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A Naval History of World War I First Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0870212666
ISBN-10: 0870212664
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 591 pages
  • Publisher: US Naval Institute Press; First edition (March 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870212664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870212666
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,890,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John A. Kuczma on June 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
With this volume, Paul Halpern has performed an invaluable service to all those interested in the Naval aspects of The Great War.
Unlike most other treatments of World War I at sea, Mr Halpern does not succumb to the temptation to concentrate on the Battle of Jutland and submarine warfare in and around the British Isles to the exclusion of all other theaters.
The book includes a refreshingly detailed examination of cruiser warfare, mine warfare, riverine warfare and the first halting steps of the various Fleet Air Arms. Conflict is detailed in the Pacific, the Mediterranean, the Adriatic, the Baltic, the Black Sea, on the Danube River and in many other generally ignored locations.
Additionally, the usually irritating and occasionally disastrous effects of political considerations are also brought to light. The intricate and frequently ignored cause-and-effect relationship of one theater to another is carefully included in the narrative.
Perhaps the most laudible aspect of this volume is the Mr. Halpern manages to include all of these diverse facets of the naval conflict without becoming bogged down in minutia or losing sight of the "big picture." Although much detailed information is presented and many obscure considerations revealed, the author maintains a focussed and methodical pace of delivery that holds the reader's interest from beginning to end.
This book is an indispensable asset for anyone interested in a treatment of the Naval History of the First World War that remembers that there are more to the world's great waterways than the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. Very highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the best analysis of WWI naval warfare ever written. Mr Halpern has written a fascinating text describing the main guidelines of the naval aspects of this conflict. Do not expect shot by shot descriptions of the battles, this book deals with the reasons leading to the different battles and their consequences and should be considered essential reading for anybody interested in World War I or Naval History.
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Format: Hardcover
Traditionally studies of the naval battles of the First World War have focused primarily on the non-event of the confrontation between the British and German battle fleets in the North Sea. While relevant in the context of the tensions that led to war and important for several reasons, such predominance creates a distorted impression of the war at sea as being one that was mainly fought between fleets of dreadnoughts around the waters off Great Britain. In fact, the naval history of the First World War is one that well justifies the title of the conflict overall, as ships of the various sides fought each other in critical struggles across every part of the globe.

In this respect, Paul Halpern is the ideal person to write an overall history of the conflict at sea. A longtime naval historian of the era, he approaches the subject from his earlier work studying the First World War in the Mediterranean, a long-overlooked front that engaged many navies not traditionally covered in histories of the war. This equips him with a background and perspective that is perfectly suited for a broader study of the naval history of the war, one that he displays on nearly every page. Beginning with a short survey of the navies of the major powers, he goes on to discuss the exciting pursuits of the first months of the war before taking the reader on a tour of the many neglected fronts, from the Black Sea to the Danube River. To accomplish this, he draws upon his own considerable work as well as many of the often-neglected official histories and memoirs, many of which require the surmounting of numerous language barriers.
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Format: Paperback
This book covers the entire range of naval warfare during The Great War, including many arenas not normally considered important. While most histories concentrate on the British struggles with the German Imperial Navy in the North Sea, Halpern broadens his scope to include all of the basic naval events. He writes that "this was indeed a world war, and naval operations took place throughout the world and were conducted by many navies" (p. xi). He includes chapters on the submarine aspect of the war, the air war against the submarines, and the major battles like Jutland and the Dardenelles.

I was particularly surprised to read about the claim for Russian naval superiority in the Black Sea region, since I had previously assumed that the Germans and British were dominant everywhere, from the North Sea to their colonial battles in the Atlantic and the Pacific. Russian amphibious operations in 1916 were uniformly successful, although "there is no comparison between the problems the Russians faced and the fierce resistance the Allies met when they landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula" (p. 245). But revolution and subsequent civil war at home brought an end to major Russian involvement in the war, including their naval operations.

According to Halpern, Gallipoli itself, arguably the most famous failed amphibious operation in world history, was actually not due to the failure of British submarines to sink opposing vessels, as some have speculated. Instead he insists that their "exploits...were...the proudest and most successful aspect of the Dardenelles campaign" (p. 119), and that it was the determined Turkish resistance that led to disaster and the fall of the British First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill.
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