Naval and Aviation Bibliography
(Alphabetical by Title)

Compiled by Chuck Hawks

Books about Naval Affairs:

The Battle of Leyte Gulf . . . by Stan Smith - The biggest naval battle of all time. Here is a chance to learn about it from a man who was a submariner on war patrol then, and a noted historian later (174 pages).

The Battle of Leyte Gulf, The Death Knell of the Japanese Fleet . . . by Edwin P. Hoyt - Mr. Hoyt is the author of many books about naval history. He has a clear and interesting writing style, and his 384 page book about Leyte Gulf may be his best.

The Battleship Yamato . . . by Januz Skulski - The source for detailed information about the external characteristics of the Yamato. Also good information on the design, building, and history of the great ship. Good stuff

Battleships of World War I . . . by Antony Preston - The top reference for WW I battleships and battlecruisers; comprehensive and detailed.

The Big E . . . by Commander Edward P. Stafford, USN - The story of the WW II carrier Enterprise, the most successful warship of all time. Partisan, but well written.

Blue Skies and Blood, The Battle of the Coral Sea . . . by Edwin P. Hoyt. Despite the gaudy title, a good account of the world's first carrier battle.

Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946 . . . edited by Roger Chesnaeu - The single most comprehensive and inclusive reference work dealing with the warships of WW II. If I could only have one reference book for the period, this would be it.

Day of Infamy . . . by Walter Lord - Probably the best known book about the attack on Pearl Harbor. A classic.

The Encyclopedia of the World's Warships . . . by Hugh Lion - A detailed technical directory of major warships from 1900 to 1978. Not as comprehensive as Conway's or Jane's, but very detailed. One of my favorite reference books.

Epic Sea Battles . . . by William Koenig - Capsule descriptions of major sea battles from 1798 to 1944 in 256 pages. Brief but informative. Lays a good foundation for further research, or provides background for someone who focuses primarily on a specific period (like WW II), but needs to understand the historical context.

Fighting Ships of World War II . . . by J. N. Westwood - Histories of famous battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, submarines, and escorts of WW II. Some interesting tables and charts. Not comprehensive, but detailed.

The Fleet That Had To Die . . . by Richard Hough - The story of the ill fated Russian Baltic Sea fleet that steamed 18,000 miles to meet their fate at Tsushima. Well written and fascinating history.

Hitler's Naval War . . . by Cajus Bekkeer - Despite the somewhat gaudy title, a serious, well written and informative history. A good read.

An Illustrated History of the Navies of World War II . . . by Antony Preston - Mr. Preston's name on a book is a guarantee of quality. Lots of neat photographs and informative text.

Jane's Fighting Ships (annual) . . . edited by Captain Richard Sharpe, OBE RN - The basic reference work on the world's navies.

Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II . . . A comprehensive encyclopedia of WW II warships.

Jane's Fighting Ships Of World War I . . . A comprehensive encyclopedia of WW I warships.

Jane's American Fighting Ships of the 20th Century . . . edited by Captain John Moore, RN - A comprehensive encyclopedia of American warships.

Japanese Destroyer Captain . . . Captain Tameichi Hara, IJN - The personal account of one of Japan's most famous WW II captains. For most of the war he was captain of the famous destroyer Shiguri. He wrote the IJN manual on torpedo attack techniques. His last sortie was as Captain of the Yahagi, the cruiser that accompanied Yamato's fateful last mission. A fascinating read from a man who was in the thick of some of the most famous battles of the Pacific War.

Midway! Incredible Victory . . . by Walter Lord - My favorite account of the battle that changed the course of the Pacific War. Very readable.

Modern Naval Combat . . . by David Miller & Chris Miller - Discusses the ships and weapon systems of the modern age, and how they are employed. Interesting, especially the section on tactics.

Night Raider of the Atlantic, the Saga of the U-99 . . . by Terence Robertson - The story of Otto Kretschmer, the top German U-boat skipper of WW II. Very readable.

