Book Review: Power at Sea


by Lisle A. Rose

Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 2007. . . . ISBN:

Power at Sea is a survey of the evolution and role of navies from the onset of what might be termed the “Mahanian Age” to the present. It is quite well done, and for a survey impressively comprehensive.

Rose, author of a number of other works of military and naval history, manages to integrate technology, politics and policies, and operations, at times in considerable detail, into a well written, readable package. At times, he offers some unusual insights and interpretations. For example, he demonstrates that by the outbreak of World War I the US Navy had accumulated more experience with large scale transoceanic deployments than any other. He also does a very fine job of discussing the intricacies and implications of the much misunderstood naval arms limitation treaties.

One criticism that could be offered is that Power at Sea virtually ignores the smaller navies, even the French and Italian, although some of them developed quite sophisticated solutions to their maritime problems, but this is a failing shared by most surveys of naval affairs. Still, a good book for anyone interested in naval history.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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