Professional Readings in U.S. Naval History


Purposes


Part I: Core Readings
    • Selected Readings

Part II: Further Readings
    • Core Values
    • The American Sailor
    • Leadership
    • Science, Technology,
      and Industry
    • Strategy, Tactics, and
      Doctrine
    • Campaigns, Operations,
      and Battles
            • 1775-1898
            • 1899-1945
            • 1946-1995
    • General Histories

PART II: Further Readings

Core Values: Honor, Courage, Commitment

Alden, John D. Salvage Man: Edward Ellsberg and the U.S. Navy. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1997. A biography of an officer who overcame entrenched bureaucracy, public disinterest, a negative press, difficult legislators, and other obstacles to become one of the Navy’s most respected salvors of sunken naval vessels.

Alvarez, Everett. Chained Eagle. New York: D.I. Fine, 1989. A moving account of a naval aviator who was the longest-held American prisoner of the North Vietnamese Communists.

Billings, Charlene W. Grace Hopper: Navy Admiral and Computer Pioneer. Hillside, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, 1989. A well-written study of the inventor of the COBOL computer language and an inspiration for Navy women.

Christman, Al. Target Hiroshima: Deak Parsons and the Creation of the Atomic Bomb. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1998. The biography of Rear Admiral William S. "Deak" Parsons, a pivotal figure in the development of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, mission commander on board the Enola Gay when that bomber dropped "Little Boy" on Hiroshima, Japan, and one of the Navy’s most brilliant weapons designers.

Duncan, Francis. Rickover and the Nuclear Navy: The Discipline of Technology. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1989. A biography of a flag officer whose strength of will and adherence to principle enabled the Navy to put to sea the world’s safest and most capable submarine fleet.

Elkins, Frank C. Heart of a Man: A Naval Pilot’s Vietnam Diary. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1991. The dramatic story of a naval aviator’s devotion to duty and country in the face of great adversity.

Ewing, Steve, and John B. Lundstrom. Fateful Rendezvous: The Life of Butch O’Hare. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1996. A probing biography of one of the Navy’s top World War II aces who shot down five Japanese planes and helped prevent enemy sinking of aircraft carrier Lexington.

Fitzpatrick, Donovan, and Saul Saphire. Navy Maverick: Uriah Phillips Levy. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1963. An insightful study covering the career of an officer who had to overcome prejudice against Jews in the early U.S. Navy.

Hancock, Joy B. Lady in the Navy: A Personal Reminiscence. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1972. A one-time director of the WAVES relates how Navy women overcame various obstacles to serve proudly in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.

Hoopes, Townsend, and Douglas Brinkley. Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal. New York: Knopf, 1992. The useful biography of a former Secretary of the Navy and the first Secretary of Defense, who had a major impact on post-World War U.S. history.

McCain, John, with Mark Salter. Faith of My Fathers. New York: Random House, 1999. An engrossing account of Vice Admiral John S. McCain, a World War II Navy leader; his son, Admiral John S. McCain, who served as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command; and John McCain, the latter’s son, a Navy carrier pilot who was shot down and imprisoned in North Vietnam. The story of their dedication to the Navy and the nation is inspirational.

Reynolds, Clark G. Admiral John H. Towers: The Struggle for Naval Air Supremacy. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1991. The thoughtful study of a naval leader who profoundly influenced the development of naval aviation before and during World War II.

Sharp, Ulysses S. Grant. Strategy for Defeat: Vietnam in Retrospect. San Rafael, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1978. A memoir of a flag officer who, while unsuccessful, fought to limit Washington-level direction of air operations during the Vietnam War.

Stockdale, James B., and Sybil Stockdale. In Love and War: The Story of a Family’s Ordeal and Sacrifice During the Vietnam Years. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1990. A vivid description of how a naval aviator and his wife coped with his many years of captivity in North Vietnamese prison camps.

 

The American Sailor

Bearden, Bill, ed. Blue Jackets’ Manual. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1990. A manual that gives basic information on seafaring and the U.S. Navy.

Buenzle, Fred J. Bluejacket: An Autobiography. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1986. A graphic memoir of the enlisted man’s life in the U.S. Navy during the 1890s.

Calhoun, C. Raymond. Tin Can Sailor: Life Aboard the USS Sterret, 1939–1945. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1993. A well-written, riveting account of the experiences of a World War II destroyer crew.

