A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy

  • Subject: General Military & Naval History | CNO's Professional Reading Program | 2024 Paperback Sale
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    A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy is a deliberately compact introductory work aimed at junior seafarers, those who make decisions affecting the sea services, and those who educate seafarers and decision-makers.
  • Published:
    February 15, 2020
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  • Product Dimensions:
    8 × 5 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    7 oz
Softcover $28.95
Member Price $23.16 Save 20%
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A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy is a deliberately compact introductory work aimed at junior seafarers, those who make decisions affecting the sea services, and those who educate seafarers and decision-makers. It introduces readers to the main theoretical ideas that shape how statesmen and commanders make and execute maritime strategy in times of peace and war. Following in the spirit of Bernard Brodie's Layman's Guide to Naval Strategy, a World War II-era book whose title makes its purpose plain, it will be a companion volume to such works as Geoffrey Till's Seapower and Wayne Hughes's Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat, the classic treatise that explains how to handle navies in fleet actions. It takes the mystery out of maritime strategy, which should not be an arcane art for practitioners or policy-makers, and will help the next generation think about strategy.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

"Professor Jim Holmes is one of the leading naval strategists around today, and this lively, informative and well-written volume stands testament to this fact. It is the strategic bookend to Wayne Hughes’ classic Fleet Tactics, and a must read for any student of maritime power." —Robert Work, former Deputy Secretary of Defense and Undersecretary of the Navy
"Deep into the first chapter of this brilliant strategic primer, Professor Holmes says, 'Alfred Thayer Mahan is smiling down from heaven.' So true—because this slender volume gathers the scoop about strategy into a highly readable format. This is a fabulous volume in the library of any naval officer or global sailor seeing to understand the role of the oceans in our turbulent world." —Adm. James Stavridis, USN, Supreme Allied Commander at NATO (2009-2013), Dean Emeritus, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Tufts University (Dean 2013-2018)
"In his concise, jargon-free book Professor Holmes has reduced the elements of maritime strategies to their essence. Holmes brings new life to the writings of Mahan, Corbett and other authors of naval classics by showing why our maritime nation must continue to exercise a maritime strategy in peace and war if we are to sustain our values in the future." —Capt. Wayne Hughes, Jr., USN (Ret.), Dean Emeritus, Naval Postgraduate School and author of the landmark Fleet Tactics series
“This book is much more than the 'good first word about maritime strategy' that it says it is. Written in an accessible and readable way, it distills the thoughts of Mahan and Corbett and other key commentators to show how nations use power at sea to achieve their policy objectives.” —Geoffrey Till, Director of the Corbett Center for Maritime Policy and author of the Seapower series

“This is both an excellent primer for junior officers and students of strategy and an aide memoire for more senior and experienced people…. Illuminating.” —Baird Maritime

A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy is a three-chapter compact compendium, but one that is wonderfully written and very instructive. James Holmes, the current J.C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategic Strategy at the U.S. Naval War College takes his reader on a carefully structured journey through maritime, naval and military history…. An excellent primer for laymen who want to be aware of the historical building blocks that are used in designing maritime strategy. There is much to be learned in this well-presented compendium by one of the most respected scholars in the field.” —The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord
A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy is well written, covers the ground and provokes plenty of thought…. An excellent pocket book.” —The Naval Review
“This brief guide to maritime strategy is much more than just a masterful introduction. It is a clear and lively compendium, teeming with references, and which approaches maritime strategy from the top, that is to say in its widest possible definition. Because sea power is much more than just a matter of boats and navies!” —Revue Défense Nationale
“Not so long ago, many people of color in the United States did not have many options for employment. When they did find it, they faced an uphill battle in advancing up the ladder. However, in the book, Whaling Captains of Color: America's First Meritocracy, Skip Finley reveals that the whaling industry was one place where a man of color could move up through the ranks and become Master (captain) of a ship. Finley shows how Native Americans, American Blacks, and Cape Verdeans worked on this whaling vessels and became masters of them. Not only does he relate their individual stories but he mixes it with what the whaling industry was and life aboard a whaling vessel. These men did face racism, but on a whaling vessel where life was hard and death always near, whether or not a man could do his job well overcame whatever racism the crew may have felt. This book does a good job of relating the accomplishments of these men of color and their role in making whaling a successful endeavor. I recommend this book for anyone interested in whaling or the achievements of people of color.” —Ghost Reader
“The book is well written, covers the ground and provokes plenty of thought.” —The Naval Review
“Many concepts and theories of maritime military/political strategy are as unique as the maritime operating environment. Some strategies that apply on land or in the air do not work at sea…. In A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy, Holmes introduces the main theoretical ideas of maritime strategy in a way that is both accessible and easy to read. More than just an introductory work, this book covers the key concepts of maritime strategy, from sea power to statecraft, and what navies do. Using Mahanian principles as his foundation, Holmes masterfully applies over a century’s worth of concepts and principles to the modern maritime operating environment. Though written as a primer for junior officers, policy makers, and scholars, this book will be valuable to anyone interested in learning “the art and science of using power to fulfill purposes relating to the sea.” —CHOICE
“Holmes’s insightful treatment of maritime strategy and policy offers a concise review for not only junior officers, but also senior navy leaders, civilian policy-makers, and other readers interested in topics about strategy and national security…. This highly readable volume will no doubt persuade many readers, most especially young naval professionals, to dig more deeply into studies of history and strategy.” —The Strategy Bridge
“Every officer should read this book because of the rich insights into contemporary strategic challenges.” —MarineBlad
“This is an excellent text and it is most highly recommended to any reader interested in naval history or theory. Whether a layman, historian, student, or young naval officer, the reader will find very important points in this book. It will greatly improve their understanding of naval theory and help put naval history in general within the greater context of national policy and international relations. This book is most highly recommended and it will produce a most enjoyable read.” —Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
Maritime Strategy is excellently written. In an accessible and non-threatening way, it introduces the reader to critical topics addressed by major theorists…. Wardrooms and classrooms would do well to add Maritime Strategy to their list of books to discuss. Training commands should consider including this book in their curricula for new accessions, as it provides a big-picture view of the Navy’s place on the national scene.” —Naval War College Review
“Holmes’ introduction … is a primer for any professional, regardless of rank, experience, or role, who is new to the study of naval strategy. It is perhaps one of the most clear and concise works on the topic in print and can also serve as a useful corrective for the inevitable misunderstandings many readers may have collected about Mahan, Corbett, or the purpose and functions of a navy. It serves as an incredible springboard from which readers can dive more deeply into the subject, deliberately offering a rich set of references for just this purpose. A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy is exactly what its title suggests, yet it is so much more, earning it a place on any military professional’s bookshelf.” —DODReads