Struggle for the Middle Sea

The Great Navies at War in the Mediterranean Theater, 1940-1945
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Published:February 15, 2015
By Vincent P. O'Hara (Author)

The Mediterranean is the maritime crossroads where Europe, Asia, and Africa meet. More major naval actions were fought there than in the Atlantic or Pacific yet remarkably little has been written about the subject. Th is fresh study of the Mediterranean’s naval war analyzes the actions and performances of the five major navies—British, Italian, French, German, and American—during the entire five-year campaign and examines the national imperatives that drove each nation’s maritime strategy.
Struggle for the Middle Sea provides a history of the entire campaign from all perspectives and covers Germany’s largely unknown—and remarkably successful—struggle to employ sea power in the Mediterranean after the Italian armistice. Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy (August 2009) has called it “a new and stunningly important view of World War II” and “a fabulously readable and important book.”

List Price: $25.95
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Product Details
  • Subject: World War II
  • Paperback : 358 pages
  • Illustrations: 16 b/w photos, 1 line drawing, 27 maps
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (February 15, 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 1591141966
  • ISBN-13: 9781591141969
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 16.71 oz
  • “In essence, Mr. O'Hara has given us a straightforward account of the naval war in the Mediterranean and proved his point that the Italian navy functioned in a professional and courageous manner. It is a welcome and clarifying addition to the existing literature on the Mediterranean campaign.” —Sol Schindler, The Washington Times
  • “.A remarkably thorough narrative and analysis of a complicated topic. . . .The breadth and depth of the author's research is impressive. The text is thoroughly supported by endnotes and an excellent biography—a balanced assortment of published and unpublished official records of Italian, British, French, and German sources inspires confidence. The narrative, written in a clear, workman-like style, is supported by extensive graphics. . . .This book belongs in any respectable library of World War II naval scholarship. Readers already familiar with the subject almost certainly will find something new in its narrative and interpretations, and newcomers to the field will find it an excellent place to start.” —Nautical Research Journal
  • “Vince O’Hara has been a serious chronicler of the surface engagements of World War II and has now added the Mediterranean to the saga. The numerous surface actions in World War II still offer lessons for all of us in the 21st century. O’Hara’s goal of expanding our understanding with extensive research in four languages and being very readable has been achieved with the third in his series in Struggle for the Middle Sea.” —Jack Greene, co-author of Rommel’s North Africa Campaign: September 1940–November 1942
  • “Many previous histories of the war in the Mediterranean have been colored by an implicit acceptance of a well-established mythology. Vince O’Hara brings a fresh approach to the conflict in this theater by exploring the strategic objectives and the performance of the major combatants in a balanced way. His extension of the account to include the French and the Americans is to be commended.” —John Jordan, editor, Warship
  • “In a concise but comprehensive narrative, O’Hara deftly examines the strategies and expertly presents the campaigns of each of the major naval powers waged in the Middle Sea between 1940 and 1945. With a fresh perspective, he illustrates just how frustrating a naval theater the Mediterranean was for everyone, and yet how the respective navies largely met their objectives. As the author shows, littoral warfare in the Mediterranean was unexpectedly demanding, a lesson that still must be heeded today.” —Karl Zingheim, Historian, USS Midway Museum
  • “O’Hara steamrolls the chauvinism and ‘common knowledge’ that have obscured what actually happened in the Mediterranean, and gives his readers what they have come to expect—both sides of a gritty story.” —Richard Worth, author of Fleets of World War II
  • “A fresh and comprehensive examination of surface combat in the Mediterranean in World War II, Struggle for the Middle Sea offers detailed accounts of the actions of the five major navies including forgotten or neglected aspects such as the Royal Navy’s costly Aegean campaign and German efforts in the Adriatic, Aegean, and off the coast of Italy following the Italian armistice. O’Hara’s careful analysis also sheds new light on the successful maritime strategy and often credible performance of the Italian Navy. An insightful and important contribution to our understanding of the naval war in the Mediterranean.” —Barbara Brooks Tomblin, author of With Utmost Spirit: Allied Naval Operations in the Mediterranean, 1942–1945

Vincent P. O'Hara is an independent scholar and the author of nine works including five published by the Naval Institute Press, most recently Torch. His articles have appeared in the Naval War College Review, Warship, MHQ, Storia Militare, and other periodicals and journals. He holds a history degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

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