Cooper, James Fenimore. Ned Myers; or a Life Before the Mast. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1989. A classic account of an enlisted man’s service in the pre-Civil War Navy.

Cressman, Robert J., and J. Michael Wenger. "Steady Nerves and Stout Hearts": The Enterprise (CV 6) Air Group and Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. Missoula, Mont.: Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 1990. The author details the experiences of junior officers and enlisted men in the early years of World War II.

Crist, Charlotte D. Winds of Change: History of the Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, 1967–1992. Washington: Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy/Naval Historical Center, 1992. Seven former MCPONs describe their experiences in the Navy and provide insights on leadership, the naval service, and professionalism.

Danner, Dorothy Still. What a Way To Spend a War: Navy Nurse POWs in the Philippines. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1995. An account that describes the dramatic experiences of Navy nurses captured by the Japanese during World War II.

Disher, Sharon Hanley. First Class: Women Join the Ranks at the Naval Academy. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1998. Experiences and insights of the first female midshipmen who entered the Naval Academy in 1976.

Ebbert, Jean, and Marie-Beth Hall. Crossed Currents: Navy Women from WWI to Tailhook. Washington: Brassey’s, 1993. An account of the experiences of officers and enlisted women in the modern Navy.

Fowler, William M. Jr. Jack Tars and Commodores: The American Navy, 1783–1815. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984. A well-written and entertaining description of life in the early Navy.

Harrod, Frederick S. Manning the New Navy: The Development of a Modern Naval Enlisted Force, 1899–1940. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1978. The author describes and analyzes the professionalization of Navy enlisted personnel during the early years of the 20th century.

Kernan, Alvin. Crossing the Line: A Bluejacket’s World War II Odyssey. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1994. A gritty, humorous, and insightful account of an enlisted man’s life on board a World War II aircraft carrier.

Langley, Harold D. Social Reform in the United States Navy, 1798–1862. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1967. The author describes the changing experience of officers and men before the Civil War.

MacGregor, Morris J. Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940–1965. Washington: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1981. A comprehensive analysis of the integration of Black Americans into the Navy and the other military services during World War II and the early Cold War.

Mack, William P., and Thomas D. Paulsen. The Naval Officer’s Guide. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1991. This guide provides useful information on the naval profession.

Mason, Theodore C. Battleship Sailor. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1982. A description of enlisted life on board battleship California in World War II.

_______. Rendezvous with Destiny: A Sailor’s War. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1997. The author details with style and wit his experience as an enlisted sailor during World War II.

_______. "We Will Stand by You": Serving in the Pawnee, 1942–1945. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1990. A candid, humorous, and gripping account of life on board a World War II fleet tug.

McKee, Christopher. A Gentlemanly and Honorable Profession: Creation of the U.S. Naval Officer Corps, 1794–1815. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1991. A detailed, authoritative study of the officer corps prior to and during the War of 1812.

Sweetman, Jack. The U.S. Naval Academy: An Illustrated History. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1979. The author describes the U.S. Naval Academy’s role in the professional preparation of America’s naval officer corps.

Valle, James E. Rocks and Shoals: Order and Discipline in the Old Navy, 1800–1861. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1980. A comprehensive social history of the pre-Civil War navy.

Wingo, Josette Dermody. Mother Was a Gunner’s Mate: World War II in the WAVES. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1994. A well-written memoir of a Wave’s wartime experience, from her training as a recruit to her service as a gunnery instructor.

 

Leadership

Bradford, James C., ed. Admirals of the New Steel Navy: Makers of the American Naval Tradition, 1880–1930. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1990. Individual essays on the flag officers who helped build the powerful U.S. fleet that served the nation during the Spanish-American War and World War I.

_______. Captains of the Old Steam Navy: Makers of the American Naval Tradition, 1840–1880. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1986. Individual essays by noted historians on officers who led the U.S. Navy before, during, and after the Civil War.

_______. Command Under Sail: Makers of the American Naval Tradition, 1775–1850. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1985. Well-written, informative essays on the men who led the U.S. Navy from its birth to the years before the Civil War.

Buell, Thomas B. Master of Sea Power: A Biography of Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King. Boston: Little, Brown, 1980. A biography of Admiral King, Chief of Naval Operations and the Navy’s primary policymaker and strategist during World War II.

Coletta, Paolo E., ed. American Secretaries of the Navy. 2 vols. (1775–1913; 1913–1972). Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1980. A collection of biographies of the sixty Secretaries of the Navy from Stoddert to Chafee contributed by Coletta and twenty other scholars.

