This People's Navy: The Making of American Sea Power

Kenneth J. Hagan, Author Free Press $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-02-913470-2
Hagan, a professor of history at the U.S. Naval Academy, here ably traces the military, political and technological evolution of the Navy from the days of sail into the nuclear era, and reveals how the Gorbachev administration has called into question the premises of U.S. naval policy and strategy. He describes how the writings of Alfred Thayer Mahan (whose doctrines he considers outdated), combined with geopolitical realignments around the turn of the century, led to the Navy's transformation from a modest hit-and-run unit to a capital-ship force whose mission is to command the seas through decisive engagements between battlefleets. In the latter part of the study, the author analyzes the influences of three figures in the reshaping of the modern Navy: Admiral Hyman Rickover and the creation of the nuclear-powered navy; Admiral Elmo Zumwalt's attempt to reduce the large number of expensive ships; and Navy Secretary John Lehman's reinforcement of Mahanian doctrine with his ``carrier as panacea'' views. Hagan argues that ``the American destiny is rooted in continental North America, and that political concerns with the transoceanic world are fundamentally marginal.'' (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Paperback - 468 pages - 978-0-02-913471-9
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