Naval book recommendations

Jeff Leslie

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Listerines,

In my quest to learn more about the RJW, I stumbled across this HTML-only book on the war. Looks like it has lots of 2D & 3D drawings & photos of the ships (Russian at least) and day-by-day naval strengths. I don't think it has any text.

Anybody know anything about it? It's 35 Euro (about 45 USD) and you have to order it from Russia via email.

http://www.battleships.ru/Our_poducts_datahtml.htm
 

mbv

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I have been to that site a few times and some of the 3D modelling is indeed stunning. I think the CD book is really just a showcase for the 3D models of all the RJW ships mixed with a bunch of scans of contemporary postcard photos of the ships and a database of ship data similar in style to Conways 'All the Worlds Fighting Ships 1860-1905'. Worth it only if you want the 3D model images, the rest you can find on the internet or in available books.
 

saddletank

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Recommended reading

Can someone give an opinion on this general RJW history book.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1841764469/ref=sib_rdr_dp/026-7878425-7722036

It's by Osprey so I expect it to be rather slim and to cover the war only in general, but if it's not recommended can someone recommend a book that covers the land campaign and political aspects of the conflict - not just the naval?

Thanks
 

Zouave

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The Tide at Sunrise seems to be a common recommendation among websites, including Norm's own. Here's a short review from a Pacific University website:

Despite being an oft over looked struggle, there are quite a few books about the Russo-Japanese War available today. However, most of these books tend to narrow their focus on certain aspects of the war. For example, Ian Nish, in The Origins of the Russo-Japanese War , investigates the details leading up the war but not the actual conflict itself. While focused studies of this kind are important, they are of less value to one who is not totally familiar with the subject. If one is looking for a comprehensive, authoritative overview of the entire Russo-Japanese War, its causes, battles, and outcome, then Denis and Peggy Warner's The Tide at Sunrise stands out as the best resource.

Published over thirty years ago, The Tide at Sunrise: A History of the Russo Japanese War 1904-1905 remains one of the most authoritative overviews of the Russo-Japanese war available today. One aspect of the war was that it was closely watched around the world. This resulted in the publication of a dearth of contemporary documentation on multiple aspects of the war. The Warners produced their expansive study overwhelmingly from these primary sources. The vast majority of their strategic information comes from official Japanese government documents, such as The Official History of the Russo-Japanese War , and the Japanese Official Naval History of the Russo-Japanese War . However their sources are in no way limited to the Japanese and include the writings of key Russian figures, such as General Kuropatkin and Count Witte. The bibliography, alone, speaks to the vast scope of this work.

The age of The Tide at Sunrise is, however, a factor. First published before the fall of communism in Russia, the Warners' study does suffer, somewhat, from a lack of more modern Russian analysis of the war. Furthermore, the fact that Russian official documents are more readily available to the public than they were thirty years ago leaves room for the possibility of new information not available to the Warners at the time. None the less, the fact that the Warners' book has been republished as recently as 2001, and the lack of similarly thorough and authoritative studies today, stands as a testament to its continued value.

The Russo-Japanese War is probably one of the least studied conflicts of the twentieth century. Overshadowed by the more global World Wars and the Cold War, there is probably less published work on the war available today than there was at the beginning of the last century. Still, a significant amount of information on the war is in existence, and the The Tide at Sunrise remains one of the most complete compilations of that information. If one were to attempting to understand the Russo-Japanese War from just one book, the The Tide at Sunrise would be that book.

Warner, Denis A. and Peggy Warner. The Tide at Sunrise: A History of the Russo Japanese War 1904-1905 . 2 nd Ed. New York: Taylor and Francis Ltd, 2001.

And FYI, I just picked up at a used bookstore Paul Halpern's Naval History of World War I. It is an excellent read; I just finished the chapter about Germany's attempt at Cruiser Warfare, and many of the exploits sound just like the raiding we all do in DG.
 

WallysWorld

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I've read Richard Connaughton's "Rising Sun and Tumbling Bear" about four times since I got it a year ago. Excellent book about the military side of the war with less about the political or the human aspect of the war. But it gives great details about the planning and execution of the land war from both sides. The siege of Port Arthur and Nogi's generalship was very interesting to read. Though some may consider this book a little dry, I really enjoyed it and pick it every time I need a RJW fix.

The other book on the RJW which I own is the "The Tsar's Last Armada" by Constantine Pleshakov. Gives a real good story about life on board the Second Pacific Squadron during its long voyage. Deals a lot more about the human aspect of the trip rather than with the final climatic battle.

I also bought a month ago "Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905" based upon Bullethead's recommendation. Another book that I can't seem to be put even though I've read through it probably twice so far.

I've seen the book saddletank is inquiring about in my local wargaming store, but haven't bought it so I can't comment on it.
 
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saddletank

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Thanks Wally, that's one I've not heard about before. Maybe we could make this a suggested reading thread?

Richard Hough "The Fleet That had to Die"

Warner "The Tide at Sunrise"

Pleshakov "The Tsar's Last Armada"

Stephen Howarth "Morning Glory"
 

WallysWorld

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Whoo! A RJW book of fiction. Don't see those too often. Thanks for the tip, Mobeer.

I now remember that I also have "Buller's Dreadnought" by Richard Hough, the author of "The Fleet That Had to Die". An old book of fiction, but deals with the Tsushima battle.
 