Crowe, William J., Jr., with David Chanoff. The Line of Fire: From Washington to the Gulf, the Politics and Battles of the New Military. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993. The autobiography of a naval officer who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the historic last years of the Cold War.

Dillon, Richard. We Have Met the Enemy: Oliver Hazard Perry, Wilderness Commodore. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978. A well-written study of the victor of the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.

Fluckey, Eugene B. Thunder Below: The USS Barb Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992. A detailed analysis of the innovative tactics and battle skills of one of America’s most daring and successful World War II submarine commanders.

Galantin, I. J. Submarine Admiral: From Battlewagons to Ballistic Missiles. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995. An account of a submarine officer’s eventful career in the Navy.

Hone, Thomas C. Power and Change: The Administrative History of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 1946–1986. Washington: Naval Historical Center, 1989. A description of the shift of power from the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. (GPO S/N 008-046-00124-3)

Howarth, Stephen, ed. Men of War: Great Naval Leaders of World War II. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993. This work covers the combat performance of the U.S. naval officers who changed the course of the Second World War at sea.

Leary, William M. Under Ice: Waldo Lyon and the Development of the Arctic Submarine. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1999. An authoritative study of a hard-driving marine engineer and project manager who was a pioneer in Arctic submarine operations.

Lehman, John F., Jr. Command of the Seas. New York: Scribner, 1988. The memoirs of a strong-willed and controversial Secretary of the Navy, who presided over the Reagan administration’s 1980s buildup of the fleet.

Love, Robert W., ed. The Chiefs of Naval Operations. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1980. This work contains chapters on each of the Navy’s CNOs from 1915 to 1974, including Admirals King, Nimitz, and Burke.

Marolda, Edward J., ed. FDR and the U.S. Navy. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. Papers by distinguished scholars on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s association with naval leaders and the development of strategy in World War I, the interwar years, and World War II.

McKee, Christopher. Edward Preble: A Naval Biography, 1761–1807. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1996. A biography covering the life and times of an officer who served during the birth and early development of the nation and the Navy.

Montor, Karel, and project team. Naval Leadership: Voices of Experience. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1987. Insights on leadership from senior U.S. and foreign naval officers.

Morison, Elting E. Admiral Sims and the Modern American Navy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1942. An account of how Sims, the senior U.S. naval officer in Europe during World War I, significantly influenced naval policy and the evolution of the Navy.

Morison, Samuel E. John Paul Jones, A Sailor’s Biography. Boston: Little, Brown, 1959. A classic account of a major figure in American naval history.

_______. "Old Bruin": Commodore Matthew C. Perry, 1794–1858. Boston: Little, Brown, 1967. This work details how Perry helped found Liberia, hunted pirates in the West Indies, practiced diplomacy in the Mediterranean, commanded the Gulf Squadron in the Mexican War, and led the famous naval expedition that opened Japan to world trade.

Nitze, Paul, with Ann M. Smith and Steven L. Rearden. From Hiroshima to Glasnost: At the Center of Decision: A Memoir. New York: G. Weidenfeld, 1989. An autobiography of a civilian leader who served as a strategist, statesman, and Secretary of the Navy during the Cold War.

Niven, John. Gideon Wells: Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973. An insightful analysis of one of the most effective civilian leaders of the Navy Department.

Polmar, Norman, and Thomas B. Allen. Rickover. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982. A well-written study of Admiral Rickover’s impact on the U.S. Navy by naval affairs experts.

Potter, E. B. Bull Halsey: A Biography. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1985. An especially readable study of one of the architects of America’s victory in the Pacific during the Second World War.

_______. Nimitz. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1976. A thoughtful appraisal of the brilliant and inspiring Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet during World War II.

Spector, Ronald H. Admiral of the New Empire: The Life and Career of George Dewey. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1974. A comprehensive study of the victor of the Battle of Manila Bay, who was a major figure in the pre-World War I U.S. Navy.

Sweetman, Jack. Great Admirals: Command at Sea, 1587-1945. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1997. Essays by distinguished scholars on key figures in world naval history, including the American flag officers Farragut, Dewey, and Halsey.

Taylor, Theodore. The Magnificent Mitscher. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1991. A biography of one of the most gifted carrier admirals of World War II in the Pacific.

Trimble, William F. Admiral William A. Moffett: Architect of Naval Aviation. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994. The comprehensive biography of an officer who was a powerful advocate of naval aviation between the world wars.

