Aircraft Carriers

An Illustrated History of Their Impact

by Paul E. Fontenoy


No weapons system has revolutionized naval operations like the aircraft carrier. As bigger and bigger ships were developed to handle more planes with greater firepower, these extraordinary vessels evolved from auxiliary use to the mainstay of naval forward presence, transforming the tactics, technologies, and cultures of the world's major sea powers.

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Cover image for Aircraft Carriers

September 2006


Pages 407
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Military History/Military Technology and Weapons
  • Hardcover



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    Hardcover: £67.00/73,00€/A$112.00

This vivid volume describes the fascinating history of aircraft carriers, first deployed successfully in World War I by the Imperial Russian Navy, and indispensable to the Allied victory in World War II, now the strategic centerpiece of the world's most powerful navies.

From their World War I deployment in the Black Sea by the Imperial Russian Navy, to their coming of age in World War II, to their role in recent conflicts in Vietnam, the Falklands, and the Persian Gulf, Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated History of Their Impact charts the evolution of carrier systems both militarily and within broader political and diplomatic contexts.

Covering both the ships and the planes they support, this convenient, authoritative handbook offers complete descriptions of carrier systems from all of the world's major navies—from their operational histories, strategic integration, and technological advancements, to the training of aircrew, the development of carrier command leadership, and the role of carriers as deterrents and diplomatic enforcers.


  • Eighty photographs of all the important aircraft carriers from before World War I to the present, including many operated by lesser-known navies
  • A reference section providing essential physical details, basic design information, modifications, and brief service histories for 80 aircraft carriers or classes from 1912 to the present


  • Covers representative aircraft carrier systems from the world's major navies
  • Analyzes the design history of aircraft carriers within the context of contemporary technology, tactical and strategic doctrine, and national and international politics
  • Emphasizes the aircraft carrier as part of a weapons system that includes the aircraft that fly from the carrier and the fleet structure within which the carrier operates
Author Info

Paul E. Fontenoy, PhD, is curator of maritime research and technology at the North Carolina Maritime Museum, Beaufort, NC, and a visiting assistant professor in the Maritime Studies Program at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. His published works include The Sloops of the Hudson River and more than 100 articles on naval and maritime history.



"An excellent survey which will serve as a foundation title and introduction for any serious college-level military library."Midwest Book Review - Library Bookwatch

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