent books on the subject and more generally on aerial bombardment. There is extensive use of photographs, providing a synopsis of the historic raids on German dams, following on into a fascinating account of how the film was made and the actors and airmen who made this classic war movie such an enduring success