Tucker, Spencer C. Andrew Foote: Civil War Admiral on Western Waters. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2000. The work traces the life and career of an officer who served in U.S. naval vessels operating off West Africa and China. During the American Civil War, ironclads under his command were instrumental in the Union victories at Forts Henry and Donnelson and Island No. 10 in the Mississippi River.

Wheeler, Gerald E. Kinkaid of the Seventh Fleet: A Biography of Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, U.S. Navy. Washington: Naval Historical Center, 1995. An analysis of a master of Army-Navy amphibious operations during World War II in the Pacific.

Zumwalt, Elmo R., Jr. On Watch: A Memoir. New York: Quadrangle, 1976. Memoirs of a bold, innovative, and controversial leader of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam and Chief of Naval Operations.

 

Science, Technology, and Industry

Connery, Robert H. The Navy and Industrial Mobilization in World War II. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951. A detailed account of the Navy’s management of its massive material procurement programs during World War II.

Cooling, Benjamin F. Gray Steel and Blue Water Navy: The Formative Years of America’s Military-Industrial Complex, 1881–1917. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1979. A description of naval-industrial relations and the central role of the Navy in the manufacture of armor plate and heavy guns based on new technologies.

Friedman, Norman. The Postwar Naval Revolution. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1986. A detailed discussion of the importance of nuclear energy, guided missiles, deep-diving submarines, and other technologies in naval warfare.

Hewlett, Richard G., and Francis Duncan. Nuclear Navy, 1946-1962. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. A description of the nuclear propulsion program from its origins to 1962, focusing on the controversial role of Admiral Hyman G. Rickover.

Hone, Thomas, Norman Friedman, and Mark Mandeles. American and British Aircraft Carrier Development, 1919-1941. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1999. This history focuses on the years between the world wars and the different American and British approaches to aircraft and aircraft carrier design and development.

King, Randolph W., ed. Naval Engineering and American Seapower. Baltimore: Nautical & Aviation Publishing Co., 1989. Essays on U.S. naval engineering during the last 200 years by twelve noted authorities on the subject.

Morison, Elting E. Men, Machines, and Modern Times. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1966. Informative essays on the nature and impact of technological change. Four of the six works concern the Navy.

Muir, Malcolm, Jr. Black Shoes and Blue Water: Surface Warfare in the United States Navy, 1945–1975. Washington: Naval Historical Center, 1996. A thorough study of surface ships, weapons, and equipment tested and employed operationally in the three decades after World War II. (GPO S/N 008-046-00169-3)

Polmar, Norman. Strategic Weapons: An Introduction. New York: Crane, Russak, 1981. Useful information on ballistic missile submarines, attack submarines, cruise missiles, and other naval weapon systems and ships.

Ponko, Vincent. Ships, Seas, and Scientists: U.S. Naval Exploration and Discovery in the Nineteenth Century. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1974. This work describes ten Navy scientific and discovery expeditions in different parts of the world between 1838 and 1861, including the Wilkes expedition and Perry’s voyage to Japan.

Sapolsky, Harvey M. The Polaris System Development: Bureaucratic and Programmatic Success in Government. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972. A detailed analysis of the successful 1950s Navy effort to develop the Polaris ballistic missile.

Trimble, William F. Wings for the Navy: A History of the Naval Aircraft Factory, 1917–1956. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1990. A comprehensive study of the industrial facility in Philadelphia that was vital to the development of naval aircraft, weapons, and equipment during both world wars.

Westrum, Ron. Sidewinder: Creative Missile Development at China Lake. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1999. A detailed analysis of how a team of dedicated, innovative, and determined scientists and engineers at the China Lake Naval Weapons Center produced one of the best air-to-air missiles in the U.S. arsenal.

 

Naval Strategy, Tactics, and Doctrine

Forward . . . From the Sea. Washington: Department of the Navy, 1994. The U.S. Navy’s strategy for the post-Cold War era that entails forward-based naval forces operating in the littoral areas of the world.

Friedman, Norman. The US Maritime Strategy. London: Janes, 1988. A well-written, informative analysis of the Navy’s strategic approach to global conflict with the Soviet Union in the last decade of the Cold War.

Gray, Colin S. The Leverage of Sea Power: The Strategic Advantage of Navies in War. New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1992. This work discusses the importance of sea power in the age of galleys and sail during World War II and the Cold War.

