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Reviewed by Jon Warneke

Like most books in the Squadron Series, this one is widely available at most hobby stores for $7.95



This book covers the development of the US escort carrier from it's genesis through the final incarnation.  It's a very good reference source for the modeler since it contains a plan and profile for each class of carrier, and provides a lot of useful photos to "trick out" the project.

The book begins with a brief synopsis of the development of carrier aviation concepts from the USS Birmingham, through the "Flying Deck cruiser" concept of the 1930's.  This then leads into the need for trade protection during the North Atlantic battles of the early part of WW2, and the development of USS Long Island and HMS Audacity.  Finally, it ends with the determination of designations (AVG to ACV to CVE), how US CVE's were named, and the use of USS Wolvering and USS Sable in the training role.

The classes covered in the book are the Long Island, Bogue, Sangamon, Charger,nassau.jpg (18863 bytes) Prince William (Ruler class in RN service), Casablanca and Commencement Bay.  There are plan and profile views for each class, except for the Prince Williams which were repeat Bogues.  The particulars of each class are well documented.  There are  short histories of specific ships, and a good selection of photos that modelers will find useful, especially when painting camoflauge schemes. 

There are building and fitting-out photos that display details modelers want, such as flight deck bracing, island close-ups, and sponson undersides.  Sprinkled throughout the book are scrap drawings of the different weapons  carried, radars (although a YE beacon antenna is mislabeled as an SC radar), and aircraft.

The color center section has six drawings, including one of the USS Annapolis (AGMR1) as a major communications relay ship, and a very good rendition of the USS Santee in the rarely seen Measure 17.  The colors are a little too purplish in my copy, but they will provide you with a idea of what the colors should look like.

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The final section of the book deals with some of the post war conversions.  Included is the aforementioned Annapolis, as well as the Thetis Bay (the first amphibious assault ship), and the USNS Croatan.  There are two photos of each ship as well as a brief explanation of the vessel's mission.

This is a very good book for detailing, painting and embellishing the existing escort carrier kits.  Unfortunately there is no coverage of Royal Navy CVEs, though the Prince William section includes a few photos of RN escort carriers.  There are some very good 1/700 scale escort carrier kits  (though  the Commencement Bay class and Long Island classes have yet to be covered), and we are starting to see escort carriers available in  1/350 scale.  This book delivers excellent value for the money and is highly recommended for both modelers and naval enthusiasts.