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The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 (Dover Military History, Weapons, Armor) Paperback – November 1, 1987
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The author clearly states the time period, 1660-1783, under study at the beginning. I would have preferred him to have started with the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English in 1588, especially since he gave so much attention to the Punic Wars.
Although written in in 1889, Mahan foreshadowed the territorial gains made during the Spanish-American War almost a decade later when he stated the need for stations in the Caribbean. However, stating that "Such colonies the U.S. has not and is not likely to have," he did not anticipate that we would retain the Philippines as a colony.
While recognizing this book focuses on sea power, I feel that Mahan should have given some details on what was happening on the ground. For example, he give no details on the capture of Quebec.
I was disappointed that there was no concluding chapter. The ending with the treaties signed at Versailles in 1783 seemed abrupt.
Mahan's work had a major influence on the shaping of nations' military force structure for decades. Teddy Roosevelt and Winston Churchill are two among many who embraced the concepts contained in the book.
Kind of fun to follow the logic of setting up a fleet of ships under wind (sail) for attack vs defense. Is there defense? Ever? What is a safe fortress at sea? Great strategically. What if the wind goes dead? Fast vs powerful? But great pictures on every page.
Think you are smart? Test how smart you are when the results rely on the cooperation of weather. No wonder history is so screwed up.
A word of warning though - the structure of the writing itself can be a slog to get through. Today's readers may be frustrated with the solid wall of text. Individual sentences can take up half a page, by the end of which you may have forgotten the initial topic.
But if you can get past that you'll find an informational read which lays out the case for the strong navy that is the cornerstone of the United States global power.
Really, this is a heck of a book that I should have read in depth many, many years ago.