cover image Tin Cans and Greyhounds: The Destroyers That Won Two World Wars

Tin Cans and Greyhounds: The Destroyers That Won Two World Wars

Clint Johnson. Regnery History, $29.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-62157-647-1

Civil War historian Johnson (A Vast and Fiendish Plot) turns his attention to naval warfare in this enjoyable history of destroyer class warships, which formed the backbone of most 20th-century navies and made immense contributions to victory in WWI and WWII. Drawing primarily on secondary sources, Johnson recounts memorable sea battles in which destroyers played prominent roles. The first part of the book covers the development of destroyer-type warships—fast and comparatively easy-to-maneuver naval vessels originally used to protect larger battleships from torpedo boats—before WWI, WWI actions, and the advances in destroyers during the interwar years. More than two-thirds of the book is focused on destroyer operations in WWII. Though German, Japanese, British, and American destroyers are all addressed, the major focus of the narrative is on the experiences of U.S. Navy destroyers (such as the USS Leary, the first to be equipped with radar and the first to be sunk by a Gnat torpedo), and the Mediterranean theater is curiously ignored altogether. This work isn’t for historians; it’s more of a well-written and nontechnical introduction to the subject for readers unfamiliar with naval operations in WWII and in general. (Feb.)