Amateur naval enthusiasts, with little or no background in naval engineering, tend to accumulate isolated bits of knowledge about warship design from Jane's, Brassey's, Conway's and random photographs and diagrams in sundry sources. Warrior to Dreadnought provides a wealth of basic information regarding the evolution of armored ships, in a single large-format volume. The information is largely technical, in keeping with the author's professional standing. Yet, it is presented in an accessible fashion. If you have read terms like "metacentric height" and "righting lever" -- or perhaps dropped them in conversation with a fellow hobbyist -- but don't really know what they mean, this book is your salvation.
The author sketches some of the key (and largely unknown) personalities who shaped the Royal Navy during the last half of the 19th century, though without rendering them in full detail. This is in keeping with the book's technical focus, but may leave some readers unsatisfied.
The book includes at least one photograph of each major warship discussed in the text, but seldom more than one. Additional views of some of the vessels would have been helpful. Despite its technical focus, the book includes only a few ship plans.
These criticisms aside, this book fulfills a specific -- and, for some of us, critical -- need for basic information concerning warship design, during the period when the modern capital ship evolved.