Daedalus

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I have been able to find one book here to order on the RJW, but it is way out of my price range for now at least.
I am going to look at the used book stores around here and see what I can find. We have a Used Book store here in town that carrys only War Books and the type that we like. I got to go into there awhile back for an hour or so and I think that I would be at home there for a few months if they would let me do such a thing.:)
Anyway they do ship , so I will check becasue they had books about just about anything you could think of on War, and a few that I saw went back to the 1700,s .
I'll try to get there soon and make a list of what they have on RJW.

If you have any that you would like me to look for let me know and I will see what I can find.
 

mbv

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I think even though Connaughton's work has been claimed by others to be the new definitive work on the RJW the Warner's The Tide at Sunrise volume does actually retain the right to be the definitive work. I have both volumes and they are slightly different in approach, but the sheer breadth annd depth of the Warner's work shines through clearly. If you want one book on the whole war this is the book you should get.

I didn't actually rate Plesshakov's book too highly. The anecdotal approach did not give me any confidence in his sources. The included photos are an odd choice at times with British and German warships amongst them. The battle maps are awful and the difficulties in translation do not make it an easy read because many naval terms are confused. I much preferred Richard Hough's work, The Fleet That Had To Die.

Hough's Morning Glory is a history of the development of the Japanese Navy up to the end of WWII. There are only two very short chapters which relate to the RJW. OK if you want to learn about the development of the Japanese Navy as a whole (particularly immediately before and during WWII), but not really a good book for RJW info.

The Osprey book is, as you have already guessed, just a very summarised history of the whole war which concentrates more on the military campaign than any other aspect. One for the collector of RJW books, but I would not place it high on your list.
 
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Cloudy

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I too have "The Tide At Sunrise" and "Rising Sun, Tumbling Bear" and find "The Tide At Sunrise" to be the better volume if one was forced to choose. There are actually quite a few books on the Russo-Japanese War floating around in print or out of print. I like to read a few overview-type works and then read what people who were there have to say.

An excellent personal recollection entitled "Human Bullets" by Tadayoshi Sakurai is written from the perspective of a Japanese infantryman and ends with his wounding during an assault. Another interesting work is "The McCully Report" written by a USN naval observer at Port Arthur in which he has a great eye for detail in describing the damage to the Russian ships as they return from battle. "Maritime Operations In The Russo-Japanese War" by Julian S. Corbett is another detailed and definitive volume (actually two...) focusing on the naval aspect of the war. "The Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905 British Naval Attache Reports" is a great resource for eyewitness accounts by several British naval observers with the Japanese fleet.

There are also many books written by newspaper correspondents such as "With Kuroki In Manchuria" by Frederick Palmer that, while not overly specific due to newspapermen only being shown what their hosts wanted them to see, can still contribute to the big picture and give you a window back to their time through their eyes. On another tack, there is also a book on Vasily V. Vereschagin the famous (for his time) Russian war and anti-war painter whom many do not know went down with Admiral Makarov aboard the Petropavlosk. There are many tidbits out there and sometimes you can find good deals on original or reprinted books through the magic of the internet. I have quite a few books on the Russo-Japanese War and am always looking for more...
 

Daedalus

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At least now I have some books to look for. I will take my list of what you have put in these post and look and see if I can find any of them.​
 

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These sites may have already been mentioned, but I stumbled upon them while looking for books:

1) This one has some interesting information about ranges, projectiles, and damaged suffered by individual ships in the battles:

http://www.gwpda.org/naval/rjwargun.htm

2) And this one has all kinds of information, including photos, a bibliography and a "store" webpage that it says is under construction.

http://www.russojapanesewar.com/index.html

It also has a link to a site called SeawarStore (http://yhst-33814381268641.stores.yahoo.net/) that sells a Tsushima t-shirt and Russian/IJN naval ensign flags you can proudly fly by your keyboard!
 

saddletank

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Thanks to everyone, some very helpful suggestions there.
 

Hud

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If you can get it Corbett's Maritime Operations is well worth the read. Gives lots of detail including strategies and tactics. Vol 1 seems to be around Vol 2 not so common.
 

NormKoger

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Recent Reading

I've been enjoying my most recent read so much that I decided I just had to mention it: Arthur Herman's To Rule the Waves - How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World. It looked interesting, but I left it on the shelf for a while because I thought it might be a bit dry. Wrong. It's a great read, full of the kind of side stories and anecdotes that help bring history to life. Recommended.

Next on the shelf is Holger Herwig's Luxury Fleet: The Imperial German Navy, 1888-1918.
 

Bullethead

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I've been reading The First Punic War by JF Lazenby in between chapters of Halpern's A Naval History of WW1.
 

Hinchinbrooke

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I too have Herman's book on the shelf.......... as yet unread, as I've been periodically savouring N.A.M. Rodger's "The Command of the Ocean".

Sharing the nightstand is Richard F. Newcomb's "Abandon Ship", the saga of the USS Indianapolis' final voyage, which is proving a good read.
 

WallysWorld

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I have "Abandon Ship". Read that book almost 30 years ago. Good book.

Anyone ever read the 1982 novel "Buller's Dreadnought" by Richard Alexander Hough (the same author who wrote "The Fleet that had to die")? Part of the story takes place during the Battle of Tsushima and later in World War One.
 

RCNVR

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If you liked Arthur Herman's To Rule the Waves - How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World you might also like David Howarth's Sovereign of the Seas: The Story of British Sea Power and Navy and Empire by James Stokesbury. I do not know if they are in print but you can usually find them in used book stores.

A classic if you can find it is 25 Centuries of Sea Warfare by Jacques Mordal, he has some nice chapters on Lissa, First Torpedo Attacks, Manila and Santiago, the Russo Japanese War etc. Mordal is French and is is interesting to see a slightly different view compared to the classic British/American view.
 
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