by Stephen R. Taaffe
Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2009. Pp. xvii, 324.
Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $37.95. ISBN:1591148553
Commanding Lincoln's Navy can be seen as a history of
naval operations in the Civil War viewed through the actions and experiences of its senior personnel, both civilian and naval.
In the process of discussing the actions, character, and background of these men, warts and all, Prof. Taaffe (
) tells us a great deal about the institutional culture of the service, the character of the officer corps, the evolution of naval technology and its impact on operations, the development of strategy and course of the war. Naturally, Taafe devotes less attention to the Confederate side, but is sufficient to give the reader an understanding of how developments in the Rebel camp affected Union decision making and operations.
An important read for anyone interested in the Civil War