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The American Steel Navy traces the development of the modern U.S. Navy from its first steel ships authorized in 1883 through the War with Spain until its maturing in the form of the Great White Fleet. The text is heavily illustrated by photographs and drawings of the ships themselves, their equipment, and the men who designed and served on them. Appendices include outline plans of the major ships and biographical sketches of important people involved in their development. This classic study of the U.S. Navy is now back in print due to popular demand. This is the third printing.
I have a 1989 printing of this book, and it is one of the favorites on my bookshelf. The coverage of our navy during the 1883-1909 period is unsurpassed. And the book just doesn't cover the ships: the policies that affected naval doctrine and the way of life of the men who served are also well documented. I cannot recommend this book too highly.