This fully illustrated series offers detailed descriptions of the evolution of all classes of the principle U.S. combatant types, as well as plans, profiles, and numerous detailed photographs.
Dr. Friedman makes it clear the first cruisers were inspired by the old American civil war frigates. The first cruisers were designed as commerice raiders, scouts, and minor capital ships. This is not much different than the initial days of the US Navy in the 1790 era.
However, the US Navy takes a different view of the Spanish American war and produces a group of post-war cruisers that have interesting design characterists. They are slower, more expensive, and have greater weight than foreign ships.
American cruiser design goes into a sort of hybernation from about 1906 until 1918 when the Omaha class is invented. American cruisers in WWI were left over ships from the Spanish American war or oddly designed ships, such as the over gunned & over armored USS Pennsylvania & Tennessee class armored cruisers.
The Treaty cruisers of the 20s and 30s are the halcyon days of cruisers. Actually, a proper technical term for cruisers are "small, light, very fast battleships".
Dr. Friedman writes that none of the Treaty cruisers are bad designs. Yes, there is stability problems but that is from treaty limits on warship weight and not from bad designs from the US Navy. Indeed, the Cleveland & Baltimore class cruisers are some of the most outstanding designed cruisers from WWII. The incorporation of the Combat Information Center (CIC) was the point where the US Navy was able to integrate the full use of ships, weapons, command, and control and beat the Japanese navy in every battle post 1943.
The cruiser mission largely died after WWII. Basically, most of the cruisers were either converted to missile cruisers, a job that was taken over by the later frigates. Else, cruisers were used for shore bombardment.
Dr. Friedman takes a reader from the start of the New Navy, the 1900s era of cruisers, the treaty cruisers, the war production cruisers (basically, improved Brooklyns), the non-treaty cruisers which become the Alaska battlecruisers (the only new battlecruisers made during WWII), the post war cruisers, and ends the book on cruisers with a near chapter devoted to the Long Beach.
It's almost with sadness that Dr. Friedman writes that the augmented Spruance destroyer - the Ticonderga class cruiser - is a successor to the real cruiser. The destroyer & the frigate have taken over the job of the cruiser. And the true cruiser had been with the United States Navy since its inception back in the founding days of the republic.
Yes, this book is 10 out of 10. A novice will go away with a understanding of Cruisers. A Navy man will appreciate his roots.
Dr. Friedman is one of the best writers of technical material in America. If you buy this book, like I did, it will start to show wear from constant use.
This book goes a long way in helping to undrestand the weeknesses of US Cruiser design that contributed to many of the problems faced early in the war, and the changes made as a result. Not being a Naval Officer, much of the thought processes involved in trading armor for speed or guns, stability issues, and armerment mix were a mystery. This book makes sense of these issues, and provides a look into elements of the Navy one might otherwise never consider.
A must for anyone seriously interested in warships!