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Battleship / Book Review / Non Fiction / R A Burt / Royal Navy

British Battleships of World War One, by R. A. Burt

This is the new, revised edition of a classic work on British battleships, British Battleships of World War One, New Revised Edition is the full title.

I have to start out by saying that it a magnificent book: It is in hardcover, printed in a large format (9.6×11.2 inches) on high-quality paper, and has over 350 stunning pages with many beautiful and interesting photographs and design drawings. It the kind of book people who love books – people like me, that is – just find very attractive and cherish owning.

That said, this is also a great treat from a content point of view. R. A. Burt has researched the design, construction, and service histories of British battleships for many years, and has an outstanding collection of photographs of these ships. Burt is an extremely accomplished draftsman and illustrator, who lives in England. In this book, he shares amazing photos from his exhaustive collection, along with the complete technical history of British capital ship design and construction during the era that is often referred to as the dreadnought era – back when the biggest ships were also the most powerful ships.

As it should, it begins with Dreadnought, actually all of the fifty dreadnoughts, ‘super-dreadnoughts’, and battlecruisers that served the Royal Navy during this era. All of these mighty and very fascinating ships are eloquently described and superbly illustrated with photographs and line drawings. And, as you should expect, an almost overwhelming amount of technical detail: displacement, dimensions, armament, armor, machinery, complement, cost, and much, much more.

The main chapters cover the following classes of ship: Dreadnought, Invincible, Bellerophon, St. Vincent, Indefatigable, Neptune, Colossus, Orion, Lion, Queen Mary, King George V, Iron Duke, Tiger, Erin, Canada, Agincourt, Queen Elizabeth, Royal Sovereign, Renown & Repulse, Courageous, Glorious & Furious.

The text is well researched and well written and full of interesting and intriguing detail. It is a marvelous collection of information. There are also some comparisons to foreign ships and some quite interesting analyses that shed light on the issue of the relative strengths of the various Navies in WW I. British Battleships of World War One is a great book to read, stunning to look at, and a magnificent book to own!

Praise for British Battleships of World War One:

This book is destined to become one o the primary reference works on the capital ships of the British Fleet during World War 1. […]
This highly detailed research effort has yielded an outstanding reference volume. […]
This volume serves as an excellent source of date on the battleships of the period from just prior to and just after World War 1. […] I cannot praise too highly the merits of this work and the produce of the author’s research skills are excellent.—
Dr Stuart Blank, Military Archive Research