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Tom Morris Library: Maritime Supremacy & the Opening of the Western Mind: Naval Campaigns That Shaped the Modern World
Title:      Maritime Supremacy & the Opening of the Western Mind: Naval Campaigns That Shaped the Modern World
BookID:      216
Authors:      Peter Padfield
ISBN-10(13):      1585670022
Publisher:      Overlook Hardcover
Edition:      First Edition
Number of pages:      340
Rating:      0 
Picture:      cover
Description:      Product Description
From "the best naval historian of his generation" (John Keegan), a brilliant exploration of the significance of maritime power in shaping the western ideal of political freedom.

In the great wars of modern history maritime powers have always prevailed over land-based empires, whether Habsburg, Napoleonic, Nazi or Soviet. This extraordinary book charts the growth of these powers in various western countries, while also revealing the way in which supremacy at sea freed thought and society itself. As noted historian Peter Padfield demonstrates, those nations attaining mastery at sea have been distinguished by liberty, flexibility and enterprise, a historical lesson of burning relevance today.

Maritime Supremacy details the struggles of the first supreme maritime powers of the modern age, the Dutch and the British, and ends with the emergence of the ultimate successor, the United States of America. Changes in society, politics, trade--including the slave trade--and in naval capability are interwoven with descriptions of the great sea battles by which world power was won. Bringing the characters vividly to life and immersing the reader in the drama of events, Padfield challenges our view of the evolution of today's world.

"A work of stunning originality...this book confirms Padfield as a historian of the highest order."--The Sunday Times (London)
Amazon.com Review
This book, a kind of sequel to or refinement of Alfred T. Mahan's 19th-century classic The Influence of Sea Power upon History, begins with a standard observation: In war, naval power tends to trump land power. But Peter Padfield makes an even bolder claim: "Maritime supremacy is the key which unlocks most, if not all, large questions of modern history, certainly the puzzle of how and why we--the Western democracies--are as we are." To put it more frankly: "Our civilization (if we can lay so large a claim), our beliefs, our dominance are products not of superior minds or bravery, cunning, greed, or ruthlessness--common attributes of mankind--still less of the Christian religion, the 'Protestant work ethic,' or blind chance, but of the particular configuration of the seas and land masses that has given the advantage to powers able to use and command the seas." That may sound incredibly deterministic, but also intriguing. The resulting discussion of military and economic might on the seas begins with the Spanish Armada and concludes with the founding of the United States. It's an engaging mix that will appeal to readers who like to tackle the big questions of history, as in David S. Landes's The Wealth and Poverty of Nations or Thomas Sowell's Conquests and Cultures. Best of all, readers need not agree with the striking thesis of Maritime Supremacy to profit from its ideas. In the end, more than a few may wind up agreeing with Padfield that "We are the heirs of maritime supremacy." --John J. Miller

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