Learning War: The Evolution of Fighting Doctrine in the U.S. Navy, 1898–1945

Naval Institute Press
Free sample

Learning War examines the U.S. Navy’s doctrinal development from 1898–1945 and explains why the Navy in that era was so successful as an organization at fostering innovation. A revolutionary study of one of history’s greatest success stories, this book draws profoundly important conclusions that give new insight, not only into how the Navy succeeded in becoming the best naval force in the world, but also into how modern organizations can exploit today’s rapid technological and social changes in their pursuit of success. Trent Hone argues that the Navy created a sophisticated learning system in the early years of the twentieth century that led to repeated innovations in the development of surface warfare tactics and doctrine. The conditions that allowed these innovations to emerge are analyzed through a consideration of the Navy as a complex adaptive system. Learning War is the first major work to apply this complex learning approach to military history. This approach permits a richer understanding of the mechanisms that enable human organizations to evolve, innovate, and learn, and it offers new insights into the history of the United States Navy.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Naval Institute Press
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Published on
Jun 15, 2018
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9781682472941
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / Naval
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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A portrait in words and photographs of the interwar Navy, this book examines the twenty-year period that saw the U.S. fleet shrink under the pressure of arms limitation treaties and government economy and then grow again to a world-class force. The authors trace the Navy's evolution from a fleet centered around slow battleships to one that deployed most of the warship types that proved so essential in World War II, including fast aircraft carriers, heavy and light cruisers, sleek destroyers, powerful battleships, and deadly submarines. Both the older battleships and these newer ships are captured in stunning period photographs that have never before been published. An authoritative yet lively text explains how and why the newer ships and aircraft came to be. Thomas Hone and Trent Hone describe how a Navy desperately short funds and men nevertheless pioneered carrier aviation, shipboard electronics, code-breaking, and (with the Marines) amphibious warfare - elements that made America's later victory in the Pacific possible. Based on years of study of official Navy department records, their book presents a comprehensive view of the foundations of a navy that would become the world's largest and most formidable. At the same time, the heart of the book draws on memoirs, novels, and oral histories to reveal the work and the skills of sailors and officers that contributed to successes in World War II. From their service on such battleships as West Virginia to their efforts ashore to develop and procure the most effective aircraft, electronics, and ships, from their adventures on Yangtze River gunboats to carrier landings on the converted battle cruisers Saratoga and Lexington, the men are profiled along with their ships. This combination of popular history with archival history will appeal to a general audience of naval enthusiasts.
#1 New York Times Bestseller

From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. 

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. 

Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.
In the tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mystery–and make history themselves.

For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.

But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones–all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.

No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location.

Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical sense of brotherhood with each other and with the drowned U-boat sailors–former enemies of their country. As the men’s marriages frayed under the pressure of a shared obsession, their dives grew more daring, and each realized that he was hunting more than the identities of a lost U-boat and its nameless crew.

Author Robert Kurson’s account of this quest is at once thrilling and emotionally complex, and it is written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean’s underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the deep blue sea.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Robert Kurson's Pirate Hunters.
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