Book Review: The Australian Cruiser Perth, 1939-1942


by Ian Pfenningweth

Kenthurst, N.S.W.: Rosenberg Publishing/Portland, Ore: ISBS, 2007. Pp. 263. Illus., maps, diagr., notes, biblio., index. $29.95 paper. ISBN:1877058521

Known in the U.S. primarily as the Australian ship that went down alongside the USS Houston in a gallant fight in the Sunda Strait very early on March 1, 1942 , HMAS Perth was in fact a seasoned veteran of more than two years of war, beginning operations just two months after commissioning.  But for a brief refit, Perth was almost continuously in action from the onset of World War II in September of 1939 until she was sunk. 

This volume traces Perth' s history from her origins as part of the effort to expand Australia' s naval forces in the interwar period, through her loss.  Her wartime career was impressive, routine patrol against submarines and surface raiders in the Atlantic and Caribbean , escorting convoys to Malta , fighting from the Battle of Cape Matapan to the evacuation of Crete , supporting land forces in North Africa and Syria , and, at the end in the desperate Allied attempt to stem the Japanese advance in the East Indies

In the process of telling this impressive story, the book introduces the reader to the ship's company, from her captains to many of the common seamen, providing an excellent look at a fine warship in a desperate struggle.

Reviewer: A.A. Nofi   

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