Poolman, Kenneth 1924-

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POOLMAN, Kenneth 1924-

PERSONAL: Born 1924, in England. Education: Attended Cambridge University.


ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Naval Institute Press, 2062 Generals Highway, Annapolis, MD 21401-6780.


CAREER: Writer and historian. Military service: Served in British Royal Navy.


WRITINGS:

The Kelly, foreword by Earl Mountbatten of Burma, W. Kimber (London, England), 1954.

The Battle of Sixty North, Cassell (London, England), 1958.

Zeppelins over England, foreword by Sir John Slessor, Evans Bros. (London, England), 1960.

Zeppelins against London, John Day (New York, NY), 1960.

Flying Boat: The Story of the Sunderland, W. Kimber (London, England), 1962.

The Catafighters and Merchant Aircraft Carriers, W. Kimber (London, England), 1970.

Escort Carrier, 1941-1945: An Account of BritishEscort Carriers in Trade Protection, Allan (London, England), 1972.
Scourge of the Atlantic: Focke-Wulf Condor, Mac-donald & Jane's (London, England), 1978.

Night Strike from Malta: 830 Squadron R.N. &Rommel's Convoys, Jane's Publishing (London, England), 1980.

Periscope Depth: Submarines at War, W. Kimber (London, England), 1981.

The Sea Hunters: Escort Carriers v. U-boats, 1941-1945, Arms & Armour Press (London, England), 1982.

Escort Carrier: HMS Vindex at War, Secker & Warburg, (London, England), 1983.

Armed Merchant Cruisers, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1985.
Allied Escort Carriers of World War Two in Action, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1988.

Escort Carriers of World War Two, Arms & Armour Press (London, England), 1989.

The British Sailor, Arms & Armour Press (London, England), 1989.

Allied Submarines of World War Two, Arms & Armour Press (London, England), 1990.

The Winning Edge: Naval Technology in Action, 1939-1945, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1997.

The Speedwell Voyage: A Tale of Piracy and Mutiny in the Eighteenth Century, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1999.


SIDELIGHTS: Writer and naval historian Kenneth Poolman's many books focus on naval history and the military history of the seas, particularly during World War II. Poolman has written on craft such as submarines and zeppelins. He has also written books on particular ships, squadrons, and battles. A former officer in the British Royal Navy on escort service, Poolman explores issues and technology related to escort ships in the Pacific and elsewhere.


In The Speedwell Voyage: A Tale of Piracy and Mutiny in the Eighteenth Century, Poolman relates the story of two privateering vessels in the Pacific. The Speedwell, captained by George Shevlocke, and the Success, headed by John Clipperton, sailed as privateers during the Anglo-Spanish War of 1718 to 1720. Shevlocke's journey was not an easy one: "He survived storms, starvation, Spanish warships, shipwreck, and a sullen and disobedient crew, who twice broke out into actual mutiny" during the voyage, wrote Peter Earle in the Times Literary Supplement. The second mutiny led to the establishment of a "seamen's soviet" in which "the sailors had equal shares and an equal vote in decision-making," Earle remarked. Shevlocke also describes the shooting of an albatross, an episode that would serve as inspiration for Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Poolman based his account on two books from the time period: one by Shevlocke and the other by William Betagh, one of Shevlocke's officers who had access to a journal kept by a mate on the Success. Though the original account of the Speedwell "is hardly to the modern taste, Kenneth Poolman can be congratulated on reworking it into this entertaining maritime tale," Earle concluded.


The Winning Edge: Naval Technology in Action, 1939-1945 "provides a long overdue look at specific naval technology" in use during the World War II era, commented Russell I. Fries in Technology and Culture. The book emphasizes European naval technology over American, Fries remarked. Poolman includes a detailed discussion of "the development of a variety of naval sensor and weapon systems and analyzes their use during the war at sea," added Thomas Mahnken in the Naval War College Review. In response to German attacks against Allied supply lines, the Allies adopted new technologies such as sonar, radar, antisubmarine mortars, rockets, and high-frequency direction-finding. Mahnken remarked that the technological explanations are sometimes "terse to the point of confusion," and Fries saw too little discussion of the interaction between the scientists who made the weapons and the military personnel who used them. However, Poolman's book "demonstrates his mastery of naval technology," Mahnken commented. Fries concluded that "the insights gained on use of technology more than outweighed any organization problems, and I would add this book to my library unreservedly."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Naval War College Review, winter, 1999, Thomas Mahnken, review of The Winning Edge: Naval Technology in Action, 1939-1945.

Technology and Culture, July, 1999, Russell I. Fries, review of The Winning Edge.

Times Literary Supplement, October 29, 1999, Peter Earle, review of The Speedwell Voyage: A Tale of Piracy and Mutiny in the Eighteenth Century, p. 32.*

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