In Defence of Naval Supremacy: Finance, Technology, and British Naval Policy, 1889-1914

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In Defence of Naval Supremacy: Finance, Technology, and British Naval Policy, 1889-1914

By John Tetsuro Sumida
Routledge, 1993
480 pp. $19.95
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It is a historical commonplace that the construction of the HMS Dreadnought (laid down in 1905) heralded a revolution in naval affairs, a transformation of naval warfare rich with lessons for students of strategy at the end of this century as well. Alas, those of us who have long turned to Arthur Marder's wonderfully written histories of the Royal Navy for an account of the Dreadnought revolution must now consider this dense, superbly researched and definitive piece of scholarship. Sumida, a stubborn and meticulous researcher, does not have Marder's brio, but he does have the facts. The contemporary student of matters military will find this book worthy of perusal, if only because the author makes it painfully clear just how important financial and technical details are if we wish to understand what military organizations do and why they do it.

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