Book Review-‘Seaforth World Naval Review 2020’ by C. Waters (ed.)

By Eric Grove, published January 2021


For over ten years Seaforth, the thriving maritime dimension of Pen and Sword of Barnsley, have published an annual review of naval developments. This is the latest edition published at the end of 2019. The book begins with an editor’s introduction, followed by regional reviews, of, respectively, North and South America; Asia and the Pacific; the Indian Ocean and Africa; and Europe and Russia. The well-informed discussion points out that, despite the renewal of great power rivalry, defence expenditure is not expanding at a rate one might expect and that the USA may not be as able to exert super power leadership as it might like to do. Waters argues that the US Navy is moving away from emphasis on large platforms like super carriers towards an ‘increasing focus on smaller vessels and unmanned vehicles as the hallmark of the new Distributed Maritime Operations’ (p. 17). The author might have supported this argument by the regular reports of the deployment of American ‘flat tops’ by the US Naval Institute. The limited numbers of assets shown therein can be quite shocking to those assuming the omnipotence of the USN…

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