British Cruisers (Hardback)

of the Victorian Era

Maritime Seaforth

By Norman Friedman
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 350
ISBN: 9781848320994
Published: 29th October 2012


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Gradually evolving from the masted steam frigates of the mid-nineteenth century, the first modern cruiser is not easy to define, but for the sake of this book the starting point is taken to be Iris and Mercury of 1875. They were the RN's first steel-built warships; were designed primarily to be steamed rather than sailed; and formed the basis of a line of succeeding cruiser classes. The story ends with the last armoured cruisers, which were succeeded by the first battlecruisers (originally called armoured cruisers), and with the last Third Class Cruisers (Topaze class), all conceived before 1906. Coverage, therefore, dovetails precisely with Friedman's previous book on British cruisers, although this one also includes the wartime experience of the earlier ships.rn The two central themes are cruisers for the fleet and cruisers for overseas operations, including (but not limited to) trade protection. The distant-waters aspect covers the belted cruisers, which were nearly capital ships, intended to deal with foreign second-class battleships in the Far East. The main enemies contemplated during this period were France and Russia, and the book includes British assessments of their strength and intentions, with judgements as to how accurate those assessments were.rn As would be expected of Friedman, the book is deeply researched, original in its analysis, and full of striking insights – another major contribution to the history of British warships.

Following his magnificent book ‘British Cruisers – Two World Wars and after’ (and his two books on British destroyers from the earliest days to after the Second World War) this latest publication covers an era which is often forgotten. As usual, the books has many magnificent photographs and drawings (By A D Baker III) and is written in a manner that makes the passes of the complicated technical changes simple to follow. It is a very interesting and entertaining read which should not be missed.

National Plastic Modeler Society

Another superb book by Norman Friedman. It has eight chapters plus a lengthy introduction and an appendix on Vicker's cruisers. The book defines cruisers as those ships designed to protect trade and drive the trade of enemy nations from the seas. The book has over 350 pages including an index, and data pages listing the dimensions etc of the various classes and then data pages listing the fates of the individual ships. It is loaded with many pictures plus plans and profiles of selected ships.

Ship Model Forum

It's a substantial large format book and to be honest I can't claim to have read it cover-to-cover yet, but even a cursory glance is enough to suggest that this one is probably up to NF's usual (impeccably high) standards. I believe Friedman's in depth research, the extensive (and superbly reproduced) photography selection, coupled with A D Baker's expert line drawings, will set a standard on this subject that may never be surpassed.

PS, the publishers have given this book the 'Victorian Era' subtitle for some inexplicable reason, but don't be misled, because the magnificent 1901-1908 Armoured Cruiser classes of the Edwardian RN are also covered.

Naval Weapons Discussion Board

The strength of friedman's approach is that he ties the technological aspects of cruiser design (armour, armament, and machinery) to the Royal Navy's tactical and strategic doctrine. The first chapter of British Cruisers is a good introduction to the wooden steam cruising vessels before the coming of the ironclad. Friedman successfully melds technological development with the evolution of the Royal Navy's tactical and strategic doctrine to produce an integrated assessment of British cruiser design from the introduction of steam to the coming of the battecruiser eighty years later. These two volumes are big beautiful books printed on good quality paper with superb photographs and plans that are works of art. Yet they are much more than fine example of the printer's craft.

International Journal of Maritime History

Well researched. A masterly grasp of detail. Lively and informative style. A thoroughly absorbing read.

Warship World

If you're a fan of frigates and will find this book to be an excellent addition to your book collection.

Model Ship World/Model Ship Builder

An important book with a wealth of detail, which adds significantly to the published literature on this subject.

Warship Annual 2014

This is a work of the first importance, one that turns the list of the Victorian navies' cruisers into coherent responses to policy and strategy inputs.

The Mariner's Mirror
Perfect Partner

French Cruisers 1922-1956 (Hardback)

The French produced some of the most striking and innovatory interwar cruiser designs. A large amount of new information about these ships has become available over the past twenty years in France, but this book is the first to make this accessible to an English-speaking readership. Part I explains the design philosophy behind each of the classes built after 1922, and outlines the characteristics of each type, accompanied by detailed data tables and a comprehensive set of specially-drawn plans based on official documents, as well as carefully-selected photographs. Coverage includes the De Grasse,…

By John Jordan, Jean Moulin

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