Michael C. Smith

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This was an enlightening book.  It covers naval ship design following the second of the interwar naval arms limitations treaties, and explains why the treaty came out the way it did, and how it affected warship design in the late 1930s.   Following the end of World War I, a major naval arms limitation treaty (Washington) resulted in the scrapping of large numbers of capital ships then under construction, and provided Britain, Japan, and the United States with the battle cruiser hulls, unusable for their original purpose, which became the first generation of large fleet aircraft carriers.  Some years later, a…
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which is a publication in book form of various writings and oral histories of Admiral McCrea. The significance of this officer is that he served as naval aide to President Franklin Roosevelt throughout 1942, and subsequently as the first captain of the new battleship Iowa, in which capacity he carried his former boss to North Africa for conferences with Churchill and Stalin in late 1943.  I’m gathering references for a model of the Iowa during this trip, including the privacy screens on the first superstructure deck and the two elevators that allowed FDR to go…
My latest project is one that I have had in mind for a long time. When I was about 10 years old, and just starting to get interested in World War II and aircraft carriers, one of the first books I got was Barrett Gallagher’s 1959 “Flattop”.  I remember it coming from the old stationary store at 115A East Austin – the one that my office is one door down from now – but I can’t recall the specifics of it, other than a vague recollection that it came from one of the dark rooms toward the back of the…
I should just quit trying.  I’m never going to enjoy a nautical historical fiction series as much as I do C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series so I should just quit looking.  The latest attempt is the story of Union sloop captain Peter Wake knocking around Key West during the Civil War. it is the first book in a series that sees him in the world of naval intelligence all the way through the Spanish-American war and after. Forester aficionados have to get over our assumption that every naval officer is an angst-ridden genius, and I promise that is not the…
When your workbench is a double-build of the same Essex-class carrier as it appeared in 1945 and 1968, and the project before that was an Essex class carrier in 1968 (and 1943), and so was the one before that (1950), and you’re updating another and being tempted to start on yet another – it’s a pretty foregone conclusion that you’re going to buy any book that comes out about the Essex class. Which is pretty much the only reason you should buy this one.  While many, if not most, of the photos are not ones that I have seen published…
This book arose out of something Julia Gimbel didn’t know she had until after her father Robert T. McCurdy passed away.  She knew her father had left a scrapbook with mementos from his time in the Navy during World War II, but what she didn’t find out until she pulled it out for her daughter to use as a homework assignment, was that inside was also a 60 page handwritten journal that neither she nor her siblings had known existed. After transcribing the journal, she used it as a starting point for this book explaining how ordinary Americans were affected…
John Bolton is one of the few voices from the Trump administration whose account I was interested in reading because, he didn’t deal with the issues arising out of the administration that generated – appropriately in many cases – more emotional reactions.  He only addresses the administration’s work through the Justice Department in passing, and on immigration, race relations and COVID almost not at all. He mentions Republican politics, but only on occasion  Instead, he focuses only on his work in the White House as national security advisor from 2017 to 2019, a field where he had prior experience working…
The U.S. Navy’s transition from World War II into a nuclear postwar in the new U.S. defense establishment is the subject of this lengthy treatise.  Actually the treatise itself is not quite so lengthy because 304 of the 710 pages in this book are references, including index, bibliography and an insane amount of endnote material.  But given the quantum of information that I’m sure exists on even this narrow slice of a subject, it is still probably only touching on the high points of the story of what happened in the Navy in the first Iten years after the end…
This book tells the story of the development of the naval shipbuilding industry in the United States after World War I that built the fleet that won World War II.  It also explains how naval shipbuilding is different than maritime shipbuilding.  Merchant ships, in contrast to naval ships, are built to lower standards, and have far less technically complex systems.  unlike warships, they don’t have to continue to operate after being the target of substantial amounts of explosives, nor do they have to carry defensive measures such as armor or radar, or offense of measures such as guns or airplanes. …
2020 was definitely a themed year.  When the year started I had two Essex class carrier projects underway, and at the end of the year – still two underway. IntrepidCorrected – Revell’s Classic 1/720 Essex Class Carrier (Corrected) For many modelers of World War II ships, Revell’s 1/720 scale model of the USS Intrepid (CV – 11) was an early favorite. It was cheap (two dollars, compared to four dollars for a Tamiya Akagi), easy to build, and gave you a big rectangular flight deck with a dozen aircraft for living room carpet war games. I built my first in…