As in previous years, the list of notable naval books for 2012 was compiled, refined, and ultimately decided by a number of people, all of whom are widely recognized for their knowledge of matters pertaining to the sea services. Because the list is subjective and may cause some disagreement, the individuals will remain anonymous. Their contributions are nevertheless recognized and most appreciated.
Only books published in the previous calendar year are included, restricted to a maximum of 20. The basic criterion for selection is that books must contribute to the edification of naval professionals in some meaningful way. In many cases, these works do so by expanding our knowledge of a certain subject; or they may serve as stimuli for discussion and debate. Occasionally a book appears that contributes by inspiration or shedding light on our basic understanding of who and what we are. Standard reference and professional works such as Janes’ Fighting Ships and the Watch Officer’s Guide are not included. Obviously these books are notable, but for readers of this list, mentioning them annually would be not only redundant but also unnecessary.