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Book Review – Voices of the Past, The Battle of Jutland – Richard Osborne

What’s it about

Since the days of the Battle of Trafalgar, the Royal Navy had been acknowledged as the most powerful maritime force on the planet. Britain could boast more warships & particularly more Dreadnoughts & battle-cruisers than any other nation. But the Germans had undertaken an enormously-expensive ship-building programme designed to place the Kaiserliche Marine on an equal footing with the Royal Navy. Since the outbreak of war between the two nations in 1914, the British public had waited in eager anticipation for the moment when the opposing battlefleets would meet at sea. After a number of smaller engagements, major elements of the British Grand Fleet & the German High Seas Fleet, finally faced each other across the grey seas of the North Sea off Jutland. Instead of the great victory that the British expected, the result was disappointingly inconclusive, with the Grand Fleet losing more men & more ships than the Germans.

In this insightful and unique investigation into the battle, naval historian Richard Osborne draws on the words of the key players to resolve the many disputes, controversies & myths that have surrounded this battle throughout the intervening 100 years.

Our Review

Having just completed an Undergraduate Course in WW1 History I was keen to read more about this often-forgotten battle.

In reality the battle only lasted 2 days & is perhaps the reason why many WW1 publications don’t provide much information.

The Author Richard Osborne has a special interest in this topic & has been a member of the World Ship Society since the 1960s, so his passion for this topic definely shines through!

When Historic books are written not long after the event…yes, they can draw from personal accounts however sometimes obtaining official documents can be a problem as there may be a closure period. Once this closure period has ended a lot more information can often come to light. Therefore, I feel that sometimes more modern writings can benefit from this additional information.

Osborne has compiled this book having consulted official documents, newspaper reports of the day as well as using accounts of those who were there. He also details some of the disputes that arose from this battle & despite these not being resolved does give the reader a much better idea of what was actually known.

All in all, Osbourne provides a good overall account of the battle, this book is really informative & also provides a nice range of photographs & charts.

Published in 2016 this hardback book runs to 309 pages.

You can purchase copies via the Pen & Sword Website via this link


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