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Essex Class Aircraft Carriers, 1943–1991 (ePub)

Rare Photographs from Naval Archives

Colour eBooks Maritime > Naval Military > Pre-WWI > American History Photographic eBooks

Imprint: Pen & Sword Maritime
Series: Images of War
File Size: 26.8 MB (.epub)
Pages: 176
Illustrations: 200+ black-and-white photographs
ISBN: 9781526772152
Published: 15th October 2020


£6.99 Print price £15.99

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Essex-class aircraft carriers played an essential role in the victory of the United States over Japan in the Second World War, and Leo Marriott’s photographic history is a fascinating introduction to them. Without these remarkable ships, the island-hopping campaign of American forces across the Pacific towards Japan would not have been possible. They also took part in the Korean and Vietnam wars that followed.

During the Second World War they were at the centre of the powerful task groups that could put up hundreds of aircraft to support forces on the ground. They were also prime targets for Japanese air attacks, in particular the kamikaze suicide missions. A total of twenty-four were eventually commissioned including several after the end of the war.

The selection of rare photographs and the expert text cover the evolution of US aircraft carrier design prior to the Second World War and look at the factors which shaped the design and construction of the Essex class. Included are dramatic action shots of the new breed of naval aircraft that were launched from their flight decks, including Hellcat and Corsair fighters that took on the Japanese and the carrier-borne jets that flew over Korea and Vietnam.

Marriott’s words and pictures demonstrate that without the US industrial base that created this class of ship, the island-hopping campaign in the Pacific would not have been possible.

Air & Space Power History

As Featured In
Vol. 32, No. 1 (Spring 2022)

The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord

"This is an excellent well produced book and one that despite the well-trod nature of the subject matter has something new to give to both new and older readers."

Warship World Magazine /NavyBooks

Featured in

Air Fan, December 21 - January 22

Leo Marriott has numerous naval books to his credit and this one follows the tried and tested pattern for this series of books with a wealth of rare photographs culled from a variety of national archives and each given a full description. The author’s extensive knowledge of the subject is displayed in text with full descriptions of the development, construction, and deployment of the Essex-class vessels. This is an excellent well produced book and one that despite the well-trod nature of the subject matter has something new to give to both new and older readers.

Patrick Boniface

Of the HNSA fleet’s five aircraft carriers, four, Yorktown, Intrepid, Hornet, and Lexington are Essex class. This book belongs not only at these carriers’ sales desks but at every HNSA retail outlet.

Subtitled Images of War and Rare photographs From Naval Archives, Marriott’s book has 211 photographs in its 164 compact (8x10 inch) pages. They are well chosen and reproduced with insightful captions and text.

After an introductory chapter on carrier development from 1919, seven chapters; Essex Class Enter Service, Across the Pacific, Aboard the Essex Class, Through Kamikaze to Victory, The Post-war Era and Korea, Steam and Mirrors, and Submarines, Spacecraft and Vietnam cover the service of the class before a Postscript sums up each vessel’s life.

This is an outstanding book.

Anchorwatch, the thrice-yearly newsletter of the Historic Naval Ships Association (HNSA)

"...provides an excellent introductory pictorial look at the operational life of the Essex-class aircraft carriers."


Featured in

World Ship Society - Marine News, March 2021

Enjoyed it.

Click here for the full review

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

This book from publisher’s pen and swordis part of the images of war books which I have to say are remarkably interesting and full of pictures that will inspire people to investigate the series of images of war. For the modeller’s, this book I feel will have many of you chomping at the bit to build scenes, in the form of a diorama from various pictures that you will see in the book. The book like all the images of war books is quite easy to pick up and read there was so much information in this book that I had no idea off, some of the information that I found fascinating like the work involving the location of spacecraft and astronauts, I had completely forgotten that in those early pioneering years they did not land on a runway and therefore the safest option was for them to land in the sea, needing recovery by ships. All in all, a particularly good read from start to finish and a book I would recommend to anyone interested in World War Two aircraft carriers through to the end of the Cold War.

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Model Shipwrights

... this little photobook nonetheless offers a fine selection of period photos with a few gems, such as hangar catapulting on the first six ships or the recovery of astronauts.

Cocardes International, February/March 2021

A great addition to the series and one that can be easily recommended.

Click here for the full review


I would heartily recommend this to anybody with an interest in the subject. It would certainly be invaluable to a modeller.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

I think these books [Images of War] are excellent to browse through and learn about the chosen subject.

Review by Andy Thomson

Another book of the series "Images of War" of extreme interest, both for the iconographic aspect and for the purely historical one with the description of the use and in part the history of each of the Essex class aircraft carriers. A book that will surely delight all naval history enthusiasts because it well illustrates the importance that the aircraft carrier (and in this case the Essex Class) had in changing the way warfare is waged at sea.

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On The Old Barbed Wire

An excellent addition to the Images of War series and one that I think can be enjoyed by both aircraft and naval enthusiasts while also being a very useful reference for modellers.

Read the full review here

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