Our Fighting Ships . . . by M. D. Katz, Jr. / H. C. Lee / E. L. Levy, Jr. - Long out of print, this wartime (1942-43) reference to U.S. fighting ships makes fascinating reading if you can find a copy. I got mine used in the 1960's.

The Pacific Campaign (The U.S.-Japanese Naval War 1941-1945) . . . A well researched overview of the Pacific War and its causes. Packed with useful information.

Pictorial History of the German Navy in World War II . . . by Edward P. Von der Porten. Excellent text and photographs. Foreword by Grand Admiral Donitz. This is the real thing.

Pursuit, the Chase and Sinking of the Battleship Bismarck . . . by Ludovic Kennedy - The premier account of the battleship Bismarck. Mr. Kennedy was actually there, and he makes the story come alive. One of the best histories I have ever read. Enjoyable, entertaining, and accurate. You don't have to be a history buff to enjoy this book.

Savo . . . by Richard F. Newcomb - The true, accurate story of the greatest defeat in U.S. Naval history. Well written story of a major surface engagement. A must read.

Sea Power . . . by John Dekker & Lord Hill-Norton, Admiral of the Fleet, RN - Examines each major type of warship, and relates them to the decisive engagements they participated in. Interesting insights from a major player at the top of the field. I love to read books written by the guys who actually made the decisions the 'experts' write about.

The Sea Wolves . . . by Wolfgang Frank - The complete story of the German U-boats in WW II.

Sink the C. S. Forester - The book that became a famous movie and even a hit song (by Johnny Horton). A true but somewhat fictionalized account of the chase of the Bismarck. Clearly a story of the good guys (RN) against the bad guys (Kreigsmarine).

Strategy & Tactics of Sea Warfare . . . by Ned Wilmott - Interesting little primer on the subject.

Tin Cans . . . By Theodore Roscoe - The true story of the American destroyers in WW II. An officially abridged version of the authors United States Destroyer Operations in World War II.

The Two-Ocean War . . . by Samuel Eliot Morison - The definitive short history of the USN in WW II by the official Navy historian. A brief (534 page) version of Morison's fifteen volume official history.

U.S. Aircraft Carriers, An Illustrated Design History . . . by Norman Friedman - The most detailed and comprehensive book on the subject. Revealing insights about the design process. Covers all U.S. aircraft carriers up to 1983.

U.S. Battleships 1941-1963, An Illustrated Technical Reference . . . by Wayne Scarpaci - Covers each class of USN battleship from the Florida class of 1907 to the cancelled Montanas and includes the Alaska class battle cruisers. Lavishly illustrated. Self published and not professionally edited, but still worth reading.

U.S. Battleships, An Illustrated Design History . . . by Norman Friedman - The most detailed and comprehensive book on the subject. Outstanding insights into the design process, and the resultant ships. Covers all U.S. battleships.

U.S. Cruisers, An Illustrated Design History . . . by Norman Friedman - The most detailed and comprehensive book on the subject. Covers all U.S. cruisers. Also includes battlecruisers and large cruisers.

Yamamoto . . . by Edwin P. Hoyt - The story of America's most brilliant world War II enemy. Admiral Yamamoto was a facinating figure and his story should be more widely known in the West.

Aviation Books:

Black Thursday . . . by Martin Caidin - One of the best books about the costly bombing attack on the German ball bearing factory at Schweinfurt during WW II. Up to Mr. Caidin's usual high standards. A good read.

The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft . . . General Editor: David Donald - A comprehensive reference to over 2500 civil and military aircraft from 1903 to 1997. Includes specifications and pictures.

The Encyclopedia of Modern Warplanes . . . edited by Bill Gunston - The development and specifications of all active military aircraft (updated 1995). Superbly illustrated.

