The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783

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Overview

Though technological advances over the last century have revolutionized warfare, The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783 remains a classic text on the history, strategy, and comprehension of commercial and military command of the high seas.

The first president of the U.S. Naval War College, Alfred Thayer Mahan demonstrates through historical examples that the rise and fall of sea power and the wealth of nations have always been linked with commercial and military command of the sea. Mahan describes successful naval strategies employed in the past--from Greek and Roman times through the Napoleonic Wars--with an intense focus on England's rise as a sea power in the eighteenth century. This book provides not only an overview of naval tactics but also a lucid exposition of geographic, economic, and social factors governing the maintenance of sea power.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589801554
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 907,517
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 2.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914) served in the Civil War and twice served as the president of the United States Naval War College, beginning shortly after the college was founded. Mahan became known as one of the leading spokesmen for the age of American imperialism. In addition to his books on the history of naval warfare, he wrote biographies of David Farragut and Horatio Nelson.
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Read an Excerpt


IN TR ODUC TOR Y. f line, his wary opponent, De Guichen, changed his tactics. In the first of their three actions the Frenchman took the lee- gage; but after recognizing Rodney's purpose he manccuvrcd for the advantage of the wind, not to attack, but to refuse action except on his own terms. The power to assume the offensive, or to refuse battle, rests no longer with the wind, but with the party which has the greater speed; which in a fleet will depend not only upon the speed of the individual ships, but also upon their tactical uniformity of action. Henceforth the ships which have the greatest speed will have the weather-gage. It is not therefore a vain expectation, as many think, to look for useful lessons in the history of sailing-ships as well as in that of galleys. Both have their points of resemblance to the modern ship ; both have also points of essential difference, which make it impossible to cite their experiences or modes of action as tactical precedents to be followed. But a precedent is different from and less valuable than a principle. The former may be originally faulty, or may cease to apply through change of circumstances; the latter has its root in the essential nature of things, and, however various its application as conditions change, remains a standard to which action must conform to attain success. War has such principles ; their existence is detected by the study of the past, which reveals them in successes and in failures, the same from age to age. Conditions and weapons change; but to cope with the one or successfully wield the others, respect must be had to these constant teachings of history in the tactics of the battlefield, or in those wider operationsof war which are comprised under the name of strategy. It is however in these wider operati...
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 15 of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 21, 2011

    Of course read it

    It is hard to write a short non-scholarly review of Admiral Mahan's master work which to this day influences US and NATO doctrine. It is a fascinating analisis of a critical historical period and led to major changes in the naval doctrines of all the major powers before WWI. Interestingly India's adoption of a "blue water" navy concept shows his influence on today's events.
    Bill

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2014

    Ethan miller a.k.a smoove

    Even knowing i havent read the book it looks neat and interesting. Plus the cover seems to have the heavy frigate u.s.constitution.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

    This is a classic that is just as valid today as it was when art

    This is a classic that is just as valid today as it was when articulated. Its thesis underlies much US foreign policy for the past 100+ years. Few expositions have survived the test of that much time.

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