Aircraft Carriers


Aircraft Carriers

A History of Carrier Aviation and Its Influence on World Events, Volume I: 1909-1945

Norman Polmar

576 pages


September 2006


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November 2011


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About the Book

Aircraft Carriers is the definitive history of world aircraft carrier development and operations. Norman Polmar’s revised and updated, two-volume classic describes the political and technological factors that influenced aircraft carrier design and construction, meticulously records their operations, and explains their impact on modern warfare. Volume I provides a comprehensive analysis of carrier developments and warfare in the first half of the twentieth century, and examines the advances that allowed the carrier to replace the battleship as the dominant naval weapons system. Polmar gives particular emphasis to carrier operations from World War I, through the Japanese strikes against China in the 1930s, to World War II in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Arctic, and Pacific theaters. It begins with French inventor Clément Ader’s remarkably prescient 1909 description of an aircraft carrier. The book then explains how Britain led the world in the development of aircraft-carrying ships, soon to be followed by the United States and Japan. While ship-based aircraft operations in World War I had limited impact, they foreshadowed the aircraft carriers built in the 1920s and 1930s. The volume also describes the aircraft operating from those ships as well as the commanders who pioneered carrier aviation.Aircraft Carriers has benefited from the technical collaboration of senior carrier experts Captain Eric M. Brown and General Minoru Genda as well as noted historians Robert M. Langdon and Peter B. Mersky. Aircraft Carriers is heavily illustrated with more than 400 photographs—some never before published—and maps.Volume II, which is forthcoming from Potomac Books in the winter 2006-2007 (ISBN 978-1-57488-665-8), will cover the period 1946 to the present.

Author Bio

Norman Polmar is a leading expert on naval and aviation matters. An internationally known analyst, consultant, and award-winning author, Polmar has written more than 40 books, including, with K. J. Moore, Cold War Submarines: The Design and Construction of U.S. and Soviet Submarines (Brassey’s, ISBN 1-57488-594-4) and Historic Naval Aircraft: From the Pages of Naval History Magazine (Brassey’s, ISBN 1-57488-572-3). He is a columnist for the U.S. Naval Institute's Proceedings and Naval History magazines. Polmar lives in the Washington, DC, area.


"Aircraft Carriers offers a definitive history of world aircraft carrier development and operations. Chapters analyze the first half of the 20th century and offer much in-depth analysis that is key to any serious military collection's holdings."—Midwest Book Review

"This is a truly outstanding reference work. . . .this is a must-have book for those who want to know more about the development of naval aviation."—Canadian Naval Review

“A very well-written, comprehensive primer on the operational history of American carriers.”—Nautical Research Journal

"It is an authoritative and admirable history."—

“The account of carrier operations during the Second World War is both thorough and sound; the narrative is enhanced by many new photographs, some of which are previously unpublished.”—Warship 2008, Naval Books of the Year


"An excellent book."—Adm. Arleigh Burke, USN, Chief of Naval Operations, 1955-1961

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