The Encyclopedia of World Air Power . . . edited by Bill Gunston - A comprehensive encyclopedia on contemporary aviation. Lots of specifications, color illustrations, and photographs. Covers all major military aircraft.

Fighter, The True Story of the Battle of Britain . . . by Len Deighton - A well written serious book by the master of the spy tale. This is a really good book, not a fictionalized account, but a comprehensive history.

The First and the Last . . . by Adolf Galland, General of the Fighters - A personal history of the Luftwaffe from 1939 to 1945 by one of the men who made it happen. This classic book is a must read. I was saddened to hear recently, on the radio, that General Galland had died (Feb 1997).

Flying Fury . . . by Major James T. B. McCudden, RFC, VC - Major McCudden was one of the top Aces in the Royal Flying Corps in WW I (57 victories). He was the most decorated member of the RFC. He was killed in his S.E.5a in 1918, after 5 years of flying, by an engine failure. He was 22 years of age. This is his autobiography.

Fork-Tailed Devil: The P-38 . . . By Martin Caidin - Mr. Caidin is one of the best and most consistent aviation writers. His story of the famous P-38 fighter plane is outstanding. I know a little about this aircraft from my father, who was one of the young flight test engineers who risked their lives trying to solve the shock-stall dive problem.

The History of the U.S. Air Force . . . By David A. Anderson - The whole history, from Civil War balloon experiments, to the 1980's. Lots of good illustrations and historic photographs.

Horrido! Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe . . . by Trevor J. Constable & Col. Raymond F. Toliver - Twelve years of research went into this book about the German Aces of WW II.

Horses Don't Fly (A Memoir of World War I) . . . by Frederick Libby - The memoir of a young American cowpuncher who enlisted in the RFC and shot down 24 enemy planes in combat. Capt. Libby was the grandfather of a close personal friend of mine, and his story makes for interesting reading. My friend, Sally Marsh, wrote the Afterword for the book.

Jane's All the World's Aircraft (annual) . . . edited by Mark Lambert - The basic reference work on the world's aircraft.

Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II . . . A historical encyclopedia of WW II aircraft.

Kamikaze . . . by Yasuo Kuwahara & Gordon T. Allred - The story of a young Japanese fighter pilot from the later period of the war. This was a man who did not experience the great days of victory in the beginning of the war, only the grinding battle against overwhelming odds at the end.

The Life and Death of the Luftwaffe . . . by Werner Baumbach, General of the Bombers - Another history by one of the major players. I love this kind of stuff.

The Pictorial History of Air Warfare . . . By Chris Chant - From the pre-WW I days to about 1970. Well illustrated. Covers equipment, strategy, and tactics; discussion of major air battles. Worthwhile.

The Red Baron . . . by Manfred von Richthofen - The short autobiography written by the Red Baron shortly before his death. Also includes articles by Lothar von Richthofen and Capt. Roy Brown (who shot down von Richthofen).

The Rise of the Luftwaffe . . . by Herbert Molloy Mason, Jr. - A comprehensive history of the German Air Force from 1918 to 1940. Definitely worth reading.

Samurai! . . . by Saburo Sakai with Martin Caidin & Fred Saito - The personal account of Japan's top scoring fighter pilot to survive the war (64 victories in over 200 combat missions). Fascinating, a must read.

Slide Rule . . . by Nevil Shute - A interesting account of the early days of aeronautical design. My father was an aeronautical engineer of some note, so I found this well written book especially interesting.

the Fighter Aircraft Pocketbook . . . by Roy Cross - This little reference work, published in the UK in 1962, is suprisingly complete and detailed. Covers the fighter planes of all nations from 1913 to 1961.

Thunderbolt . . . by Robert S Johnson and Martin Caidin - Bob Johnson was one of the most famous American Aces of WW II. His book is a fascinating account of the air war over Europe, from the beginning of the American daylight raids to his return home in 1944 as the (then) top American Ace, with 28 victories. A must read.

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Copyright 1999, 2009 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.