British Empire Books

Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II

PublisherBracken Books
ISBN No.185170194x

"Reading this reprint will remind many what navies used to be like, but I hipe it will also create a picture of world naval power as it was at the end of that titanic struggle."

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast
I was hugely dissappointed when I got this book home. I felt as if it should have been a sure-fire winner combining Jane's reputation for accuracy and detail with an exciting period in world history. However, imagine my horror when I found out that this was not a new book at all, but merely the reprinting of a book published nearly fifty years ago. This in itself is not neccessarily bad except that they hadn't even bothered to update and correct the information that they published all those years ago. Ship classes have ships missing from them, incorrect armour figures and armaments listed are just some of the catalogue of errors that infect this book. These errors were probably understandable when some of the ships were still in use and so they were still surrounded by concerns for security. But, fifty years later!!! Also, what I find incomprehensible is the failure to comment on the fates of the ships. Therefore, there is no mention of the sinking of HMS Hood, even though the book was published in 1947 and includes all sorts of information up to and including that year. Quite mystifying.

To rub salt in to the wounds, the reproductions of the pictures are at best average and at worst little better than a black and white photocopier effort. You cannot help but get the feeling that Jane's have been very lazy and have merely tried to trade on their brand name to help sales for this otherwise dreadful book. In defence of the book, some of the deck plans can still be deciphered and the information is indeed intrinsically interesting for those who are nautically inclined and there is a lot of information presented (even if it is inaccurate). But, I can't help feeling that there are far better books on the market which address the same era but in a far superior format. Forewarned is forearmed!

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