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Feb 27, 2007, 10:28pm

The first book I ever purchased was ABC warships of World War 1. This led to the Avalon Hill game Jutland and wondering what were those oddly named ships such as Von der Tann (this group's mascot whose photo is posted above) and Iron Duke. In turn the world of battleship books opened (and never closed!) to Siegfried Breyer, Norman Friedman and John Roberts and Alan Raven. I branched out to cruisers, destroyers and submarines. God forgive me, I even studied those acursed aircraft carriers for a change of pace!
Enough blather. What do you folks read and how did you get interested in the wonderful world of sinking ships.

Feb 28, 2007, 2:09am

A somewhat similar story - US Warships of World War 2 and Japanese Warships of World War II were early books for me. Read the Samuel Eliot Morison "Naval Ops" set.

Avalon Hill Midway, check. (Could never actually get the time or space to get a working game of Jutland going, though....)

On my TBR list is Sea of Thunder: Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign 1941-1945 and The Last Big-Gun Naval Battle: The Battle of Surigao Strait.

Feb 28, 2007, 9:11am

I certainly know what you mean about Jutland. I was told as a munchkin I could use the floor space for no longer than the length of the actual battle. I thought that a nice touch.

Currently, I'm perusing HMS Fearless about the recently retired British amphibious ship.

Edited: Feb 28, 2007, 10:14am

Good question. The first naval warfare books I owned were this coffee table book whose name I can't recall, but which basically started with the Splendid Little War of '98 and the the Russo-Japanese dust-up before ending with the Missouri in Tokyo Bay in '45, and Two-ocean War. While I'm still interested in the subject, as one of my main concerns it faded out a bit when I allowed my subscription to "Warship International" to lapse about '01; after having been a subscriber since 1977. I do kick myself for getting rid of my Doubleday pocket guides but the reality is that they had become a bit mildewed; bummer.

As I noted over at the military history group, I just finished up Stalin's Ocean-Going Fleet, which I found mildy disappointing as I expected a little bit more. It's still the best available book on the topic of Soviet naval policy, crappy editing and all.

Feb 28, 2007, 10:44am

I'll bet mine is the most unusual - a book of Dutch engravings of sailing ships (not yet cataloged here) randomly encountered in a bookstore, from there to building sailing ship models (the big Revell Constitution, actually finished it), to studying sailing navies, to navies and ships in general.

Feb 28, 2007, 10:45am

Feb 28, 2007, 10:53am

A bit like Shrike58 I can't remember the titles but I remember the subjects - dreadnoughts, and a book on great battles at sea from ancient times up to Guadalcanal. I had the pocket books as well, although different publisher over here, and, of course, various Top Trumps. Not to mention, wargaming - I'm now wondering what happened to all the lead models of the ships.

Feb 28, 2007, 11:08am

I still have a HMS Revenge model from my Fletcher Pratt naval wargaming days! In fact, that was another of the reasons I started collecting warship books as I needed the detailed information to create the ship ID cards for the battles.

Feb 28, 2007, 5:39pm

The Jane's Warsaw Pact Warships Handbook was actually the first book I bought with my own pocket money (or so my parents told me), but the only naval wargame I own is the Smithsonian edition of AH's Midway. I'm reading The American Steel Navy today, but its the first serious book on warships I've read in nearly a year. So you can tear up my membership card in the group now :-)

Edited: Mar 22, 2007, 8:31am


That's probably it.

Mar 9, 2007, 11:43am

As a kid, I was more interested in tanks and aircraft, but then Airfix had these 1/600 models of warships, and one thing led to another.

Mar 19, 2007, 9:17am

Speaking of computer games, I'm thinking of giving this Russo-Japanese simulation "Distant Guns" a try.

13subman First Message
Mar 20, 2007, 7:11pm

I served in the US Navy in the 70s and qualifed on an FBM submarine. I was a "steeley eyed killer of the deep". I made three patrols and also spent 1.5 years in the shipyard for refueling. I have always enjoyed reading. In the mid-80s I started collecting books, and decided to include books on submarines. I cannot remember the first sub book I bought, but currently I have around 400.

I also enjoy history of any time period, science fiction, short stories and fiction. I have another account with the rest of my library under the name "barelywine".

I also had a period of time when I was interested in (and collected) war games - especially those from S&T. I have played Jutland.

The important thing for members of this group to remember: there are two types of ships in the world - submarines and targets.

Mar 22, 2007, 8:37am

Subman, you should check out "Weapons of Desperation" if you already haven't, as this seems like a good account of German mini-sub actions in World War II. I'm about a third of the way through just reading it sporadically while loitering in Borders.

Mar 22, 2007, 6:46pm

Shrike58 - thanks for the heads up...

Edited: Mar 30, 2007, 8:06am

Subman, I pretty much finished "Weapons of Desperation" yesterday, and I find myself being a little less positive on the book in the end (see my posted review). There is an apologetic tone to the book, but that might be the cost of getting close to some of the sources, as if there was a lot of muttering about "mistakes were made" in terms of the whole misadventure. Seeing as you've read other of Paterson's books maybe you've already noticed a tendency in this regard.

Mar 29, 2007, 9:24pm

Shrike58 -
I own a couple of Patterson books, but I have not yet read them, so I cannot comment.

You know the saying - "So many books, so little time..."

So, I cannot die, I have too many books to read yet!

18isynge First Message
Jul 16, 2007, 1:49pm

Going right back to basics trying to think about how my preoccupation with warships all started, and its actually quite difficult to put a precise point on it. Earliest points, stories in Victor comic aside, are probably reading about Gallipoli in my uncle's copy of the Alan Moorehead book (a nice highly illustrated edition), then in my mid-teens a series of Avalon Hill and Victory Games wargames did a decent job of keeping my attention. This was emphasised by a couple of coffee table books - something along the lines of 'Great warships of the 20th century' and Antony Preston's history of the Royal Navy in the 20th century got my interest rolling along. Real tipping point books that sealed it for me were Dan van der Vat's The ship that changed the world and Richard Hough's histories of the 1st and 2nd world wars at sea. The rest, as they say, is history.

20 odd years, a couple of degrees on the subject, and a few years working loosely in the field of naval publishing later I don't devour naval history in the way I used to, but still can be swayed by something good, and I'm still very pleased to have a 'naval history' wall in my study.

Aug 28, 2007, 8:42am

One can get fried on any topic, particularly if you do it for a living. I have a former coworker who had a job at W.W. Norton, but the thought of bringing out another book inspired nothing but indifference. Now she's returned to the reseach side of the equation with an interest in historic preservation of buildings. As for myself I'm making something of a return to earlier haunts by reading more SF & Fantasy, more hardward-oriented material (mostly aviation and race cars), and less academic history. The virtual TBR pile keeps growing.