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A portrait in words and photographs of the interwar Navy, this book examines the twenty-year period that saw the U.S. fleet shrink under the pressure of arms limitation treaties and government economy and then grow again to a world-class force. The authors trace the Navy's evolution from a fleet centered around slow battleships to one that deployed most of the warship types that proved so essential in World War II, including fast aircraft carriers, heavy and light cruisers, sleek destroyers, powerful battleships, and deadly submarines. Both the older battleships and these newer ships are captured in stunning period photographs that have never before been published. An authoritative yet lively text explains how and why the newer ships and aircraft came to be. Thomas Hone and Trent Hone describe how a Navy desperately short funds and men nevertheless pioneered carrier aviation, shipboard electronics, code-breaking, and (with the Marines) amphibious warfare - elements that made America's later victory in the Pacific possible. Based on years of study of official Navy department records, their book presents a comprehensive view of the foundations of a navy that would become the world's largest and most formidable. At the same time, the heart of the book draws on memoirs, novels, and oral histories to reveal the work and the skills of sailors and officers that contributed to successes in World War II. From their service on such battleships as West Virginia to their efforts ashore to develop and procure the most effective aircraft, electronics, and ships, from their adventures on Yangtze River gunboats to carrier landings on the converted battle cruisers Saratoga and Lexington, the men are profiled along with their ships. This combination of popular history with archival history will appeal to a general audience of naval enthusiasts.