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Friday, 28 July 2017

The Age of Invincible: The Ship That Defined the Modern Royal Navy (My Goodreads Review)

The Age of Invincible: The Ship That Defined the Modern Royal NavyThe Age of Invincible: The Ship That Defined the Modern Royal Navy by Nick Childs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book about the development of the reduced Royal Navy is very gripping reading. To be honest, I thought the book was going to be about the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible – the ship that became iconized in the Falkland’s War and mainly, just that topic only. Maybe some details of the building and design etc. What I did not expect was the in depth account of how the Royal Navy began to diminish with the break-up of the old empire after World War II.

At first, I thought I would not be too interested in the politics of all this, but as I continued to read the book, I was engrossed by the way the Royal Navy had to fight in the government’s corridors of power to define its new standing in the world.

There were projects for new aircraft carriers throughout the 1950s and 1960s but each time defence ministers seemed to think that aircraft carriers were too vulnerable and expensive. In the end, the Royal Navy actually put forward plans for a Cruiser with a flight deck. (A small aircraft carrier in all but name.)

By the time it was built it was referred to as an aircraft carrier and two more Invincible class carriers were to be built to allow the Royal Navy a compliment of three. Then under another new government things changed again as more cuts were to be made and one carrier to be sold to another country.

This to and through for ships comes to a head with Naval staff perusing a minister across the country to try and persuade the government to allow the Royal Navy its ships. All the way through the decades there is the need to adapt to new demands and the new world order. Much of the focus is on NATO and nuclear submarines.

Then comes the chance to convince the government that aircraft carriers are necessary. Argentina invades the Falklands. The whole thing was tailor made for the Royal Navy in a far off place.

I recommend this title for anyone who enjoys the Royal Navy and ships. Also for the politics of the situation over the decades leading up to the building of HMS Invisible.


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