A roadmap for US military innovation based on the Navy’s history of success through civilian-military collaborations
The US military must continually adapt to evolving technologies, shifting adversaries, and a changing social environment for its personnel. In American Defense Reform, Dave Oliver and Anand Toprani use US naval history as a guide for leading successful change in the Pentagon.
American Defense Reform provides a historical analysis of the Navy during four key periods of disruptive transformation: the 1940s Revolt of the Admirals, the McNamara Revolution in systems analysis, the fallout from the Vietnam War, and the end of the Cold War. The authors draw insights from historical documents, previously unpublished interviews from four-star admirals, and Oliver’s own experiences as a senior naval officer and defense industry executive. They show that Congress alone cannot effectively create change and reveal barriers to applying the experience of the private sector to the public sector
Ultimately, Oliver and Toprani show that change can only come from a collaborative effort between civilians, the military, and industry, each making vital contributions. American Defense Reform provides insights and practical recommendations essential to reforming national defense to meet future demands.
Chronicles the role of the East Gulf Blockading Squadron as an important Federal contingent in Florida.
"[Buker] argues that the presence of Union sailors and their extensive contacts ashore did serious damage to home-front morale and retarded Florida's value as a component of the rebel war machine. Since the state's long coastlines made it a ready target for a naval cordon, its commercial life suffered beginning in 1861 and deteriorated even further as the war progressed despite the efforts of blockade runners. Florida Unionists, antiwar natives, and runaway slaves flocked to these Federal warships to seek protection and quickly became a source of manpower for their crews as well as for land forces."
—Journal of Southern History
"The proliferation of publications concerning the American Civil War occasionally produces one that really contributes to our understanding of that conflict. George E. Buker’s Blockaders, Refugees, and Contrabands is such a book."
—Journal of American History
During the seventeenth century, sea raiders known as buccaneers controlled the Caribbean. Buccaneers were not pirates but privateers, licensed to attack the Spanish by the governments of England, France, and Holland. Jon Latimer charts the exploits of these men who followed few rules as they forged new empires.
Lacking effective naval power, the English, French, and Dutch developed privateering as the means of protecting their young New World colonies. They developed a form of semi-legal private warfare, often carried out regardless of political developments on the other side of the Atlantic, but usually with tacit approval from London, Paris, and Amsterdam. Drawing on letters, diaries, and memoirs of such figures as William Dampier, Sieur Raveneau de Lussan, Alexander Oliver Exquemelin, and Basil Ringrose, Jon Latimer portrays a world of madcap adventurers, daredevil seafarers, and dangerous rogues.
Piet Hein of the Dutch West India Company captured, off the coast of Cuba, the Spanish treasure fleet, laden with American silver, and funded the Dutch for eight months in their fight against Spain. The switch from tobacco to sugar transformed the Caribbean, and everyone scrambled for a quick profit in the slave trade. Oliver Cromwell’s ludicrous Western Design—a grand scheme to conquer Central America—fizzled spectacularly, while the surprising prosperity of Jamaica set England solidly on the road to empire. The infamous Henry Morgan conducted a dramatic raid through the tropical jungle of Panama that ended in the burning of Panama City.
From the crash of gunfire to the billowing sail on the horizon, Latimer brilliantly evokes the dramatic age of the buccaneers.
In the decades after the United States formally declared its independence in 1776, Americans struggled to gain recognition of their new republic and their rights as citizens. None had to fight harder than the nation’s seamen, whose labor took them far from home and deep into the Atlantic world. Citizen Sailors tells the story of how their efforts to become American at sea in the midst of war and revolution created the first national, racially inclusive model of United States citizenship.
Nathan Perl-Rosenthal immerses us in sailors’ pursuit of safe passage through the ocean world during the turbulent age of revolution. Challenged by British press-gangs and French privateersmen, who considered them Britons and rejected their citizenship claims, American seamen demanded that the U.S. government take action to protect them. In response, federal leaders created a system of national identification documents for sailors and issued them to tens of thousands of mariners of all races—nearly a century before such credentials came into wider use.
