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Publisher's Summary

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 destinies 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, the 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 seven continents. Admiral Stavridis sees the shapes of the seven seas. After listening to 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.

©2017 James Stavridis (P)2017 Penguin Audio

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Highly Recommend. Brilliant, engaging & thoughtful

Knowing that Admiral Jim Stavridis was shortlisted as a vice-presidential nominee for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s campaigns I was looking forward to this treatise from such a widely respected and experienced four star admiral who now serves as Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. The Admiral presents a vivid, entertaining, thoughtful and brilliant blend of maritime history, geopolitics and international affairs across the entire globe. The book is peppered with anecdotes and personal experiences during his service in the Navy, from midshipman to four star admiral, which adds life to the text and gives it a personal tone. So much is written about the quest for territory, but a greater understanding of the oceans and sea power has been sorely needed. The book gives a view of the world looking onshore from the seas and of how sea power has shaped our history, civilization and geopolitics. The chapters are divided by each of the globe’s major bodies of water, the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic, Arctic, etc., a fascinating journey where you would be well-served to have a map near at hand. Stavridis’ analysis provides the reader with valuable insights regarding the current state of security in different areas of the globe and prescriptions to address some of the ongoing threats in the different regions, such as China’s emergence as a global maritime power and muscle in the South China Sea or how to deal with North Korea. He even provides a fascinating view of the strategic and commercial importance of the Arctic Ocean and the positions of different stakeholders. As former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe for NATO (the only admiral to hold that post) he also provides some very valuable insights on the importance of cooperation and uses of soft and hard power. Stavridis is not just a military man, but also a consummate diplomat and student of history and culture. A Renaissance Admiral. Stavridis' extensive knowledge and personal experience make the book not only interesting and enlightening but thankfully an accessible and entertaining experience to listen.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Shallow Analysis

I got about 80% of the way through this audiobook and couldn't listen to any more of it. Half history, half personal memoir, and half recommendation for future naval strategy, the book is unsatisfying on each count. The history is sparse with respect to strategy and better histories can be found elsewhere. The memoir is not nearly as interesting as the Admiral thinks it is (though it does provide insight to the mindset of a modern US Navy officer). But most importantly Stavridis is out of his depth (forgive me) when venturing into the world of geopolitics. This weakness is most exposed when he provides his opinion on what future naval and military policy should be without any understanding of the geopolitical forces that would underlie strategic decision making. Perhaps I expected too much from a book with the word "geopolitics" right there on the cover. At times you almost sense that an editor of this book pointed out geopolitical flaws in his reasoning, but it was too late to change the general thrust of the arguments - a good example is when he mentions, in passing and basically as an afterthought that essentially undermines an entire chapter that preceded it (though it does not appear he realizes this), the effect that domestic crude oil production in the United States in the age of fracking might have on US desires to continue to be the force that ensures (and pays for) stability in the Persian Gulf (which apparently is called the "Arabian Gulf" by people in the know like Stavridis). Geopolitical analysis in the second decade of the 21st century that does not account for the fact that the world is very different now than it was for the 50-60 years following the Second World War is not worth your time. Unless you are looking for a list of books and movies that Stavridis thinks are "brilliant," use your credits elsewhere.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Not good

Really horrible no good analysis. Kaplan is still the king of geography/power analysis. Will refund.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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find a better book

the history was good but the "story time with grandpa " approach and the political lecturing was unimpressive.

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Tells how it was, is and should be

the admerak takes a sea by sea look at our power on the sea; in past, the present and the future

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Very Simple

As much a personal memoir as an analysis of the concept and strategic importance of sea power. It’s written for someone who has no background at all in world history or world politics. Disappointing for someone who does have some knowledge in those areas. Depth of commentary rarely goes beyond the level of “India and Pakistan are geopolitical rivals” or “The French Navy was essential for the American victory in the Revolution.”

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Every Naval Officer should read this book.

Admiral Stavridis truly lays out the importance of Sea Power for every body of water. It is both thought provoking and informative. Highly recommend.

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Interesting and informative

Really enjoyed the perspective of a seasoned Admiral. I bought the pnint version as well for future reference

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A Concise Primer On Oceanic Geopolitics

Fantastic balance of history, anecdotes, and qualified perspective. It covers ancient history and the state of contemporary Geopolitics as it relates to the world's oceans.

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Sea Power

Admiral Stavridis has outstanding academic credentials and extensive naval experience. Consequently, I was surprised and disappointed that his discussion of the world’s oceans was so superficial - reading more like a middle school social studies book than an in-depth analysis of the role that American sea power played and continues to play in Internatiional relations. Only in the final chapter of the book does the author give that analysis. The book does not live up to the praise from the prominent individuals quoted on the back of the dust jacket

1 of 2 people found this review helpful