Hughes, Wayne P. Fleet Tactics: Theory and Practice. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1986. An insightful analysis of the fleet’s modern battle tactics by a Naval Postgraduate School professor.

Lundstrom, John B. The First Team: Pacific Naval Air Combat From Pearl Harbor to Midway. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1984. A good description of the evolution of fighter tactics during the first pivotal months of the Pacific war.

Mahan, Alfred T. The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. Boston: Little, Brown, 1980. Mahan drew lessons from European naval history to develop a concept of sea power that changed naval strategic thinking in the United States and internationally.

Miller, Steven E., and Stephen Van Evera, eds. Naval Strategy and National Security. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988. Essays on the influence of operations and technology on naval strategy by R. James Woolsey, Linton F. Brooks, and other strategic thinkers.

Naval Command and Control. Naval Doctrine Publication No. 6. Norfolk: Naval Doctrine Command, 1995. An easy-to-read, illustrated primer on the special characteristics of naval command and control.

Naval Intelligence. Naval Doctrine Publication No. 2. Norfolk: Naval Doctrine Command, 1994. A concise summary of the vital importance of intelligence to the successful conduct of naval warfare.

Naval Logistics. Naval Doctrine Publication No. 4. Norfolk: Naval Doctrine Command, 1995. A short, illustrated narrative focusing on an important, often overlooked aspect of naval warfare.

Naval Warfare. Naval Doctrine Publication No. 1. Norfolk: Naval Doctrine Command, 1994. A primer on the Navy’s approach to combat at sea in the post-Cold War era.

Palmer, Michael A. Origins of the Maritime Strategy: American Naval Strategy in the First Postwar Decade. Washington: Naval Historical Center, 1989. A short but important work that covers the Navy’s development of a global, offensive, forward-based strategy in the immediate, post-World War II years.

Spector, Ronald H. Professors of War: The Naval War College and the Development of the Naval Profession. Newport: Naval War College Press, 1977. An insightful analysis of the evolution of the Naval War College and its importance to strategic thought in the Navy.

Weigley, Russell. The American Way of War: A History of United States Military Strategy and Policy. New York: Macmillan, 1973. The author contends that the traditional American strategy in the employment of naval, air, and ground forces has been to seek decisive battle.

Wylie, Joseph C. Military Strategy: A General Theory of Power Control. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1989. A thoughtful discussion of military and naval strategy by a retired Navy flag officer and innovative strategic analyst.

 

Naval Campaigns, Operations, and Battles

The Early Years, 1775–1898

Anderson, Bern. By Sea and River: The Naval History of the Civil War. New York: Knopf, 1962. A well-written, thorough analysis emphasizing the strategic aspects of the Civil War.

Bauer, K. Jack. Surfboats and Horse Marines: U.S. Naval Operations in the Mexican War, 1846–1848. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1969. An in-depth account of a war that included extensive amphibious operations in Mexico and California.

Browning, Robert M., Jr. From Cape Charles to Cape Fear: The North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1993. An authoritative study not only of naval operations and the blockade campaign but Union strategy, tactics, and logistics.

Buker, George E. Swamp Sailors: Riverine Warfare in the Everglades, 1835–1842. Gainseville: University Presses of Florida, 1975. A description of how the Navy carried out riverine operations against the Seminole tribe in Florida.

Canney, Donald L. Lincoln’s Navy: The Ships, Men, and Organization, 1861–1865. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1998. A thorough study of the Union navy during the Civil War by an authority on 19th-century naval service.

Field, James A. America and the Mediterranean World, 1776–1882. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969. A classic example of the Navy’s role in support of U.S. political and economic interests in Europe and the Middle East.

Hagan, Kenneth. American Gunboat Diplomacy and the Old Navy, 1877–1889. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1973. A description of the diplomatic efforts of U.S. naval officers in the protection of American lives, property, and commerce.

Marolda, Edward J. The Washington Navy Yard: An Illustrated History. Washington: Naval Historical Center, 1999. The history focuses on the Washington Navy Yard, the service’s oldest shore establishment, and its importance to shipbuilding, ordnance manufacture, and diplomacy during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Martin, Tyrone G. A Most Fortunate Ship: A Narrative History of Old Ironsides. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1997. This work provides a full history of USS Constitution, based on new research by a former commanding officer and authority on the Navy’s most historic warship.

