Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Sergei G. Gorshkov was the product of a tradition unlike those of his Western contemporaries. He had a unique background of revolution, civil war, world wars, and the forceful implementation of an all-controlling communist dictatorship. Out of this background of violence and overwhelming transformation came a man with a vivid appreciation of the role and value of navies, but with his own unique ideas about the kind of navy that the Soviet Union required and the role that navy should play in Soviet military and national strategy.
Western naval observers have persisted in attempting to define Admiral Gorshkov in Western naval terms. Many of these observers have been baffled when they found that the man and his actions simply did not fit conventional narratives. This book lays out the tradition, background, experiences, and thinking of the man as they relate to the development of the Soviet Navy that Gorshkov commanded for almost three decades and that was able to directly challenge the maritime dominance of the United States—a traditional sea power. His influence persists to this day, as the Russian Navy that is at sea in the twenty-first century is, to a significant degree, based on the fleet that Admiral Gorshkov built.