Influential classic of naval history and tactics still used as text in war colleges. Read by Kaiser Wilhelm, both Roosevelts, other leaders. First paperback edition. 4 maps. 24 battle plans.
Mahan shows how nations thrived or declined during the 17th and 18th centuries through prudent or imprudent application of naval power. He contends France, Holland, Spain, et al. prospered until they allowed their naval power to dissipate. Meanwhile, Britain became mistress of the seas. British colonies provided raw materials for her industries, while her armed fleet insured uninterrupted commerce. He equates Britain's loss of her American colonies with inappropriate deployment of her fleet, contrasted with France's skilled strategic use of her own. This section will interest readers of American history schooled only on Washington's land campaign at Yorktown.
Mahan's book has had a tremendous impact on history. It unquestionably shaped the imperialistic policies of pre-World War I and pre-World War II Germany and Japan respectively. Students trying to ascertain why leaders of those nations acted as they did should read this work.
The elements of sea power are the same today as in 1900 when this book was first published. With a world economy as interdependent as today's, Mahan's principles are as valid as they were in the 1600's and 1700's, perhaps even more so. German war philosopher, Carl von Clausewitz's classic treatise, "On War," is considered a must read for every Army officer. Mahan's work is to the sea-battle as von Clausewitz's is to the land. Historians, military strategists, and architects of America's foreign, economic and national security policies should read this important work to gain insights on the necessity of protecting vital and vulnerable sea lines of communications worldwide.
An excellent read, a great general history book, and very lucid explanations, easy for the layman. If you enjoy history you'll enjoy this.