Citizenship for American sailors was strikingly ahead of its time: it marked the federal government’s most extensive foray into defining the boundaries of national belonging until the Civil War era, and the government’s most explicit recognition of black Americans’ equal membership as well. This remarkable system succeeded in safeguarding seafarers, but it fell victim to rising racism and nativism after 1815. Not until the twentieth century would the United States again embrace such an inclusive vision of American nationhood.
“Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves,” goes the popular lyric. The fact that the British built the world’s greatest empire on the basis of sea power has led many to assume that the Royal Navy’s place in British life was unchallenged. Yet, as Sarah Kinkel shows, the Navy was the subject of bitter political debate. The rise of British naval power was neither inevitable nor unquestioned: it was the outcome of fierce battles over the shape of Britain’s empire and the bonds of political authority.
Disciplining the Empire explains why the Navy became divisive within Anglo-imperial society even though it was also successful in war. The eighteenth century witnessed the global expansion of British imperial rule, the emergence of new forms of political radicalism, and the fracturing of the British Atlantic in a civil war. The Navy was at the center of these developments. Advocates of a more strictly governed, centralized empire deliberately reshaped the Navy into a disciplined and hierarchical force which they hoped would win battles but also help control imperial populations. When these newly professionalized sea officers were sent to the front lines of trade policing in North America during the 1760s, opponents saw it as an extension of executive power and military authority over civilians—and thus proof of constitutional corruption at home.
The Navy was one among many battlefields where eighteenth-century British subjects struggled to reconcile their debates over liberty and anarchy, and determine whether the empire would be ruled from Parliament down or the people up.
Second Place, Presidio La Bahia Award, Sons of the Republic of Texas
The Gulf Coast has been a principal place of entry into Texas ever since Alonso Alvarez de Pineda explored these shores in 1519. Yet, nearly five hundred years later, the maritime history of Texas remains largely untold. In this book, Richard V. Francaviglia offers a comprehensive overview of Texas' merchant and military marine history, drawn from his own extensive collection of maritime history materials, as well as from research in libraries and museums around the country.
Based on recent discoveries in nautical archaeology, Francaviglia tells the stories of the Spanish flotilla that wrecked off Padre Island in 1554 and of La Salle's flagship Belle, which sank in 1687. He explores the role of the Texas Navy in the Texas Revolution of 1835-1836 and during the years of the Texas Republic and also describes the Civil War battles at Galveston and Sabine Pass. Finally, he recounts major developments of the nineteenth century, concluding with the disastrous Galveston Hurricane in 1900. More than one hundred illustrations, many never before published, complement the text.
New details about the founding of China’s Navy reveals critical historical context and insight into future strategy
From 1949 to 1950, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) made crucial decisions to establish a navy and secure China’s periphery. The civil war had been fought with a peasant army, yet in order to capture key offshore islands from the Nationalist rival, Mao Zedong needed to develop maritime capabilities. Mao’s Army Goes to Sea is a ground-breaking history of the founding of the Chinese navy and Communist China’s earliest island-seizing campaigns.
In this definitive account of a little-known yet critical moment in China’s naval history, Toshi Yoshihara shows that Chinese leaders refashioned the stratagems and tactics honed over decades of revolutionary struggle on land for nautical purposes. Despite significant challenges, the PLA ultimately scored important victories over its Nationalist foes as it captured offshore islands to secure its position.
Drawing extensively from newly available Chinese-language sources, this book reveals how the navy-building process, sea battles, and contested offshore landings had a lasting influence on the PLA. Even today, the institution’s identity, strategy, doctrine, and structure are conditioned by these early experiences and myths. Mao’s Army Goes to Sea will help US policymakers and scholars place China’s recent maritime achievements in proper historical context—and provide insight into how its navy may act in the future.
