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The Influence of Sea Power

Alfred Thayer Mahan

Book Overview: 

The Influence of Sea Power Upon History: 1660–1783 is a history of naval warfare written in 1890 by Alfred Thayer Mahan. It details the role of sea power during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and discusses the various factors needed to support and achieve sea power, with emphasis on having the largest and most powerful fleet. Scholars consider it the single most influential book in naval strategy. - Summary by Wikipedia

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ca began that extension of her empire, by force of arms, which has gone on to our own days. Nor were equally strong peaceful measures for the growth of English trade and shipping forgotten. Cromwell's celebrated Navigation Act declared that all imports into England or her colonies must be conveyed exclusively in vessels belonging to England herself, or to the country in which the products carried were grown or manufactured. This decree, aimed specially at the Dutch, the common carriers of Europe, was resented throughout the commercial world; but the benefit to England, in those days of national strife and animosity, was so apparent that it lasted long under the monarchy. A century and a quarter later we find Nelson, before his famous career had begun, showing his zeal for the welfare of England's shipping by enforcing this same act in the West Indies against American merchant-ships. When Cromwell was dead, and Charles II. sat on the throne of his father, this king, false. . . Read More

Community Reviews

You could easily write a recursive book about the influence of The Influence of Sea Power Upon History upon history. Mahan wanted to show that navies decided wars, even between land powers, and many powerful and influential people listened. In the list of influential works on strategy it is probably

For decades, I've been wanting to read this book. Mahan seems to me to be, in naval circles at least, one of those authors and thinkers oft referenced but seldom read, not unlike many Greek philosophers. I'd see him often referred to in naval professional journals like "Proceedings" and in site like

A monster of a book.
Huge profound research of the development of a fleet. How naval battles shaped the history and the decisions of a government on how to use or not use the fleet left marks on the countries' future. Sometimes it felt patchy, I felt I needed more economic predispositions behind many

Mahan är en av de där tänkarna som man som samhällsvetare har hört talas om ofta, men undvikt, av fruktan att inte förstå allt. Som samhällsvetare kan jag konstatera att denna fruktan är befogad. De flottslagsbeskrivningar som utgör väl en tiondel av boken är implikationstyngda, och de implikationer

It can be argued that Adm. Alfred Thayer Mahan’s (At the time of original publication Mahan was a Captain) the Influence of Sea Power upon History was and perhaps remains, the single most influential book ever written by an American. It was written for the purpose of changing American attitudes towa

In 1890 Mahan, published this book while President of the US Naval War College, about the importance of navies on historical land campaigns and wars. His theory of the necessity of capital ships convinced both President Roosevelts, the German navy and the Japanese navy, changing the build up and dis

It is not often that one can credibly claim to read a book that started a world war. Granted, Germany would have sought her "place in the sun" if Admiral Mahan had never been born; however, the race to match the British in capital ships ignited in Germany by "Influence" strained Anglo-German relatio

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