Sir John Fisher's Naval Revolution

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Editorial Reviews

American Neptune
This is a superb, scholarly study. . . . Lambert provides a brilliant, incisive insight into the challenges of naval force development in a period of rapid change. . . . The tools of the trade that Lambert uses to construct his analysis are his remarkable-one might even say awesome-research, an interpretive skill that allows him to reconcile divergent threads that previous historians have been unable to knit together, and a competent narrative style.
College Review
This is a very good book and a very important one. . . . Lambert's command of the primary sources is remarkable. . . . His treatment not only lays bare the superficial nature of much previous historical research in this era but also indicates the degree to which that superficiality has caused our understanding of the period to be profoundly flawed.
Journal of Military History
This excellent book challenges most of the traditional interpretations of British naval policy in the period before the Great War . . . a masterful piece of historical dissection, beautifully structured and written with real elegance . . . this is quite a splendid book and one that it is hard to recommend too highly.
This extraordinary book examines the radical and multi-faceted solution to the problem of British naval defense in the early 20th century devised by Admiral Sir John Fisher. . . . [Lambert's] study is based upon an intensive investigation of archival sources that surpasses all previous work on the Royal Navy in the steam era.
Explores the intrigue and negotiations between the British Navy and leading domestic reformers of the day, and their struggles over naval strategy, finance, and social reforms, focusing on the role of Admiral Sir John Fisher, the service head of the Admiralty from 1904 to 1910. Demonstrates the Fisher was appointed to his post because he was prepared to cut naval spending, and shows how he adopted a radically new approach to naval defense. Includes b&w historical photos. Lambert has held fellowships at Yale University, Wolfson College, Oxford, and Southampton University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570034923
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Series: Studies in Maritime History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 428
  • Sales rank: 1,138,211
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Ch. 1 The Price of Naval Supremacy 15
Ch. 2 Complexity and Duplicity: The Admiralty and the Submarine, 1898-1904 38
Ch. 3 Radical Jack Fisher, 1899-1904 73
Ch. 4 Necessary Reforms, 1904-1905 97
Ch. 5 Defending British Naval Supremacy, 1905-1908 127
Ch. 6 Illusions and Realities: Naval Strategic Planning, 1905-1909 165
Ch. 7 Aberrations: The Grand Fleet of Battle, 1910-1912 199
Ch. 8 The Churchill Administration, 1911-1913 235
Ch. 9 The Revolution, 1913-1914 274
App. 1 305
App. 2 306
App. 3 307
App. 4 309
App. 5 311
App. 6 312
Notes 313
Selected Bibliography 397
Index 407
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Interviews & Essays

Winner of the Society for Military History's 2000 Distinguished Book Award

For most of the twentieth century, historians thought that British naval policy was driven by the Anglo-German arms race. After examining a prodigious quantity of primary sources, Nicholas A. Lambert concludes that Admiralty decision-making was in fact driven by factors totally unrelated to the German building program. Sir John Fisher's Naval Revolution explores the intrigue and negotiations between the Admiralty and leading domestic reformers of the day, such as Herbert H. Asquith, David Lloyd George, and Winston Churchill, and shows how the politicians regarded the issues of naval strategy and finance as central to the success of their proposed social reforms. Lambert also explains how Great Britain's naval leaders responded to these challenges under the direction of Admiral Sir John Fisher, the service head of the Admiralty from 1904 to 1910.

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