I was somewhat disappointed in "The Grand Fleet 1906-1922," this latest effort by D.K. Brown. It's just not up to the standard of his earlier works, of which I have a high regard.
He second guesses US designer's analysis of British ships (like I always say, 20-20 hindsight is a wonderful thing) but then admits that these were probably for ships for which he (Brown) lacks references for. He then puts up future DNC Goodall's contemporary analysis of US designs without noting the errors contained in them that have been exposed for literally decades (see Friedman's "US Battleships" for one).
Mr. Brown also raises the old bug-a-boo about the all-or-nothing protection scheme of the "Standards" as being possibly overwhelmed by numerous hits on their unprotected ends. Somehow, he seems to be forgetting the fact that every post-war British capital ship design used nearly the same scheme, to say nothing that such fears were shown groundless by the pummeling that the USS Colorado received during WWII. If the all-or-nothing protection scheme was so bad, why then was it copied in most of its essentials in British post-WWI capital ship designs? Why didn't the Nelson's, KGV's, Lion's and Vanguard continue to use the incremental armor scheme so favored in the pre-war dreadnoughts? Perhaps Mr. Brown is saving such thoughts for the next volume in this series, but it's a glaring omission, nonetheless.
But, my very favorite passage was where Mr. Brown discusses the wartime exploits of British battlecruisers. In what can only be called revisionist history, Mr. Brown states that "the author believes that the basic concept of the battlecruiser was sound. Invincible's glorious career at Heligoland Bight, Falklands and Jutland justifies that statement. The three magazine explosions at Jutland (and the later case of Hood) have obscured the real value of such ships."
Sorry, but that just reminds this reader of that famous U.S. saying, "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?" The exploits of a single ship, no matter how glorious, can not be said to justify a ship type that is most remembered for "sinking and leaving barely enough survivors to man a Yugo," to use a phrase I wish I'd thought of first (my hat's off to Cen). I'm afraid that the author's admiration for these ships' undeniably powerful appearance has kept him from applying his considerable talent for design analysis to their equally obvious flaws.
That said, this book does offer very interesting insights into the ships of all classes being built in Britain in the 1906-22 time frame. If you stick to following what the author knows best, the British design process, you won't go far wrong. His examples of British naval design thinking are mostly original, and include details for the lessor known ships, such as destroyers and submarines, that are so hard to find for pre-WWI vessels.
Finally, he cleared up something that has always puzzled me; why the British were so reluctant to fit super-firing turrets on their warships. For that alone, this book was a worthy addition to my library.