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Stephen S Roberts has been studying the French navy since 1964, and wrote his PhD thesis on ‘The Introduction of Steam Technology in the French Navy, 1818-1852’. He served afloat for almost five years as an officer in US Navy destroyers, but he returned to Paris several times thereafter to collect material that is now in this book. In 1987 he edited for publication a classic dissertation by Theodore Ropp, The Development of a Modern Navy: French Naval Policy 1871-1904, and in 1991 prepared a detailed reference volume, Register of Ships of the US Navy, 1775-1990, Major Combatants, a thorough updating of a 1969 volume by K Jack Bauer. In 2013 he returned to his first love, producing between then and 2017 with Rif Winfield French Warships in the Age of Sail 1626-1786 and French Warships in the Age of Sail 1786-1861. He designed the present volume to form a trilogy with these covering almost three centuries of French warships and taking the story into the age of steam.