Book Review-‘Strategy and the Sea: Essays in honour of John B. Hattendorf’ edited by N. A. M. Rodger, J. Ross Dancy, B. Darnell, and E. Wilson

By Benjamin Arnstrong, published December 2020

Abstract

The state of the field of naval and maritime history, allegedly a precarious thing, is a common topic when any group of sea-minded historians gather for a coffee or a grog. In his plenary address as the Class of 1957 Chair in Naval Heritage at the 2015 McMullen Naval History Symposium, Dr David Rosenberg laid out a rather dismal assessment of the discipline, particularly from an American perspective. Positions in naval or maritime history appear to be disappearing from faculties, and graduate students are pushed to define themselves as historians of technology or as social historians, rather than focusing on the maritime nature of their research, in order to compete in the tight academic job market. One of Rosenberg’s laments was the number of students who have crossed the Atlantic to Britain in order to take up postgraduate study in the field (this reviewer is included in that group). These are all legitimate concerns over the health of our field of research and study. However, the new collection of essays Strategy and the Sea offers another view. It is a view from the masthead, with a higher line of sight than from the wave tops, which offers an important counterbalance to this narrative of decline…

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Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

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