Progressives in Navy Blue

Maritime Strategy, American Empire, and the Transformation of U.S. Naval Identity, 1873-1898

  • Subject: U.S. Navy
  • Format:
    Hardcover
  • Pages:
    432
    pages
  • Published:
    May 15, 2018
  • ISBN-10:
    1682471934
  • ISBN-13:
    9781682471937
  • Product Dimensions:
    9 × 6 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    16 oz
Hardcover $34.95
Member Price $27.96 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type

Overview

This study examines how intellectual and institutional developments transformed the U.S. Navy from 1873 to 1898. The period was a dynamic quarter-century in which Americans witnessed their Navy evolve. Cultures of progress—clusters of ideas, beliefs, values, and practices pertaining to modern warfare and technology—guided the Navy's transformation.

The agents of naval transformation embraced a progressive ideology. They viewed science, technology, and expertise as the best means to effect change in a world contorted by modernizing and globalizing trends. Within the Navy’s progressive movement, two new cultures—Strategy and Mechanism—influenced the course of transformation. Although they shared progressive pedigrees, each culture embodied a distinctive vision for the Navy’s future.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“Mobley takes us through the transformation of the officer’s corps…. [and] writes of the massive reorganization of the naval structure.” —Starshell
Progressives in Navy Blue ... is an excellent read for anyone interested in U.S. naval history.” —Strategy Page
“Captain Mobley’s book is a significant contribution to the recent development of interest in the era between 1870 and the end of the nineteenth century, often viewed as a tedious and somewhat embarrassing hiatus between the frenetic activity of the Civil War and the emergence of a great battle fleet.” —International Journal of Maritime History
“Mobley’s study is well-written and easy to read. His bibliography is thorough, and his extensive notes are based on a great many archival, primary, and secondary sources. His study of the development of the intellectual aspects required by a modern service forms a nice complement to works ... that look in depth at the technological side of things. Anyone interested in gaining a more comprehensive view of the late nineteenth century Navy will find Mobley’s work informative.” —Global Maritime History
“Mobley`s book makes not only the transformation of the U.S.Navy to a world leading combat navy better understandable, but gives some detailed insight in the meaning of maritime strategic thinking for the coming generations of Naval Commanders.” MarineForum
“There is much to learn from reading this book. For just as the end of the 19th century saw the United States moving from wooden, wind-powered ships to steel, coal-fired ships, the beginning of the 21st century sees the U.S. Navy moving from manned platforms to unmanned platforms that carry out both surveillance and attack missions. Thus, the same sort of technological, tactical, and strategic tensions that percolated through the Navy between 1872 and 1898 are again being experienced in today's service.” The Journal of America's Literary Past
“This book is lovingly researched.... Students new to these debates over progressivism, professionalism, and reform will find much of value in the historiographical language attached to the citations.” Naval Historical Foundation
“Many of the lessons Mobley identifies can inform today's warrior-engineer debate. As the information age matures and the robotics age emerges, America's navy faces new technological and strategic challenges. Those who trust technology to dominate future warfare and those who argue for the continued need to study the science of war continue to clash, just as they did over a century ago. Lieutenant William Bainbridge-Hoff 's observation rings as validly today as when he uttered it in 1886: '[W]ell-constructed strategy must consider technology, just as technology should be informed by strategy' (p. 207). For this reason, those desiring to advance the naval profession should read this book.” Naval War College Review
“The book is fluently and clearly written.... Its thesis is well and convincingly supported by copious endnotes. Progressives in Navy Blue is a landmark work that augers well for the Naval Institute Press' new series, 'Studies in Naval History and Sea Power.' It ... deserves the widest readership.” The Mariner's Mirror
“It is not often that a book like this comes out, one that helps fill in a missing picture. Most studies of the United States Navy look at a few eras: early America, the Civil War, and post-Spanish/American War. Rarely do we get a nice, and well written, book that covers the era after the Civil War but before the Spanish/American War in such detail.... Mr. Mobley does an excellent job crafting the story by harnessing an impressive catalog of research that be breaks down and interprets the information for us, the reader. People will walk away learning how much the Navy has changed, and how it almost did not change, with the times. Improving the Navy was not a forgone conclusion, but Mr. Mobley gives us the story of how it came about.” Manhattan Book Review
