An engrossing compendium of high-seas military disasters
From the days of the Spanish Armada to the modern age of aircraft carriers, battles have been bungled just as badly on water as they have been on land. Some blunders were the result of insufficient planning, overinflated egos, espionage, or miscalculations; others were caused by ideas that didn't hold water in the first place. In glorious detail, here are thirty-three of history's worst maritime mishaps, including:
- The British Royal Navy's misguided attempts to play it safe during the American Revolution
- The short life and death of the Imperial Japanese Navy
- The scuttling of the Graf Spee by a far inferior force
- The sinking of the Nazi megaship Bismarck
- "Remember the Maine!"—the lies that started the Spanish-American War
- Admiral Nelson losing track of Napoleon but redeeming himself at the Nile
- The ANZAC disaster at Gallipoli
- Germany's failed WWII campaign in the North Atlantic
- Kennedy's quarantine of Cuba
Chock-full of amazing facts and hilarious trivia, How to Lose a War at Sea is the most complete volume of nautical failures ever assembled.
About the Author
Bill Fawcett is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, including You Did What?, It Seemed Like a Good Idea . . . , How to Lose a Battle, and You Said What? He lives in Illinois.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
How to Lose a War at Sea: Fool­ish Plans and Great Naval Blun­ders edited by Bill Faw­cett is a col­lec­tion of non-fiction essays. Mr. Faw­cett wrote and edited many books includ­ing sev­eral of this genre. This book is a fas­ci­nat­ing col­lec­tion of more than 30 short essays about naval war­fare and oceanic dis­as­ters. The book spans decades, there are essays rang­ing from the days of the Span­ish armada to naval blun­ders from the 1960s. The essays, some­times sad, some­times funny but often ironic detail some of the worst gaffes, mis­takes and errors to hap­pen to the navies. These sto­ries tell of ego­ma­ni­acs whose egos didn’t match real­ity, mis­cal­cu­la­tions, the effects of espi­onage and the impor­tance of plan­ning. I espe­cially liked the essays about the out­landish plans which one could imme­di­ately tell they wouldn’t work, yet they some­how got a stamp of approval. I found this book to be enter­tain­ing; I’m always amazed by bad mil­i­tary ideas (or ones which are just plain stu­pid) and how they changed his­tory. The book is not, and is not meant to be, an encom­pass­ing his­tory of these events (for those pick up a book like The Hunt for Hitler's War­ship by Patrick Bishop) but it does give one a glimpse into inter­est­ing actswhich, if you choose, you can learn more about. The book is an excel­lent choice for those inter­ested in his­tory, naval his­tory or even if you are sim­ply read­ing books in the off chance that Alex Tre­bek might call you out of the blue to be on Jeopardy.