If By Sea: The Forging of the American Navy—From the Revolution to the War of 1812
George C. Daughan. New York: Basic Books, 2008. 536 pages. Notes. Bib. $30.
Reviewed by David Curtis Skaggs
In his If By Sea, George Daughan undertakes three critical and difficult tasks: first, he seeks to integrate naval history with that of the ground forces, 1775-1815; second, he incorporates a study of domestic and international politics and diplomacy to understand the interrelationship of these to military and naval policies and events; third, he posits that the story of the maligned Continental Navy has a direct impact on the U.S. Navy that emerged after 1794. These are immense, complex, and somewhat contradictory objectives that are difficult to encompass in one volume.