By John Batchelor & Christopher Chant
I found this book to be forthright in its descriptions but not to the extent that will confound the curious neophyte of the subject.
The introduction is exceptionally well-written and briefly provides a clear presentation of the early evolution of the ship until modern times. The developments demanded by war, commerce and exploration are explained.
In the main section of the book, one is not confronted with a complicated series of drawings. All the minute details of the various bits and pieces that go into the make-up of a 100 gun Ship of the Line are not repeated here. This type of information, required by the Senior Researcher, is adequately available elsewhere. Rather, we are presented with a selection of vessels, by type or actual vessels, that have been constructed during the period under review.
Each is presented without overwhelming technical detail and there is an abundance of beautiful illustrations that are well described. This is exceptionally entertaining for the student as well as those with a casual interest. It may be the key to open up a vast subject for further study or entertainment.
It perhaps could be, but is not a coffee-table curio. It deserves respect for what it sets out to accomplish.
Reviewed by Richard Traut