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US Submarines 1900-35

US Submarines 1900-35 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review May 2012 Title US Submarines 1900-35
Author Jim Christley Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2011 ISBN 9781849081856
Format 48 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $17.95


America’s “Silent Service” traces its roots to pioneering submarines of the U.S. Civil War and early 20th century.  And these eventually matured into designs that helped win World War II.

Osprey Publishing offers an absorbing précis of that fascinating story in Jim Christley’s US Submarines 1900-35.

Starting with the USS Holland, Christley’s compact compendium details design, construction, and deployment the U.S. Navy’s first modern submarines.  Text traces hydrodynamic, propulsive, armament, and – not surprisingly – political and purchasing concerns.  Especially captivating is the evolution of battery technology and torpedo propulsion.  Remarkable!

Christley covers all U.S. submarine classes.  And he outlines how America’s strategic doctrine advanced from deploying small vessels of limited range to fielding larger units of considerable endurance.  The author also describes America’s initial submarine operations – including tragic early losses and World War I encounters with Imperial German U-boats.

Commendably illustrated with photos and drawings, US Submarines 1900-35 includes sidebars, comparative scale profiles by vessel class, glossary, bibliography, and index.  Somewhat awkwardly penned at points, it nevertheless culls the complexities of early U.S. submarine development into one handy, helpful tome.


My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!