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A good Book on Battleships/Dreadnoughts?


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i want to get into Reading books about Battleships. this game sparked my interest in the history behind this ship class. but where do i have to start?

I want a book that goes into the History behind the Battleship. how the concept came into existance,how technology for battleships advanced throughout the years  and also why Country,s choose to design battleships in a certain way to meet their needs. For example why did Ship A have this gun? or Why does Ship Y needed to have this Belt thickness? i do not shy away from technical details so the more the better,

When searching Online i get bombarded by hundreds of books. some are on specific ship classes or country,s, while others focus on a certain time period. what i want however is a book that is as broad as possible. not focussing on 1 specific Class of Battleship or country. but that try,s to cover most of it. Maybe i am asking to much for 1 Book. but if anyone here knows a book that comes close to what i am describing i would be very thankfull.

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Well.  If you are in for a few long hauls, Robert K Massie's Dreadnought and Castles of Steel go pretty deep into British, French, and German dreadnought design and battles.  Dreadnought was a trick, it is actually more about the politics and buildup of tensions between the 3 from 1880ish to the start of WW1. But, Castles of Steel is a really good read. It covers armored cruisers, and the eventual buildup to battlecruisers and dreadnoughts.  Be warned though, these books are huge.  

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On 10/20/2020 at 11:38 PM, Sky Captain said:

Well.  If you are in for a few long hauls, Robert K Massie's Dreadnought and Castles of Steel go pretty deep into British, French, and German dreadnought design and battles.  Dreadnought was a trick, it is actually more about the politics and buildup of tensions between the 3 from 1880ish to the start of WW1. But, Castles of Steel is a really good read. It covers armored cruisers, and the eventual buildup to battlecruisers and dreadnoughts.  Be warned though, these books are huge.  

A little off-topic to OP, but if you're interested in the politics and decision-making of the naval arms race and during the First World War, "The World Crisis" by Winston Churchill (free at gutenberg) is a great read - very well-written and goes into a lot of detail about naval design and procurement. It's a little self-exculpatory in some areas [cough] Gallipoli [/cough] but as a first-hand account from the man in charge of the Admiralty at the time it's well worth reading.

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On 10/29/2020 at 3:09 PM, SonicB said:

A little off-topic to OP, but if you're interested in the politics and decision-making of the naval arms race and during the First World War, "The World Crisis" by Winston Churchill (free at gutenberg) is a great read - very well-written and goes into a lot of detail about naval design and procurement. It's a little self-exculpatory in some areas [cough] Gallipoli [/cough] but as a first-hand account from the man in charge of the Admiralty at the time it's well worth reading.

Thanks for the recommendation will definitly take a look.

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Castles of Steel should be read with a lot of scrutiny, it leaves out heaps of the war and makes numerous errors in descriptions of German ships. Massie tries too hard to fit personalities and figures in the Royal Navy into an over-simplistic Manichean tale of smart, competent, 'good' men challenged to do a better job prosecuting the war or even sabotaged by dastardly self-promoting egotists. The Kaiser is portrayed like a cynical cartoon villain, and the German Navy's conduct is always cast under this salacious light. 

He valorizes John Jellicoe too much, and looks for every opportunity to mock the details of David Beatty's personal life like a school-yard bully. It's not badly written per se, but it's really unprofessional. 

Fighting the Great War at Sea is a far better alternative. 

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17 hours ago, DocHawkeye said:

Castles of Steel should be read with a lot of scrutiny, it leaves out heaps of the war and makes numerous errors in descriptions of German ships. Massie tries too hard to fit personalities and figures in the Royal Navy into an over-simplistic Manichean tale of smart, competent, 'good' men challenged to do a better job prosecuting the war or even sabotaged by dastardly self-promoting egotists. The Kaiser is portrayed like a cynical cartoon villain, and the German Navy's conduct is always cast under this salacious light. 

He valorizes John Jellicoe too much, and looks for every opportunity to mock the details of David Beatty's personal life like a school-yard bully. It's not badly written per se, but it's really unprofessional. 

Fighting the Great War at Sea is a far better alternative. 

I'm re-reading Dreadnought at the moment, and I have to agree that Massie's characterisation tends towards the simplistic, especially when he's dealing with the Fisher/Beresford power struggle. His summary of German politics up until about the 1890s is admirable, but really does start to fall apart after that. It's still an excellent book, but struggles to find its focus and should definitely not be cited as an academic reference.

Churchill's version of the 1890-1914 period is actually more enlightening because it's explicitly a polemic, allowing the intelligent reader, backed up with a sound factual history, to read between the lines.

While I'm on the subject, Andrew Gordon's The Rules of the Game in my opinion is an absolute classic. It takes Jutland as a narrative beginning, and then asks how tactics, technology and politics brought the two countries and navies to that point.

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