Morgan, William J. Captains to the Northward: The New England Captains in the Continental Navy. Barre, Mass.: Barre Gazette, 1959. A good analysis of operations conducted in the Revolutionary War by a select corps of American naval officers.

Palmer, Michael A. Stoddert’s War: Naval Operations During the Quasi-War with France, 1799–1801. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1987. An authoritative analysis of naval policy and operations during the U.S. Navy’s short conflict with France.

Reed, Rowena. Combined Operations in the Civil War. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1978. A detailed work on the amphibious strategy of General George B. McClellan along the littorals of the U.S. East Coast.

Schneller, Robert J. Under the Blue Pennant, or, Notes of a Naval Officer: John W. Grattan. New York: John Wiley, 1999. An account that provides insight and detail on the blockade service of a Union naval officer during the Civil War.

Skaggs, David C., and Gerard T. Altoff. A Signal Victory: The Lake Erie Campaign, 1812–1813. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1997. A balanced, thoroughly researched study of Oliver Hazard Perry’s leadership during the War of 1812 struggle for control of the Great Lakes.

Still, William N., Jr. American Sea Power in the Old World: The United States Navy in European and Near Eastern Waters, 1865–1917. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980. A well-written and researched study of an often-overlooked aspect of American naval history.

Trask, David F. The War With Spain in 1898. New York: Macmillan, 1981. A solid study of the Spanish-American War, with good coverage of naval operations.

 

A Navy Second to None, 1899–1945

Abbazia, Patrick. Mr. Roosevelt’s Navy: The Private War of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, 1939–1942. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1975. A well-written description of the U.S. Navy’s critical role in the American effort to help Great Britain survive the assault by Nazi Germany in the early years of World War II.

Belote, James H., and William M. Belote. Titans of the Seas: The Development and Operations of Japanese and American Carrier Task Forces During World War II. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. This work focuses on those naval forces that most influenced the outcome of the Second World War in the Pacific.

Blair, Clay. Hitler’s U-Boat War: The Hunters, 1939–1942. New York: Random House, 1996. A detailed history and analysis of German submarine operations during the early years of World War II.

_______. Silent Victory: The U.S. Submarine War Against Japan. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1975. An account that uses official patrol reports and interviews to provide comprehensive coverage of American submarine operations in the Pacific.

Braisted, William R. The United States Navy in the Pacific. 2 Vols. (1897–1909; 1909–1922). Austin: University of Texas Press, 1958; 1971. A thorough political-military analysis of U.S. actions in the Pacific and Far East during a critical period of American history.

Carter, Worrall R. Beans, Bullets, and Black Oil: The Story of Fleet Logistics Afloat in the Pacific During World War II. Washington: GPO, 1953. A comprehensive study of the logistic support that enabled the fleet to fight its way across the Pacific and maintain its presence in Japanese home waters.

Challener, Richard D. Admirals, Generals, and American Foreign Policy, 1898–1914. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973. A masterful study of the relationship between military force and diplomacy.

Cressman, Robert J., et al. "A Glorious Page in Our History": The Battle of Midway, 4–6 June 1942. Missoula, Mont.: Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 1990. A detailed account of naval aviation in a key battle of the Pacific war.

Dingman, Roger. Power in the Pacific: The Origins of Naval Arms Limitation, 1914–1922. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976. An analysis of the interaction between foreign and naval policies that influenced the pivotal Washington Conference of 1922.

Fane, Francis D., and Don Moore. Naked Warriors: The Story of the U.S. Navy’s Frogman. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1995. A classic account of underwater demolition team operations in World War II and Korea.

Frank, Richard B. Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Random House, 1999. A balanced, thoroughly researched, and well-argued study on how American military and naval leaders influenced President Truman in his decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan at the end of World War II.

_______. Guadalcanal. New York: Random House, 1990. A comprehensive, well-researched, and insightful history of the long, bloody Navy-Marine fight for the island in the Solomons.

Leutze, James R. Bargaining for Supremacy: Anglo-American Naval Collaboration, 1937–1941. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977. A description of how the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy prepared to deal with the emerging threat from the German, Japanese, and Italian fleets in the critical, pre-World War II years.

Levine, Robert H. The Politics of American Naval Rearmament, 1930–1938. New York: Garland Publishing, 1988. This work discusses how U.S. economic and political factors, Navy bureaucratic imperatives, and international developments influenced fleet rearmament.

