A Visual Tour of Battleship USS New Jersey Book Review

A Visual Tour of Battleship USS New Jersey, The Design of Iowa-Class Battleships Vol. 1

By John M. Miano

Hardcover, 302 pages, appendices, bibliography

Self-Published, copyright 2021 by John M. Miano

Language: English

ISBN-10: ‎098998043X

ISBN-13: ‎978-0989980432

Dimensions: ‎11.0 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches

Author John Miano has rare, perhaps even unique, access to the USS New Jersey (BB-62) as a museum ship as well as the drawings and blueprints of her which are archived there.  He has used this access to enter and photograph a vast number of her interior spaces, many of which are not open to the public.  In fact, several of the spaces he has photographed were not routinely entered by the crew when the ship was active so there are some really unusual and out-of-the-way areas shown in this book.

The book is organized by deck and each chapter begins with a labeled line drawing identifying each space by name.  Then the author proceeds through the deck, photographing representative spaces.  Captions are extensive, detailing what is shown in the photographs along with any interesting history and technical descriptions of the equipment shown so the reader knows exactly what they are looking at.  These are supplemented with pictures taken when the ship was active which helps explain how the equipment was used operationally or shows a previous configuration.  The Main Battery turrets, Engine Room #2 and Fire Room #2 are handled as separate chapters.  The topside views will be of most interest to modelers, and many are viewed from unusual perspectives.

Being self-published, the paper quality could be improved, and there are some captions which would benefit from the attentions of an editor.  However, these are minor points given the extensive coverage and amount of technical detail in the captions.

As a young Ensign I cross-decked to the New Jersey for a month in October 1985, and served aboard USS Missouri (BB-63) until 1989.  There are many photographs of areas I knew well, even accounting for the inevitable differences between sister ships.  Many other photographs are of spaces I never entered, being outside of my responsibilities.  Several are spaces which were only entered for inspection purposes while the ships were in service, but show some interesting detail of the ship’s construction or armor layout.  A must-have book for the battleship enthusiast, recommended.