The technology and the objective facts of battle matter here, and he cares about them and explains them very well, though with less engineering detail than Bean (what did you really expect…) But it’s clear this book is written from a very different place than Naval Gazing. I also want to point out two things the book drove home in a way my previous reading hadn’t.First, the importance of good communication (and the number of times combatants, particularly the British, didn’t have it.) Seriously.(Really, this needs a plot in CIC.) Now the thing is: this doesn’t matter.I don’t really need to know the exact position of every ship; I need to have an idea of the range, and which side is trying to hold it open or close. After reading his account of Jutland, I really couldn’t tell you where Horns Reef is…but I get that it was a path back to the Jade, that both sides knew this, and that Jellicoe tried to cover it but wasn’t sure of the relative position.
This is a story about a series of WW1 naval leaders and what they did with their ships.
Really,that’s enough, but it’s frustrating that Massie goes to such lengths to tell me these things I can’t follow. Reading David Weber, I tend to gloss over long descriptions of engagement geometry, because again, I only really care if Honor wants to close or not and the timescale of the engagement . Recommended if: If you hang out in this comment section, I expect you know already if battleships are of interest to you in general. You’ll get more color; you’ll learn quite a bit of detail about naval personalities, and for extra points you get a fairly good account of Gallipoli.
 Also because Weber occasionally gets things egregiously wrong.
This trend continues throughout: we get long sketches of Jellicoe and Prince Louis and Beatty, among others, and they’re often very interesting features.
It’s a bit arbitrary who gets a profile and who doesn’t; we see an extended piece on von Spee but little by comparison on Hipper and Scheer. It’s a bit surprising, compared to some history books, how openly he takes sides.
There’s relatively little technology–some discussions of coal vs oil, the importance of damage control and gun directors, and a surprisingly long section of submarines–but this is mostly about Churchill and Jellicoe and Fisher and their German counterparts and how they decided what to do.