Book Review-‘The Royal Navy in Eastern Waters: Linchpin of victory 1935–1942’ byA. Boyd

By Norman Friedman, published November 2020


This is a very important book for our understanding of the Second World War and of the Royal Navy’s part in it. It is revisionist history in the best sense: a thorough look back at archival material and a careful rethink which turns accepted historical wisdom on its head. Even better, it makes much better sense of various events in 1941–2 than the commonly accepted explanations. This book is very dense, because Boyd has been scrupulous in his attention to detail and to the twists and turns of the internal debates within the British military policy-making apparatus, both before and during the war. Yet it is absolutely worth reading because it holds so many surprises, which are so well justified. It should be emphasized that Boyd’s analysis of British strategy is based on extremely deep research into the relevant records. That the great bulk of them are easily accessible in The National Archive should be a source of shame to many earlier historians…

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Filed under: Interwar | WW2 | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

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