08 August 2019
Although few people these days have any view of HMS Hood beyond that of the British battlecruiser that was destroyed by the Bismarck, for the 20 years before that catastrophic event, it was the pride and joy of the Empire.
Author: Daniel Knowles
Reviewed by: Duncan Evans
Although few people these days have any view of HMS Hood beyond that of the British battlecruiser that was destroyed by the Bismarck, for the 20 years before that catastrophic event, it was the pride and joy of the Empire. Commissioned in 1920, the Hood cost a staggering £253m in today’s money before setting out to patrol the world’s oceans. Thanks to high quality paper there are photos used throughout, showing the ship at harbour, out at sea and even lit up with illuminations to celebrate Royal events. The Hood was also one of the ships used to destroy the French fleet after the collapse of France in WWII, to stop the Germans using them.
Of course, it’s the fateful battle with the Bismarck where it all comes to an end and this illustrates the shortcomings of this book. It’s very much a labour of love by the author, but the writing is uninspired and dull. Even as you get to the climax of events, Knowles stops to start talking about what other books have said about the commanders and their actions. It all adds up to a worthy, if rather flat, look at the life and ultimate death of Britain’s greatest battlecruiser.
• Fonthill Media
• ISBN 978-1-7815-5723-5
• 420 pages • Hardback • £36
As reviewed in The Armourer September 2019
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