To Master the Boundless Sea: The U.S. Navy, the Marine Environment, and the Cartography of Empire

To Master the Boundless Sea: The U.S. Navy, the Marine Environment, and the Cartography of Empire

by Jason W. Smith

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469640457
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 04/13/2018
Series: Flows, Migrations, and Exchanges
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 280
File size: 23 MB
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About the Author

Jason W. Smith is assistant professor of history at Southern Connecticut State University.

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From the Publisher

Jason Smith adds the ocean itself to naval history, revealing the tight yet underappreciated connection between American sea power and knowledge of the ocean throughout the U.S. Navy's 19th and 20th-century history. Long before submarine warfare and beach landings drew the navy into a strong partnership with oceanography, the navy pursued science of the sea and employed technologies to investigate, represent, and attempt to control the ocean. Knowing the ocean played an integral role in the navy's support of commerce and maritime enterprise in the 19th century, and continued at the turn of the century to provide a critical foundation for emerging military and strategic interests. Alfred Thayer Mahan's famous theory of sea power, long recognized for shaping the expansionist American empire, rested on the notion that the ocean environment could be controlled strategically. By putting the ocean at the center of this history and featuring the work of often invisible hydrographers and surveyors, Smith has prompted a reevaluation of the role of science in the US navy and the contribution of knowledge of the ocean to American expansion."—Helen Rozwadowski, University of Connecticut

This is an impressive and original piece of scholarship, and I applaud the ambition. I don't know of any other work like it.--Kurk Dorsey, University of New Hampshire

Smith splices together, in a remarkably cogent and concise manner, a vast array of disparate genres recording the American maritime experience in the nineteenth century and offers an important corrective to how we define not just maritime history and nineteenth-century science, but also Americans' very experience venturing afield.--Matthew McKenzie, University of Connecticut

This dramatic study of the scientific and cartographic currents that underlay American dominance on the world's oceans brings innovative perspectives and vivid prose to the environmental history of naval operations. Jason Smith describes how the U.S. Navy gradually came to understand the ecology of the oceans, despite the fact that the Navy's leadership often neglected the emerging science. This important study will appeal to both military and environmental historians, as well as the broader public interested in the global reach of American power."—Richard Tucker, University of Michigan

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