Brassey’s Naval Annual

This work has undergone several name changes over the years, but it was originally published as a means of keeping the public informed about naval developments from around the world. As it states in its preface to the first volume (1886): “It is intended that the ‘Naval Annual’ shall appear annually, and it is hoped that it may be the means of bringing together a large amount of information on naval subjects, which has hitherto only been obtainable by consulting numerous publications and chiefly from foreign sources.” A vast amount of information is contained within each volume: relative strengths of navies, detailed analysis of the British fleet, ordnance, list of airships, naval costs, the “health” of the navy, essays on certain topics, etc. Of particular interest are those volumes published during the war years (publication was suspended in 1917-18); these tomes contain reproductions of statements and papers of the Royal Navy (They are Part IV of the 1915, 1916, and 1919 volumes). Each edition is heavily illustrated as well. For a contemporary look of the world’s fleets around 1900, and what occurred during World War I, this series is worth a look.

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