Forging the Trident

Theodore Roosevelt and the United States Navy

  • Subject: General Military & Naval History | U.S. Navy
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Illustrations:
    20 b/w illustrations
  • Published:
    November 15, 2020
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9 × 6 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    22 oz
Hardcover $52.00
Member Price $41.60 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type


Although Theodore Roosevelt has been the subject of numerous books, there has not been a single volume that traces Roosevelt’s interaction with the U.S. Navy from his work as a naval historian in the 1880s through his leadership of the Navy as president in the early twentieth century. The editors of this volume fill in this gap in the historical literature.
Each essay in this collection by leading historians of American naval history will cover one aspect of Roosevelt’s relationship with the Navy while addressing the unifying theme of his use of history and America’s naval heritage to advocate for strengthening and modernizing the Navy during his own lifetime. 

In addition to the book editors, contributors are: Sarah Goldberger, James R. Holmes, David Kohnen, Branden Little, Jon Scott Logel, Edward J. Marolda, Kevin D. McCranie, Matthew Oyos, Jason W. Smith, and Craig L. Symonds.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“Central to his foreign policy, to his plans for building an efficient, professional national government, and to his vision of the United States as a world power, the navy loomed large in the career and legacy of Theodore Roosevelt. And Roosevelt—as scholar, dabbler, bureaucrat, visionary and president, shaped the the modern U.S. Navy like few others. Assembling a wide range of deeply researched, engagingly written essays, Forging the Trident explores every aspect of Roosevelt’s relationship with the Navy, illuminating at once the development of Roosevelt’s career and of the service he loved. A valuable addition to both military and political history!” —Bruce J. Schulman, William E. Huntington Professor of History, Boston University
“John Hattendorf & William Leeman have brought together a fabulous collection of writings that give historical context to and highlight the importance of TR in the creation of our modern Navy. Moreover, the writings show how one man’s drive and determination transformed and forged our Navy. A must read for all Naval Officers, past, present and future.” —VADM David Architzel USN (Ret.); Chairman Theodore Roosevelt Association
“Numerous writers have commented on Theodore Roosevelt’s dealings with the navy, but until now there was no study of the symbiotic relationships that developed between Roosevelt and naval officials. The dozen essays in this book provide valuable insights into such things as how Roosevelt used history to curry public support for the ‘New Navy.’ Combined, these insights largely fill the gap in historiography.” —James C. Bradford, editor of America, Sea Power, and the World, Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M University, and recipient of The Commodore Dudley W. Knox Naval History Lifetime Achievement Award
“From his undergraduate days writing The Naval War of 1812 to the cruise of the Great White Fleet at the end of his presidency, Theodore Roosevelt obsessed over America as a maritime power. Until now, though, history books have largely ignored that critical part of his career. In Forging the Trident, Hattendorf and Leeman have assembled a compelling, comprehensive collection of essays that do more than just fill that gap – they make significant advancements in our understanding of both Roosevelt and the history of the American Navy.” —Clay Risen, deputy op-ed editor at The New York Times, author of The Crowded Hour: Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and the Dawn of the American Century
Forging the Trident is a rare book, authored by famous historians who actually know how to tell a story, and what a story. Theodore Roosevelt, whose first of 40-some books is still the standard history of the naval war of 1812, had so many achievements in his shortened life that many have faded from public memory. One of these is his leadership in making America the dominant naval power in the world, a status that is once again being challenged.” —John Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan Administration, author of Oceans Ventured: Winning the Cold War at Sea
“This fascinating overview of the relationship between a transformational politician and a navy has much to offer those who wish to see contemporary governments and ministers engaged more effectively with the needs of their Navy.” —The Naval Review
“Tracing Roosevelt’s trajectory from naval enthusiast, to naval historian, to visionary architect of the early twentieth century United States Navy, to commander in chief of the Great White Fleet, Forging the Trident reveals the extent to which Roosevelt’s outsized personality shaped both the course of American naval affairs and the very character of the Navy itself. A significant contribution to the Roosevelt historiography, Leeman and Hattendorf’s erudite volume opens up previously uncharted waters to greater historical scrutiny.” —New Books Network
“Reading Forging the Trident is like sitting alone with gifted historians and informed communicators telling you about how a great president served as a key architect of the modern Navy at the beginning of the last century. Editors Hattendorf and Leeman have succeeded in designing an indispensable edition –– and addition –– to the Roosevelt bookshelf.” —Navy Reads
“This collection adds to the relatively few books on Roosevelt and the Navy. The conclusion of the authors and editors is sound: Roosevelt was the nation’s foremost advocate for a modern navy. He pressed for education reform, personnel management based on merit, the adoption of new technology, lateral thinking, and more.” —American Nineteenth Century History
Forging the Trident is an essential read for students of American sea power in the twentieth century.” —StrategyPage
John Lyman Book Award honorable mention in the category of “U.S. Naval History.”
“This important book traces the role of Theodore Roosevelt in building and sustaining and setting the conditions for the US Navy moonshot at the end of the 19th Century, culminating in the Great White Fleet.” —The Navy
“Hattendorf and Leeman’s Forging the Trident succeeds in organizing a fascinating glimpse into how Theodore Roosevelt, by his idiosyncratic intelligence and personality, largely steered America’s ‘ship of state’ into the era of the modern navy.” —The Northern Mariner
“In their edited collection of essays, Forging the Trident: Theodore Roosevelt and the United States Navy, John B. Hattendorf and William P. Leeman brilliantly demonstrate how, almost single-handedly, Roosevelt formed the foundation of the modern United States Navy.... The collection of essays within Forging the Trident trace Roosevelt’s obsession with naval tactics and theory, as well as his buttressed belief that a revamped navy would be the means which the United States could protect its new empire. The editors succeed in crafting a work which delved deeper into Theodore Roosevelt’s obsession with naval innovations, and which can be appreciated by naval enthusiasts and scholars alike.” —Nautical Research Journal