This collection of thought-provoking essays by arguably the 20th century's greatest naval historian was first published in 1974, but their continuing relevance fully justifies this reprint. It opens with a stimulating reappraisal of the naval attack on the Dardanelles, the success of which would have made the disastrous Gallipoli land campaign that followed completely unnecessary. Marder identifies a number of relatively minor issues that made a failure of what was in reality a great strategic opportunity to shorten the war. Other chapters cover what the Royal Navy did and did not learn from the Great War, and Churchill's controversial time at the Admiralty before he became Prime minister in 1940, while Marder's analysis of the inter-war Ethiopian Crisis - asking whether military aggression can be countered by sanctions - has powerful echoes of current political concerns. The final essay looks at one of the most contentious episodes of the Second World War, the British pre-emptive strike on the fleet of their one-time allies at Oran after the French surrender in 1940.Because Marder's view of history emphasises the human dimension over abstract forces, his work is always approachable in style and of as much interest to the layman as the professional historian. This book is no exception.
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ARTHUR J MARDER was a meticulous researcher, teacher and writer who was to become perhaps the most distinguished historian of the modern Royal Navy. He held a number of teaching posts in American universities and was to receive countless honours, as well as publish some fifteen major works on British naval history. He died in 1980.
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