Monday, June 4, 2012

Book Review Osprey Vanguard Series #183 Warships of the Anglo-Dutch War and #188 Great Lakes Warships 1812-1815

     Continuing the Naval theme that has taken over the blog in the last week or so I present these two works. Conforming to the usual Vanguard format of a little bit of history and a LOT of technical stuff and data both of these books fulfill what they set out to do in grand style. Both the writers and the artists are masters of their craft and it shows well here.

Vanguard #183 Warships of the Anglo-Dutch Wars
Author; Angus Konstam
Artist; Peter Bull
ISBN: 978-1-84908-410-9

       Little know here in the States (and I would venture most everywhere else as well) the Anglo-Dutch War set in motion the events that would lead to the British Empire that spanned the globe two centuries later. It was bitterly fought between two navies that were the cutting edge of naval technology and thought. Notably England suffered some stunning defeats along the way before eventually coming out ahead. This book may be forgiven the page used on a chronology as this war is little known. It is littered with dozens of color pictures of ships by period artist as well as very precise drawings by Peter Bull. A section in the back tracks the list of ships in both fleets as well as their fates (if known). All in all an excellent buy, well written brilliantly illustrated, I almost feel another gaming period coming over me!

     Vanguard # 188 Great Lakes Warships 1812-1815
     Author; Mark Lardas
     Artist;   Paul Wright
    ISBN:  978-1-84908-566-3

     The War of 1812 has always been a favorite period of mine (being the one bit of the Napoleonic period that happened near my hometown of Detroit) and the naval actions on the Great Lakes are a particular part of that. The idea of building not only fleets from scratch but the shipyards as well in what amounted to a wilderness is a testament to the sheer will of man; that they did so swiftly and well is a glimpse of the energy and determination of the men involved. This book dives right into the naval aspect without wasting any space on the background of the war. With a series of superb drawings, a concise text and an excellent selection of period drawings (and even a few photographs from shortly after the war) this book lays the groundwork for anyone wishing to understand the vessels in this savagely fought war of cockleshell navies.There is a full accounting of both fleets with enough description of each vessel for gaming purposes.  There is also a good bibliography and a useful glossary of terms in the back of the book as well.

     Both of these titles present an excellent value to anyone with even a passing interest in the vessels with which these obscure conflicts were fought and represent a very good launching point for entry into either period.

    Very Highly Recommended,  John

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