You wouldn’t be reading this without the power of the internet and we have all seen what a wonderful tool it can be.  I work in the media full time and have seen an explosion of digital versions of traditional products and how the two versions dovetail together in a way to suit as many punters as possible. It all seems sensible. Books are dead. Newspapers are dead. Ink, itself, is dead. Or is it?

Books like this one dropping on to your forlorn coffee table with a resounding crash show that there is life in printed paper yet. Sumptuous is the cheesy but reliable word I am looking for to create the impression you need to understand where your forty-five quid is going. The photographic production is out of this world and the captions are perfect.

So anyway, what are you getting? This book is primarily a pictorial record of the ‘pocket’ battleships of the Kriegsmarine. The book is prepared by two highly respected historians of naval shipping. For the late Siegfried Breyer, the book serves as a posthumous masterpiece. The man knew his stuff.   I love the photographs and the huge amount of information. Breyer’s plan drawings are good to look at and the whole thing is just so damned nice. I cannot fault it.

All the major German capital ships are here, including the unfinished aircraft carrier, the Graf Zeppelin. What you won’t find, which disappoints me a little, is the Prinz Eugen or the other bridesmaids of the Nazi fleet. But the fact is they don’t seem to qualify as a capital ship. I’ll leave this level of knowledge to the experts. This is what we buy books for. Wikiwotsit and internet forums offer so much, as do the other dedicated sites developed by people wanting to share their passion. Books can and do transcend all this. This is one that does just that.

 Mark Barnes.

By Siegfried Breyer and Miroslaw Skwiot
Published by Seaforth Publishing  £45.00
ISBN: 978 1 84832 143 4



Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is a longstanding friend of WHO, providing features, photography and reviews. He has contributed to The Times of London and other publications. He is the author of The Liberation of Europe (pub 2016) and If War Should Come due later in 2020.