AT WAR AT SEA: Sailors and Naval Warfare in the Twentieth Century

Ronald H. Spector, Author AT WAR AT SEA: Sailors and Naval Warfare in the Twentieth C $27.95 (463p) ISBN 978-0-670-86085-2

Spector (Eagle Against the Sun; After Tet) has penned a fascinating account of naval combat from the 1905 engagement between Russia and Japan at Tsushima to the modern actions in the Persian Gulf. This is not just another blow-by-blow narrative of sea battles in the 20th century. Rather, Spector intertwines the rapid advancement of technology and the corresponding effects on strategy and tactics of naval combat. He delves into the manpower question and how the great maritime powers trained their sailors and educated their officers. Accounts of classic naval battles—Jutland (1916), Midway and Crete (1942), the Marianas (1944), among others—are interspersed with incisive examinations of how opposing commanders both handled and mishandled their fleets. Using dozens of unpublished letters, diaries and reports, Spector also deftly interweaves the stories of the sailors who manned the ships. The reader can better understand harried British seamen as they undergo constant attacks by German Stuka dive-bombers off Crete in 1942, and learn that the crew of one American destroyer off Okinawa in 1945, fed up with kamikaze attacks, painted a sign with an arrow pointing the way to their own aircraft carriers. Cramped living conditions and bland food, it seems, were common concerns of sailors worldwide. This book is naval history at its best, combining classic "drums and trumpets" narrative with groundbreaking analytical commentary. Maps and photos. (May 7)

Reviewed on: 03/26/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-14-024601-8
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