Supercarrier

OVER A DECADE ago Osprey Publishing released a volume called Supercarriers in its hugely popular ‘Colour Series’ range. This humble tome went on to sell well over 25,000 copies, plus spurn two further works with the word ‘Supercarrier’ in their respective titles. The moderately priced all-colour books produced by the publisher proved so successful throughout the 1980s that a number of other competitors also adopted this format, and by the early 1990s saturation point had been reached. Today, only Motorbooks of Osceola, Wisconsin, continues to release titles in this format under the less than original banner of ‘Enthusiast Color Series’. Its latest offering once again sees the sobriquet Supercarrier emblazoned on the cover, along with the subtitle USS George Washington. The latter vessel is the focus of this slim tome, which is profusely illustrated by the work of English photographer Christopher Bennett who has previously completed assignments for Osprey, amongst other publishers. As the author points out in his introduction, the book does not restrict its coverage exclusively to the action on the flightdeck. Indeed, less than half the pages in Supercarrier feature air wing action ‘up on the roof, the remainder of the book covering subjects as diverse as the ship’s ‘geedunk’ general store and bakery! The author’s attempt to give all of George Washington’s myriad departments coverage is admirable, but this is perhaps where the book falls down, for the average US Navy enthusiast is actually a Tomcat, Hornet or Intruder ‘freak’, not a devotee of naval culinary delights, or the numerous weights rooms dotted throughout the 90,000-ton vessel. He (or she) wants to see an endless procession of deck action shots, and those that the author has chosen to include are very good — although the cover and title page spread images were obviously pulled from the ship’s PAO files, and look badly blurred when compared with Bennett’s Kodachrome originals. Accompanying the 100+ photos is a slick text that adequately imparts a feeling of what life aboard CVN-73 is like. As a US Navy aficionado myself, I recommend that you search this one out to put alongside your Osprey ‘originals’.

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