Sino-Japanese Naval War 1894-1895
I enjoy looking at and reading about early military steam ships that participated in conflicts prior to WWII, such as the Spanish-American War or even the US Civil War. So when I saw this book up for review, I knew I had to read it.
Piotr Olender’s book on the Sino-Japanese Naval War qualifies as an eclectic subject. I’m not sure there are any model kits that feature ships from this war, though there are kits of ships from this general era. That’s where this book really shines. It covers, in detail, nearly all of the ships from both sides that took part in this war. Additionally, if features period photographs and has some excellent line drawings.
Where the text of some books of this type can be very dry and hard to read, this one is just the opposite. It’s very engaging, and even though the author does supply plenty of dry info in the form of tables and lists, he also tells a good story with the rest of his text.
For example, the Japanese and Chinese had very different approaches to fighting a naval war. The Japanese had adopted many Western strategies and technology, whereas the Chinese were still very much mired in the dynastic mindset of the past. Each side had an imperial family, but the Japanese had more control over theirs. In fact, a contributing factor to the Chinese loss of the war was that money which could have gone into military technology instead went into building one of the imperial princesses a castle that looked like a ship!
The photographs tell an interesting tale as well. Apart from the period photos of steam ships, there are pictures of the military on each side. In the case of the Japanese, they had adopted a very Western uniform and bearing; the Chinese military remained in traditional garments made from embroidered silk.
All in all, if you’re interested in the less well-known parts of military history, this is an excellent addition to a library. I can heartily recommend it.
My thanks to MMP Books for providing this book for review and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it.