Lorelli, John A. To Foreign Shores: U.S. Amphibious Operations in World War II. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1995. A good survey history of the assault landings in the Pacific, Mediterranean, and Atlantic theaters during the Second World War.

Miller, Nathan. War at Sea: A Naval History of World War II. New York: Scribner, 1995. A well-written summary of naval warfare in the Second World War based on personal narratives, secondary sources, and recently available communications intelligence information.

Prange, Gordon W., with Donald M. Goldstein, and Katherine V. Dillon. At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981. A comprehensive and readable account of the events surrounding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Prange, Gordon W., with Donald W. Goldstein, and Katherine V. Dillon. Miracle at Midway. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1982. A detailed analysis of one of the most critical naval battles of World War II in the Pacific.

Reckner, James. Teddy Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1988. A well-researched and written account of the U.S. Fleet’s global cruise of 1907–1909.

Reynolds, Clark G. Fast Carriers: Forging of an Air Navy. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1983. An insightful study of the importance of naval aviation to Allied victory in the Pacific during World War II.

Russell, Richard A. Project HULA: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan. Washington: Naval Historical Center, 1997. A short, readable study of a little-known interaction between the U.S. and Soviet navies at the end of World War II in the Pacific. (GPO S/N 008-046-00181-2)

Sims, William S. The Victory at Sea. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1984. A summary of U.S. naval operations during World War I by the influential, if controversial, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.

Spector, Ronald H. Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan. New York: The Free Press, 1984. A synthesis of the war in Asia and the Pacific, covering all of the U.S. armed services.

Wildenberg, Thomas. Gray Steel and Black Oil: Fast Tankers and Replenishment at Sea in the U.S. Navy, 1912–1995. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1996. A good survey of this important aspect of naval logistic support that had a major impact on the fleet’s 20th-century operations in distant waters.

Yerxa, Donald A. Admirals and Empire: The U.S. Navy and the Caribbean, 1898–1945. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1991. A thorough discussion of how naval leaders and the fleet have influenced American foreign policy in Latin America from the Spanish-American War to the end of World War II.

 

The Global Navy, 1945–1995

Alexander, Joseph H., and Merrill L. Bartlett. Sea Soldiers of the Cold War: Amphibious Warfare, 1945-1991. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1995. A good survey of Inchon and numerous other amphibious operations in the post-World War II era by two authorities on the subject.

Bouchard, Joseph F. Command in Crisis: Four Case Studies. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991. A thorough analysis of crisis management during the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1958, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and other situations in which U.S. naval forces played critical roles.

Cagle, Malcolm W., and Frank A. Manson. The Sea War in Korea. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1957. A readable survey of operations in Korea, with emphasis on the key aspects of naval warfare.

Cutler, Thomas J. Brown Water, Black Berets: Coastal and Riverine Warfare in Vietnam. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1988. A descriptive, engaging account of naval operations on the canals, rivers, and coasts of South Vietnam.

Field, James A. History of United States Naval Operations: Korea. Washington: Naval History Division, 1962. A well-written, detailed account of the war, with an emphasis on the years 1950 and 1951.

Gallery, Daniel V. The Pueblo Incident. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1970. An analysis of the Navy’s response to North Korea’s seizure of USS Pueblo during the Vietnam War.

Hooper, Edwin B. Mobility, Support, Endurance: A Story of Naval Operational Logistics in the Vietnam War, 1965–1968. Washington: Naval History Division, 1972. A detailed description of the logistic support that maintained the half-million-man U.S. expeditionary force ashore in Vietnam for a decade and kept the fleet on the line in the Western Pacific.

Howe, Jonathan T. Multicrises: Sea Power and Global Politics in the Missile Age. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1971. Case studies and analysis of naval operations related to post-World War II crises in the Far East and the Mediterranean.

Maloney, Sean M. Securing Command of the Sea: NATO Naval Planning, 1948–1954. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1998. This study, based on previously inaccessible sources, presents a detailed, insightful analysis of the U.S. Navy’s interaction with allied navies during the early formative years of the NATO alliance.

Marolda, Edward J., and Oscar P. Fitzgerald. From Military Assistance to Combat, 1959–1965, Vol. II in series The United States Navy and the Vietnam Conflict. Washington: Naval Historical Center, 1986. An in-depth treatment of naval operations, fleet buildup, and advisory activities in Southeast Asia during a critical period of the conflict.