“Captain Mobley's Progressives in Navy Blue builds on welcome recent scholarship on what once been an overlooked era of naval history prior to the war with Spain. Mobley argues new institutions such as the Naval Institute, Office of Naval Intelligence, and Naval War College facilitated a strategic, anti-imperialistic worldview within the Navy's officer corps that proved to be in the forefront of the progressive movement of the early 20th century. Mobley's synthetic work, feeding off the scholarship of Robert Wiebe, Richard Hofstadter, John Hattendorf and others, should be added to the syllabi for courses on progressivism on college campuses throughout the land.” —David F. Winkler, author of Incidents at Sea: American Confrontation and Cooperation with Russia and China, 1945-2016
“A fine study, offering sound new insights into the transformation of the U S Navy in the late 19th century, correcting what had been described as an Old Guard resistance to the New Navy advocates at the Naval War College and the ONI. Mobley establishes that the dispute was, instead, between technology-oriented leaders like Francis Ramsey and strategy-oriented ones like Luce and Mahan. And he correctly indicates that this tension echoes to the present day.” —Peter Karsten, author of The Naval Aristocracy: The Golden Age of Annapolis and the Emergence of Modern American Navalism
“Scott Mobley makes a significant contribution to our understanding of how and why the U.S. Navy underwent the most complete and thoroughgoing transformation of any of our military services in their histories. This is an important story persuasively told, as valuable for our current military leadership as for historians and public officials involved in military affairs.” —Richard H. Kohn, Professor Emeritus of History and Peace, War, and Defense, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Captain Scott Mobley's book comes at a fortuitous time. The Naval reform movement in the period written about here is of immense importance to understanding one of the factors that shaped American naval policy and grand strategy in the coming 20th century. This work provides essential context for that understanding. Naval officers would be well served to study the generation of officers examined here, a story little known or told, who helped literally to change the world.” —John T. Kuehn, PhD, Commander USN (retired), author of America's First General Staff: A Short History of the Rise and Fall of the General Board of the Navy, 1900-1950
“Mobley provides an impressive examination of an instrumental period of U.S. Navy History, as it formed the culture, leaders and thinking that would transform Naval Warfare in the 20th Century…. A great read and contribution.” —The Navy
“This book is an academic study of the transformation of the U.S. Navy from 1873 to 1898 from a commerce-protecting force emerging from the age of sail to an overseas presence ready for action in the Spanish-American War. The author describes the cultural tension -- fitting for the age -- between officers who progressively pushed scientific and technological advances and nautical and gunnery proficiency and those who were strategic thinkers like Mahan who pushed the officer corps to increase their professional outlook of the Navy as a global warfighting force able to influence world events. The two cultures forged what the author calls a “warrior-engineer” identify for naval officers that continues to this day.” —Seapower
“Mobley analyzed the decisive period between 1873-1898 for the U.S. Navy on its way to a worldwide operating navy. It was a struggle between technology- and strategy-oriented leaders influenced by Mahan and others. Theories of Seapower and their applicability to naval operations by wargaming the decisive step forward.” —Marine Forum
“Mobley’s book is an engaging text that will be of interest to scholars of military and naval history, progressivism, US imperialism, and professionalization.” —H-War
“With this study of the transformation of US naval policy in the 1880s and 1890s, Scott Mobley has made an important contribution to our understanding of that process, which has long perplexed historians…. Essential reading for anyone interested in the navy’s fin de siècle strategic and matériel transformation.” —Cercles
Progressives in Navy Blue is a vibrant contribution to the current flourishing intellectual and archival renaissance in American naval history.” —Defense & Security Analysis
“In clear and smoothly-flowing prose, Scott Mobley offers many compelling insights into the late nineteenth-century United States Navy.” —Canadian Naval Review

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