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Publisher's Summary

When published in hardcover in 1997, this book was praised for providing an engrossing education not only in naval strategy and tactics, but in Victorian social attitudes and the influence of character on history. In juxtaposing an operational with a cultural theme, the author comes closer than any historian yet to explaining what was behind the often-described operations of this famous 1916 battle at Jutland. Although the British fleet was victorious over the Germans, the cost in ships and men was high, and debates have raged within British naval circles ever since about why the Royal Navy was unable to take advantage of the situation. In this book, Andrew Gordon focuses on what he calls a fault line between two incompatible styles of tactical leadership within the Royal Navy and different understandings of the rules of the games.

Foreword by Admiral Sir John Woodward.

©1996 Andrew Gordon (P)2020 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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Absolutely fascinating dissection of naval strategy

I thoroughly enjoyed this book because of the insights it gave on both the Edwardian era, and the practical realities of naval warfare. I knew nothing about this topic before reading the book, and was astounded by the insight.

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I'm Glad It Was an Audiobook

This is a well-researched and expansive treatise on military - primarily naval - leadership and bureaucracy, tinted by the mores of the Victorian Age and bookended by the battle of Jutland. In the title I stated I was glad it was an audio book. That is because had I been forced to read it rather than enjoy the excellent narration of Mr. Patterson I would have never survived the ordeal. His performance made even the mundane details tolerable. True, there are some excellent lessons in leadership within and as a former naval officer (USN) I appreciate that while technology has changed, many of the challenges facing warriors have not. That said, those pearls of wisdom were regrettably rare, while the aforementioned "details" were plentiful.
For a listener interested in the naval action of the Great War and the battle of Jutland in particular, I recommend "Castles of Steel" by Robert Massie. It has much of the same information without one feeling he or she blundered into a graduate school class on management, Victorian style.

1 person found this helpful