Postcards from the Jeune Ecole:
French Battleships, Cruisers and Torpedo Destroyers in Postcards from 1878 to 1910

by Chris Meddings
Inside the Armour Publications

Reviewed by Devin Poore, November 2021


Jeune Ecole, or "Young Navy", was a concept of the 19th century which posited that a naval force of many smaller combatants would be able to overwhelm a force or larger and heavier gunned, but slower, opponents. The French navy was one of the leading proponents of this theory. This book is a collection of the postcards of that era.

Printed on heavy gauge, semi-gloss A5 sized paper, the book is 114 pages. The quality of the materials and construction of the book is outstanding, a high-quality product. The book is broken into five sections covering many ships of the pre-dreadnought era in the French navy: torpedo boats and destroyer and other small craft, cruisers, battleships, coastal defense battleships, with the final section dedicated to various onboard scenes of the crew. 

There is a brief introduction to the book, and one or two sentence descriptions of each photo, both in French and English, but this is truly a photo book. Images of postcards from the era are beautifully reproduced and fill each page. These are all images of actual postcards, no reproductions, with many of them showing stamps, post marks, and messages and annotations made by the sender. All of the photos are extremely clear, sharp, and well chosen for their subject matter. While this isn't technically a reference book for model makers, there are quite a few shots that do show close-up details.

click images
to enlarge
This is one beautiful book. From the quality of the materials and presentation, to the reproduction of the photos within, this is one of the nicer printed products I've bought in some time. Were it a larger format, one would consider it a high quality coffee-table book; due to its size, maybe it's a side-table book? Regardless, it's an impressive work of art, and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the wild designs of the French navy during the covered time period, or those that are simply fans of cool books. 

Highly Recommended. This review copy is courtesy of my habit of buying really cool books for myself.