cover art
USS California
A Visual History of the Golden State Battleship BB-44
by David Doyle

Reviewed by Sean Hert
March 2016 

cover art
From The Ampersand Group, the publishing house of Hobby Link Japan, this 168 page book covers the history of the Tennessee-class US battleship USS California BB-44. This comprehensive look at the California details the life of BB-44 in photographic detail, with the construction, launching and fitting out alone covering 40 pages of captioned photos. 

The photos are predominantly black and white, but there are a handful of color images and illustrations. The images are generally quite crisp and clear, with a few exceptions. These exceptions have been selected, typically, because the image provides a something not available in a clearer image. The images are not only the typical exterior views, but include some detailed interior shots of living and engineering spaces.

This book has seven sections and a brief Introduction which talks about the previous USS California's. Each section has a The first section is called "The California is christened," covering construction until the late 1930's. The next two parts, titled "The Pearl Harbor Attack" and "Salvage operations," cover the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, California's sinking in that attack and subsequent raising and repair. California then proceeded to the mainland for repairs and refit in the next section, titled "Return to Puget Sound" which also has images of California's early 1944 wartime appearance. She served in the Pacific fleet, but had an unfortunate encounter with USS Tennessee BB-43 on 23 August 1944- BB-44 and BB-43 collided, covered in the next section, "Collision with USS Tennessee (BB-43)". This section has some great damage shots of California in an ABSD (dry dock) at Espiritu Santo. 19 days later, she returned to duty, just in time for the next section- "The Battle of Surigao Strait". This battle being the final battleship duel of the war, part of the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf. After Surigao and the end of the war, California was placed into reserve and eventually scrapped "Philadelphia, drydock and reserve." 

Scans are reduced quality.
This is a great book, filled with picture from many sources- there are bound to be some you've never seen before. I highly recommend this book!

Modelwarships Logo