The U.S. Navy's Sumner-Gearing-class destroyers served as a standard for post-World War II destroyer design and development. Their evolution over the course of nearly forty years and three wars is fully covered in this handsomely illustrated book. Robert Sumrall traces the origins of these destroyers through half a century of changing naval technology, showing the great advances made in ordnance, fire control, and steam engineering.
As the author makes clear, the class was as much a product of world events as of bureaucratic decisions. The Sumners and their long-hulled sisters, the Gearings, were designed and built in the midst of the Second World War and adapted and modernized during the Cold War. Using an extensive and impressive source list, Sumrall describes the ships as they were first completed and in later variations into the 1970s, when these aging warships continued to play a role in the destroyer force. Examples of both classes were in service in other navies around the world as late as 1994.