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Sea Power
Cover of Sea Power
Sea Power
The History and Geopolitics of the World's Oceans
From one of the most admired admirals of his generation — and the only admiral to serve as Supreme Allied Commander at NATO — comes a remarkable voyage through all of the world's most important bodies of water, providing the story of naval power as a driver of human history and a crucial element in our current geopolitical path.

From the time of the Greeks and the Persians clashing in the Mediterranean, sea power has determined world power. To an extent that is often underappreciated, it still does. No one understands this better than Admiral Jim Stavridis. In Sea Power, Admiral Stavridis takes us with him on a tour of the world's oceans from the admiral's chair, showing us how the geography of the oceans has shaped the destiny of nations, and how naval power has in a real sense made the world we live in today, and will shape the world we live in tomorrow.

Not least, Sea Power is marvelous naval history, giving us fresh insight into great naval engagements from the battles of Salamis and Lepanto through to Trafalgar, the Battle of the Atlantic, and submarine conflicts of the Cold War. It is also a keen-eyed reckoning with the likely sites of our next major naval conflicts, particularly the Arctic Ocean, Eastern Mediterranean, and the South China Sea. Finally, Sea Power steps back to take a holistic view of the plagues to our oceans that are best seen that way, from piracy to pollution.

When most of us look at a globe, we focus on the shape of the of the seven continents. Admiral Stavridis sees the shapes of the seven seas. After reading Sea Power, you will too. Not since Alfred Thayer Mahan's legendary The Influence of Sea Power upon History have we had such a powerful reckoning with this vital subject.
From one of the most admired admirals of his generation — and the only admiral to serve as Supreme Allied Commander at NATO — comes a remarkable voyage through all of the world's most important bodies of water, providing the story of naval power as a driver of human history and a crucial element in our current geopolitical path.

From the time of the Greeks and the Persians clashing in the Mediterranean, sea power has determined world power. To an extent that is often underappreciated, it still does. No one understands this better than Admiral Jim Stavridis. In Sea Power, Admiral Stavridis takes us with him on a tour of the world's oceans from the admiral's chair, showing us how the geography of the oceans has shaped the destiny of nations, and how naval power has in a real sense made the world we live in today, and will shape the world we live in tomorrow.

Not least, Sea Power is marvelous naval history, giving us fresh insight into great naval engagements from the battles of Salamis and Lepanto through to Trafalgar, the Battle of the Atlantic, and submarine conflicts of the Cold War. It is also a keen-eyed reckoning with the likely sites of our next major naval conflicts, particularly the Arctic Ocean, Eastern Mediterranean, and the South China Sea. Finally, Sea Power steps back to take a holistic view of the plagues to our oceans that are best seen that way, from piracy to pollution.

When most of us look at a globe, we focus on the shape of the of the seven continents. Admiral Stavridis sees the shapes of the seven seas. After reading Sea Power, you will too. Not since Alfred Thayer Mahan's legendary The Influence of Sea Power upon History have we had such a powerful reckoning with this vital subject.
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Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 10, 2017
    Stavridis, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, summons the collected knowledge of his extensive career as an operational commander to provide insight into navies’ routine functioning. He structures his case studies of maritime warfare according to applied naval tactics and strategy, and an analysis of “the influence of the sea on geopolitics” from a naval perspective—the oceans’ physical characteristics and their strategic impacts on “the vast water world we call earth”—sits at the work’s core. The Pacific remains a site of both ambition and communication, with corresponding possibilities for “an explosive war.” The Atlantic, for the first time in its history, is now “a zone of cooperation and peace.” The Indian Ocean and its Arabian satellite are ringed with potential flashpoints. War at sea began in the “unrelenting arena” of the Mediterranean, which retains its potential for violence. Stavridis finds its counterpart in the South China Sea, a relative newcomer to maritime geopolitics but a near-certain “maritime hinge” of the 21st century. He also outlines the roles played by the Caribbean Sea and Arctic Ocean. It’s a stimulating and provocative work, and Stavridis’s chapter on the “outlaw sea” is a timely reminder that oceans may seemed tamed—but that’s only true on the surface. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from April 1, 2017
    A retired Navy admiral tells the history of the seas and gives an updated look at their strategic importance.Stavridis (Dean, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy/Tufts Univ.; The Accidental Admiral, 2014, etc.) knows his maritime history, but equally important is his firsthand knowledge of the seas as a naval officer who has steered ships and served as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. The book is organized into separate chapters on each of the world's major bodies of water: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic oceans, plus the Mediterranean, the South China Sea, and the Caribbean. Two final chapters consider criminal activity on the seas and outline a modern naval strategy for America. The author's historical summaries are written in broad strokes, with only brief consideration of individual battles. He vividly relates what it felt like as a young naval officer taking a boat through the Panama Canal or the Torres Strait between Australia and New Guinea, and he adds personal authority to his more general points about the different bodies of water. His discussion of the South China Sea and the Arctic Ocean, the two areas he considers most likely to be the sites of future confrontations between major powers, serves as a reminder that America is far from the only nation with a legitimate interest in these areas. His assessments of the South China Sea seem especially apt. Stavridis is optimistic that global rivals can find ways to cooperate with each other and prevent serious conflict, though his citation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a likely engine for cooperation may need revision in light of the current presidential administration. The chapter on piracy, overfishing, and destruction of the environment is sobering, and the final chapter, which outlines the importance of naval power in the coming decades, is a good starting point for consideration of the strategic options open to the U.S. A highly readable, instructive look at the role of the oceans in our civilization, past and present.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    May 15, 2017

    As a four-star admiral in the U.S. Navy, Stavridis (law, diplomacy, Tufts Univ.; The Accidental Admiral) led a carrier strike group in combat and later became a supreme allied commander within NATO. Given his tremendous background and expertise, he is qualified to write an engrossing tale about the world's oceans. Here, each of the seven seas gets its own lengthy chapter chronicling its earliest history to the present day. Each chapter then concludes with a current view of that body of water as it relates to geopolitics, the military, world economics, and travel. Two chapters, "The Outlaw Sea" and "America and the Oceans," offer an effective conclusion. "The Outlaw Sea" covers piracy and other illegal acts throughout the world's oceans, while the final section looks ahead to America's best option for naval strategy in the 21st century. VERDICT Fans of U.S. and world naval history, those who study diplomacy and military tactics, and anyone interested in the world's major waterways should read this excellent tome.--Jason L. Steagall, Gateway Technical Coll. Lib., Elkhorn, WI

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Sea Power
Sea Power
The History and Geopolitics of the World's Oceans
Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.)
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