Marolda, Edward J., and Robert J. Schneller Jr. Shield and Sword: The U.S. Navy and the Persian Gulf War. Washington: Naval Historical Center, 1997. A comprehensive history of the U.S. Navy’s activities before, during, and after operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Nichols, John B., and Barrett Tillman. On Yankee Station: The Naval Air War Over Vietnam. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1992. A readable summary of the Navy’s participation in the Rolling Thunder, Linebacker, and other operations of the Vietnam War.

Palmer, Michael A. On Course to Desert Storm: The U.S. Navy and the Persian Gulf. Washington: Naval Historical Center, 1992. A detailed study of the Navy’s involvement in the Persian Gulf region from the early 19th century to the eve of Operation Desert Storm. (GPO S/N 008-046-00146-4)

Rochester, Stuart I., and Richard Kiley. Honor Bound: The History of American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia. Washington: Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1998. The most comprehensive, authoritative account available on the experience of naval and other aviators held captive during the Vietnam War.

Schreadley, Richard. From the Rivers to the Sea: the United States Navy in Vietnam. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1992. A survey and analysis of naval operations in the Vietnam War, with emphasis on the later, critical stages of the conflict.

Sheehy, Edward J. The U.S. Navy, the Mediterranean, and the Cold War, 1945–1947. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1992. A detailed summary of the U.S. Navy’s post-World War II political-military actions in a key strategic area.

Sherwood, John. Fast Movers. New York: The Free Press, 1999. A dramatic account of the Navy, Marine, and Air Force fighter pilots who dueled with Communist aviators for control of the skies over North Vietnam and Laos.

Sontag, Sherry, and Christopher Drew, with Annette Lawrence Drew. Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage. New York: Public Affairs, 1998. This account, based on numerous interviews with U.S. submarine officers and men, covers previously little-known American undersea operations throughout the Cold War.

Stanik, Joseph T. "Swift and Effective Retribution": The U.S. Sixth Fleet and the Confrontation with Qaddafi. Washington: Naval Historical Center, 1996. A concise, well-written, and illustrated history of the Navy’s involvement in the 1980s hostilities with Libya. (GPO S/N 008-046-00175-8)

Utz, Curtis A. Assault from the Sea: The Amphibious Landing at Inchon. Washington: Naval Historical Center, 1994. An illustrated, readable summary of the planning, intelligence gathering, concentration of forces, and assault operations related to the Inchon landing in Korea. (GPO S/N 008-046-00166-9)

_______. Cordon of Steel: The U.S. Navy and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Washington: Naval Historical Center, 1993. An easy-to-read, illustrated summary of the naval and air aspects of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. (GPO S/N 008-046-00157-0)

Winkler, David F. Cold War at Sea: High-Seas Confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2000. A thoroughly researched and analyzed history of U.S.-Soviet maritime confrontations during the Cold War that led to the Incidents at Sea Agreement of 1972.

 

General Histories of the U.S. Navy

Albion, Robert G. Makers of Naval Policy, 1798–1947. Rowena Reed, ed. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1980. An in-depth study of Navy leaders and their influence on the development of naval policy from the establishment of the Navy Department through World War II.

Hagan, Kenneth J. This People’s Navy: The Making of American Sea Power. New York: The Free Press; Collier, 1991. A thought-provoking analysis of the U.S. Navy’s history since its creation.

Howarth, Stephen. To Shining Sea: A History of the United States Navy, 1775–1991. New York: Random House, 1991. A detailed study of over 200 years of U.S. naval history from the perspective of a British historian.

Knox, Dudley W. A History of the United States Navy. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1948. A classic study of the Navy by a pioneering 20th century naval historian.

Love, Robert W., Jr. History of the U.S. Navy (2 vols.). Harrisburg: Stackpole, 1992. A comprehensive analysis of the U.S. Navy’s history, with a strong emphasis on World War II and the Cold War.

Millett, Allan R., and Peter Maslowski. For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America. New York: The Free Press; Collier, 1984. This work discusses the evolution of the U.S. Navy within the general context of American military history.

Potter, E. B. Sea Power: A Navy History. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1981. A classic history of naval warfare from ancient times to the Vietnam War.

Reynolds, Clark G. Navies in History. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1998. An insightful analysis of the impact of naval power on the course of history by an authority on the evolution of the U.S. Navy.

Sprout, Harold, and Margaret Sprout. The Rise of American Naval Power, 1776–1918. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1942. A history of the development of U.S. naval policy and of the Navy as an institution in the American political system.