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Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet (Bluejacket Books) Reprint Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1557509727
ISBN-10: 1557509727
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Reckner teaches military history and directs the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.
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Product Details

  • Series: Bluejacket Books
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; Reprint edition (March 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557509727
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557509727
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,562,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
James Reckner, a professor of history at Texas Tech University and a former officer in the United States Navy, examines the around-the-world cruise of the U.S. Navy's Atlantic Battleship Fleet in. Using government documents, newspapers, unpublished manuscripts, and a wide variety of secondary sources, Reckner argues that the logistical and diplomatic accomplishments of the Great White Fleet's cruise, which sailed the world from December 1907 to February 1909, remained a decisive factor in testing the capabilities of the U.S. Navy. The author suggests that historians have mistakenly emphasized the fleet's effect on diplomacy without considering the technical aspect of the fleet's voyage. Reckner asserts that the need to test the fleet proved the overriding consideration behind the Navy Department's decision to conduct the cruise. He highlights the significance of the cruise by repeatedly pointing out the number of obstacles facing early twentieth-century vessels, specifically that battleships of the period were far less reliable than modern warships. Reckner argues the Great White Fleet proved an influential cause behind the U.S. Navy's re-examination of its organization and battleship design during the world's unprecedented naval expansion prior to World War I. Reckner examines the state of naval affairs at the turn of the century and how it influenced a change in American naval policy during the Roosevelt administration. He traces the fleet's voyage of sixteen battleships and over 14,000 men as they departed from Hampton Roads, Virginia and sailed down the coast of South America, up the West Coast, only to pause for several weeks in San Francisco Harbor. While at California, naval officials reorganized the fleet and the ships got underway to cross the Pacific.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James Reckner's "Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet" is an excellent, short, readable history of the Great White Fleet's voyage around the world in 1907-09. Reckner gives a detailed but not tedious account of the sixteen battleships as they traveled from Hampton Roads, Virginia, around Cape Horn, up to San Francisco, across the Pacific, and then home via the Suez Canal and Mediterranean.

In addition to the narrative of the Great White Fleet's journey, Reckner places this journey into the context of both the geopolitical struggles as the United States struggled to emerge as a world power and the political struggles as the United States Navy attempted to reform. However, in doing so, Reckner is careful not to overstate the fleet's importance - an unusual course for an author, because they usually feel compelled to overstate their subject matter's importance to justify they attention that they devote to it.

Although this is an excellent book, it would have benefited from at least one map showing the fleet's journey. Also, the author missed a couple of opportunities to educate the reader about the early twentieth century Navy and the customs of the Navy (such as the cannon salutes to colors). Although I am not a huge fan of social history, I would like to have known more about the sailors in the fleet and the actual operation of those battleships.

Ultimately, this is an excellent, concise history of this historic voyage. Reckner admirably recounts the history of the Great White Fleet and its impact on American and international history. I recommend this book to anyone interested in American military history or naval history.
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Format: Paperback
This is an interesting book that is aimed at those interested in naval history, particularly the naval history of the US. It is a detailed account of the round the world voyage of the US "Great White" fleet, from December 1917 to February 1919. It discusses the voyage, the stops that the ships made and the reasons why TR sent the fleet on this voyage, namely:
· as a fleet exercise to improve the fleet's readiness and capabilities
· to demonstrate the its ability to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific and arrive ready to fight
· demonstrate to the Japanese that the US was prepared to defend its Pacific territories and commitments in that part of the world
· to illustrate the need for the Panama Canal, which was under construction
· to demonstrate to the people of the US and the rest of the world that the US had arrived as a world power

Most of the book is spend on the details of the trip and the ports that were visited. I feel that the book is to be of most interest to those with a specific interest in naval affairs as opposed to a general audience.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic book. A great uncle sales on the USS Kentucky. He was killed on the USS Vermont in 1910
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