The past 12 months or so have produced a wealth of worthwhile books for avid maritime and naval history readers as well as naval officers seeking to learn lessons from the past. What follows is an examination of some of the more notable of them, covering from the Spanish Armada to the Vietnam War and from great U.S. Navy battles to naval intelligence.
Leading off is Michael Palmer's Command at Sea: Naval Command and Control since the Sixteenth Century. In it, Palmer analyzes the evolution of naval fleet command and control starting with the English Navy's battles against the Spanish Armada. The essence of the book is the struggle of two opposing philosophies of naval (and military) command: the centralizers versus the decentralizers. The author takes as his benchmark the guidance and techniques used by Rear Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson in his classic action at the 1801 Battle of the Nile, where he waged a battle of annihilation against the fleet of French Vice Admiral François Paul Brueys.