Learning War

The Evolution of Fighting Doctrine in the U.S. Navy, 1898–1945
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Published:June 15, 2018

Learning War examines the U.S. Navy’s doctrinal development from 1898–1945 and explains why the Navy in that era was so successful as an organization at fostering innovation. A revolutionary study of one of history’s greatest success stories, this book draws profoundly important conclusions that give new insight, not only into how the Navy succeeded in becoming the best naval force in the world, but also into how modern organizations can exploit today’s rapid technological and social changes in their pursuit of success.

Trent Hone argues that the Navy created a sophisticated learning system in the early years of the twentieth century that led to repeated innovations in the development of surface warfare tactics and doctrine. The conditions that allowed these innovations to emerge are analyzed through a consideration of the Navy as a complex adaptive system. Learning War is the first major work to apply this complex learning approach to military history. This approach permits a richer understanding of the mechanisms that enable human organizations to evolve, innovate, and learn, and it offers new insights into the history of the United States Navy.

List Price: $34.95
Member Price: $27.96
Product Details
  • Subject: U.S. Navy
  • Hardback : 432 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1682472930
  • ISBN-13: 9781682472934
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 28.96 oz
  • Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) Interview
  • "This superb work is a breakthrough in our understanding of how the U.S. Navy developed professionally and managed high velocity technological change in the decades prior to its supreme test in World War II. It reflects deep research distilled into a fast paced narrative that explains how so much of the Navy’s overall outstanding performance in the war flowed from an institutional culture prepared to adapt and best apply new technology. This work has importance not just to historical understanding of the U.S. Navy in World War II, but also much more broadly to institutional cultures across the board." —Richard B. Frank, an internationally recognized Asia-Pacific War historian, is the author of Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire
  • "Trent Hone’s latest book fills a key gap in the literature about the modern U.S Navy. Building on his previous scholarship in articles and the book he co-authored with his father Tom (Battle Line, USNI 2007), Hone provides the thread of the evolution of the U.S. Navy’s doctrine for combat from the late 1800s to the end of World War II. The Navy revealed here was at the forefront of military institutions as a progressive, flexible, learning organization that enabled the Navy’s unrivaled successes during World War II in the crucible of war." —John T. Kuehn, Professor of Military History, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, author of America's First General Staff (USNI, 2017)
  • "In Learning War: The Evolution of Fighting Doctrine in the U.S. Navy, 1898-1945, Trent Hone’s primary focus is surface warfare, the way the navy’s battleships, cruisers and destroyers fought the Pacific War. Yet he also offers a sophisticated, multi-level analysis of just how the modern navy functioned as an institution and how its leaders learned to think, innovate and command. Highly recommended." —John B. Lundstrom, author of Black Shoe Carrier Admiral
  • “I loved this book! Hone brings a unique perspective to the study of the U.S. Navy’s triumph in WWII, exploring how sound decisions taken decades beforehand allowed the Navy to ferociously adapt itself to the crucible of mortal combat. This is a thorough, illuminating, yet engagingly written work—an impressive addition to the scholarship on the Pacific War.” —Jonathan Parshall, co-author, Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

Trent Hone is an authority on the U.S. Navy of the early twentieth century and a leader in the application of complexity science to organizational design. He studied religion and archaeology at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He works as a consultant in Arlington, Virginia, helping a variety of organizations improve their processes and techniques. Mr. Hone writes and speaks about tactical doctrine, organizational learning, and complexity.

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5 April - Panel Presentation
All day event over several days, April 5-8 | Society of Military History Annual Meeting |... Read More
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13 September - Book Talk & Signing
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22 September - Annual Symposium

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22 September - Annual Symposium

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