Antiquarian, lawyer, and cat lover Nicolas Fabri de Peiresc (1580–1637) was a “prince” of the Republic of Letters and the most gifted French intellectual in the generation between Montaigne and Descartes. From Peiresc’s study in Aix-en-Provence, his insatiable curiosity poured forth in thousands of letters that traveled the Mediterranean, seeking knowledge of matters mundane and exotic. Mining the remarkable 70,000-page archive of this Provençal humanist and polymath, Peter N. Miller recovers a lost Mediterranean world of the early seventeenth century that was dominated by the sea: the ceaseless activity of merchants, customs officials, and ships’ captains at the center of Europe’s sprawling maritime networks. Peiresc’s Mediterranean World reconstructs the web of connections that linked the bustling port city of Marseille to destinations throughout the Western Mediterranean, North Africa, the Levant, and beyond.
“Peter Miller’s reanimation of Peiresc, the master of the Mediterranean, is the best kind of case study. It not only makes us appreciate the range and richness of one man’s experience and the originality of his thought, but also suggests that he had many colleagues in his deepest and most imaginative inquiries. Most important, it gives us hope that their archives too will be opened up by scholars skillful and imaginative enough to make them speak to us.”
—Anthony Grafton, New York Review of Books
“How could I allow my soldiers to sail on this disloyal and cruel sea?” These words, attributed to the most powerful caliph of medieval Islam, Umar Ibn al-Khattab (634–644), have led to a misunderstanding in the West about the importance of the Mediterranean to early Islam. This body of water, known in Late Antiquity as the Sea of the Romans, was critical to establishing the kingdom of the caliphs and for introducing the new religion to Europe and Africa. Over time, it also became a pathway to commercial and political dominion, indispensable to the prosperity and influence of the Islamic world. Sea of the Caliphs returns Muslim sailors to their place of prominence in the history of the Islamic caliphate.
As early as the seventh century, Muslim sailors competed with Greek and Latin seamen for control of this far-flung route of passage. Christophe Picard recreates these adventures as they were communicated to admiring Muslims by their rulers. After the Arab conquest of southern Europe and North Africa, Muslims began to speak of the Mediterranean in their strategic visions, business practices, and notions of nature and the state. Jurists and ideologues conceived of the sea as a conduit for jihad, even as Muslims’ maritime trade with Latin, Byzantine, and Berber societies increased.
In the thirteenth century, Christian powers took over Mediterranean trade routes, but by that time a Muslim identity that operated both within and in opposition to Europe had been shaped by encounters across the sea of the caliphs.
On September 28, 1863, the Galveston Tri-Weekly News caught its readers' attention with an item headlined "A Yankee Note-Book." It was the first installment of a diary confiscated from U.S. Marine Henry O. Gusley, who had been captured at the Battle of Sabine Pass. Gusley's diary proved so popular with readers that they clamored for more, causing the newspaper to run each excerpt twice until the whole diary was published. For many in Gusley's Confederate readership, his diary provided a rare glimpse into the opinions and feelings of an ordinary Yankee—an enemy whom, they quickly discovered, it would be easy to regard as a friend.
This book contains the complete text of Henry Gusley's Civil War diary, expertly annotated and introduced by Edward Cotham. One of the few journals that have survived from U.S. Marines who served along the Gulf Coast, it records some of the most important naval campaigns of the Civil War, including the spectacular Union success at New Orleans and the embarrassing defeats at Galveston and Sabine Pass. It also offers an unmatched portrait of daily life aboard ship. Accompanying the diary entries are previously unpublished drawings by Daniel Nestell, a doctor who served in the same flotilla and eventually on the same ship as Gusley, which depict many of the locales and events that Gusley describes.
Together, Gusley's diary and Nestell's drawings are like picture postcards from the Civil War—vivid, literary, often moving dispatches from one of "Uncle Sam's nephews in the Gulf."
Browse our collection.
See BiblioVault's publisher services.
Files for college accessibility offices.
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press