This book covers the development of U.S. battleships, from the Maine and Texas of 1886, through the Montana class of World War II, up to the recommissioned Iowas. It examines the original designs as well as the many modifications and reconstructions these ships underwent during their long and active careers. Like the other books in Norman Friedman's design-history series, U.S. Battleships is based largely on formerly classified internal U.S. Navy records. But research for this book has also included a full survey of British files, both those compiled when American ships served with the Royal Navy in the two world wars and those supplied by British battleship designers attached to the U.S. Navy. In addition, the author consulted official battle damage reports to help evaluate various designs. Friedman, a leading authority of U.S. warships, explains the political and technical rationales for building battleships and recounts the evolution of each design. He shows clearly how battleship development reflects the interplay between police postures and techlogical capabilities, for perhaps more than any other category of warships in the pre-World War II American navy, the battleship was subject to political forces. Theodore Roosevelt's desire for a big stick to enforce his foreign policy, for example, gave rise to his Great White Fleet of 1907-09, the United States's first battle fleet. Franklin Roosevelt's fear of being branded as a militarist, on the other hand, constrained U.S. battleship construction and armament in the late 1930s. Battleship designs proposed but t built are described in detail. They include, among others, the pre-cursor of the Maine; a torpedo battleship of 1912; the Tillman battleship of 1916; a 66,000-ton maximum battleship of 1934; and the Montana of World War II. Freidman analyzes whether the design was a serious project or simply a ploy to test relations with foreign powers. A final chapter reveals the many abortive postwar projects for battleship conversion and shows the extensive modifications the New Jersey that were made in 1981-82. Friedman also indicates what future improvements may be in store for U.S. battleships. Appendixes include a full description of the first modern armored ship, the civil War monitor, and an account of the damage to U.S. battleships at Pearl Harbor. Alan Raven and A.D. Baker III have drawn detailed scale outboard and plan views of the each battleship class and of major modifications to many classes. The author has provided inboard profiles and sketches of abortive projects. Numerous photographs, many of them never before published, complement the text. Naval historians and architects alike will find U.S. Battleships to be the most comprehensive reference available on the subject. Battleships buffs, long enamored of this, the most elegant and glamorous of warships, will find the author's treatment of its development a fitting tribute to its decades of service to the U.S. Navy.
Norman Friedman is one of America's best-known naval analysts and historians, the author of over thirty books, and a regular commentator on television and in the press. He has written on broad issues of modern military interest, including an award-winning history of the Cold War, and an influential book on network-centric warfare, but in the historical field his greatest sustained achievement is probably an eight-volume series on the design and development of different US warship types. He is equally at home writing about international naval topics, having done extensive original research in many European archives over many years. He has written with authority on British aircraft carriers and destroyer, has recently complete a two-volume history of Royal Navy cruisers, and published an encyclopedic reference work on the naval weapons of the First World War. Friedman's recent book, Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and Technology, is a classic combination of technical expertise and profoundly original analysis, which is certain to be become one of the most important new works on the naval history of the First World War. Alan Raven is a British-born naval historian, illustrator, and professional ship-model builder whose work frequently appears in modeler magazines. A.D. Baker III is a highly regarded naval authority known for his work as an illustrator and writer. His line drawings appear in several books, including others in this series. He is the editor of The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World and a contributing editor to the journals Warship International and Proceedings.