The U.S.S. Lexington (aka "the Lady Lex") was one of the earliest aircraft carriers. Originally designed as a battlecruiser, it entered service with the U.S. Navy in 1925 and helped to usher in a new type of naval warfare.
Here in "QUEEN OF THE FLAT-TOPS", Stanley Johnston, a journalist who was assigned to the Lexington in the earliest days of World War II in the Pacific, shares with the reader his experiences aboard her (based in large part on what he observed, as well as on interviews he had with various members of the crew - officers, pilots, and enlisted men) from the time the Lady Lex left Pearl Harbor to its final days in May 1942 during the Battle of the Coral Sea. This battle was in unique in that it was the first naval battle in history in which the opposing ships never fired on each other, whose outcome was wholly dependent on the weight and might of air power.
Originally published in the latter half of 1942, "QUEEN OF THE FLAT-TOPS" offers to the reader a vicarious you-are-there perspective of life aboard an American aircraft carrier at a time when odds were heavily stacked against the U.S. Navy in the Pacific War.