With the world's largest merchant fleet and extensive overseas territories during most of the twentieth century, the Royal Navy depended on the cruiser to defend Britain's trade routes and police the empire. In this handsomely illustrated book, the noted ship historian Norman Friedman provides insights into the cruiser's development and Britain's efforts to come to terms with the competing demands of quality and quantity. The first book to offer a comprehensive explanation of the policy background, it presents an entirely original picture of cruiser development.
The book's final chapters cover post-war modernizations, plans for missile-armed ships, and the process that turned the through-deck cruiser into the Invincible-class light carrier. With detailed appendixes of ship data and extensive photos and ship plans by A.D. Baker III, Alan Raven, Paul Webb, and John Dominy, the work matches the high standards set by Friedman's book on British destroyers.