Book Review: ‘Ideologies of Western Naval Power, c.1500–1815’ by J. D. Davies, A. James and G. Rommelse (eds)

By Stefano Cattelan, published February 2023


Ideologies of Western Naval Power, c. 1500-1815 provides the first study dedicated to naval ideology, conceived as ‘the mass of cultural ideas and shared perspectives that justified the creation and use of naval forces in early modern Europe’. The contributors, all renowned subject specialists, examine a broad range of themes, periods and geographical regions, covering Venice, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Spain, Sweden, Russia and the United States. The volume also deals with the transversal themes of piracy, religion and neutrality. Its publication follows recent major publication projects (by Buchet, Lambert, Harding and others) in the fields of maritime history and naval history. As a starting point, the editors evoke military historian Michael Howard’s assessment of the relative isolation and neglect of naval history as a research field, which is often perceived as too specialist and narrowly focused on strategic military studies (pp 1–3).The editors juxtapose two seemingly opposed trends: the recent explosion of mainstream historical interest in the sea and the equally recent broadening of naval history beyond its traditional boundaries…

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Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Strategy & Diplomacy

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