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At War at Sea: Sailors and Naval Warfare in the 20th Century - SPECTOR, Ronald

Allen Lane, 2001, Hardback in Dustwrapper..
Condition: Near Fine - in Near Fine DJ.

Just under one hundred years ago, the Russian and Japanese navies were slugging it out at the Battle of Tsushima; in late 2001 the American and British navies were gathered in the Gulf raining cruise missiles down on Afghanistan. As an example of just how much naval warfare has changed in the past century, it couldn't be bettered; from bombarding one another with 12-inch shells, the modern battleship has become a hi-tech resource most usually deployed against targets on land or in the air. Ronald Spector is a history professor at George Washington University in the United States, and so it comes as little surprise that he has a tendency to view the world with an American bias. Each chapter of this book details a key naval battle that influenced the way in which war at sea was fought, most of which happen to have involved the US. We start with the Battle of Tsushima, before moving on to Jutland, the principal engagement of the First World War, but a few Second World War episodes apart, the focus remains largely on the American involvement; for instance the Falklands crisis is passed off in just over a page, the same amount of space accorded to the shooting down of a civilian aircraft by the USS Vincennes. Not that the book is any the worse for this, as Spector's central thesis of the changing technological and strategic values of the navy remains persuasive; it's just that British readers may have difficulties recalling the finer points of US naval actions in the Vietnam War. Spector, though, is an engaging historian, not least because he is acutely aware that regardless of the sophistication of the hardware, there is always room for human error. In the1990s the Vincennes incident was caused by critical errors, and the century has already got off to a bad start with a civilian target in Afghanistan having been taken out through someone mistyping the co-ordinates. 440pp. Size: 8vo Royal (9¾" x 6¼")
ISBN: 0713996013

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