Book Review – ‘Wartime Standard Ships’ by Norman Friedman

By Norman Friedman, published January 2021


Standardized merchant ships, particularly the Liberties, contributed enormously both to Allied victory in the Second World War and to post-war recovery. This is the first book to gather together the emergency shipbuilding programmes of the major combatants, making it possible for the reader to contrast the different approaches taken. Author Nick Robins describes the First World War programmes, which came too late to have much impact in that war, but which educated those who had to build unprecedented numbers of ships for the next war. Here he examines the impact of wartime experience, particularly in pre-outfitting and modular construction, and on postwar merchant ship design and production. He also provides notes on the postwar fates of the standardized ships, to some extent evaluating their wartime features in light of normal peacetime operation. The post-war US attempts to turn Liberty ships into faster and more saleable freighters are covered in some detail, although it is not entirely clear why they went nowhere …

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Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

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