A sweeping, lavishly illustrated one-volume history of the rise of American naval power during World War II
“When he is at his best, as he often is in these pages, Kennedy can be dazzling.”—Ian W. Toll, New York Times
“The book makes for enjoyable reading, owing to the author’s easygoing style. . . . Kennedy is an academic who does not write like one; he writes a story, not a treatise.”—Robert D. Kaplan, Washington Post
“Engrossing.”—Brendan Simms, Wall Street Journal
In this engaging narrative, brought to life by marine artist Ian Marshall’s beautiful full‑color paintings, historian Paul Kennedy grapples with the rise and fall of the Great Powers during World War II. Tracking the movements of the six major navies of the Second World War—the allied navies of Britain, France, and the United States and the Axis navies of Germany, Italy, and Japan—Kennedy tells a story of naval battles, maritime campaigns, convoys, amphibious landings, and strikes from the sea. From the elimination of the Italian, German, and Japanese fleets and almost all of the French fleet, to the end of the era of the big‑gunned surface vessel, the advent of the atomic bomb, and the rise of an American economic and military power larger than anything the world had ever seen, Kennedy shows how the strategic landscape for naval affairs was completely altered between 1936 and 1946.
Paul Kennedy is J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History and director of International Security Studies at Yale University. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. Ian Marshall was a fellow and past president of the American Society of Marine Artists as well as a member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. He wrote and illustrated numerous works, including Armored Ships and Ironclads and Paddlers.
“The book makes for enjoyable reading, owing to the author’s easygoing style. . . . Kennedy is an academic who does not write like one; he writes a story, not a treatise. It is a story enhanced by Marshall’s exquisite artwork.”—Robert D. Kaplan, Washington Post
“Engrossing. . . . Alongside the pacey narrative, ranging across both the European and Pacific theaters of the war, are evocative battle-themed paintings by the late British artist Ian Marshall. . . . Kennedy convincingly shows that World War II was won, ultimately, by superior American industrial capacity. . . . A new world had been born. It was indeed, as Kennedy terms it, ‘the age of Pax Americana,’ and it originated in the American naval supremacy he so vividly chronicles in Victory at Sea.”—Brendan Simms, Wall Street Journal
“An authoritative global narrative [and] lavishly illustrated with watercolour paintings by the fine marine artist Ian Marshall, together with excellent maps and graphs. . . . I believe the Royal Navy and US navy to have been the outstanding wartime fighting services of their respective nations. Kennedy offers them a fitting tribute and a penetrating analysis.”—Max Hastings, Sunday Times
“For the illustrations alone, Victory at Sea is worth the hardcover price. . . . When he is at his best, as he often is in these pages, Kennedy can be dazzling. His prose never fails him; he is always graceful and lucid on the page.”—Ian W. Toll, New York Times
“Kennedy, the author of the epochal The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, brings his wide-ranging historical vision to this hugely authoritative history of the 1939–45 war at sea. Much conventional wisdom—about the role of the German U-boats, for instance—goes out of the window in his penetrating analysis.”—Sunday Times, “50 Best Books for the Sunlounger”
“There is no shortage of histories of naval warfare, not least on World War II. What Kennedy’s book brings is a broader perspective on the role—sometimes decisive, sometimes desultory—that naval power would play not just in breaking the power of imperial Japan, Italy, and Nazi Germany but in creating a world that would last.”—Alexander Wooley, Foreign Policy
“[Kennedy] is exceptionally well-qualified to undertake [this] wide-ranging survey. . . . [His] superb narrative and analytical powers are not the only reason to read Victory at Sea. Unusually, the publishers have chosen to illustrate the book with full-colour paintings by the late Ian Marshall. . . . A compelling read.”—Graham Goodlad, Military History Matters
“Here is yet another classic. It is a work that shows a scholar at the top of his form and it is stunningly illustrated. . . . This is a must-have book, which tells the story of world war at sea and will be read and reread.”—Peter Hore, Warships International Fleet Review
“A book that benefits from considerable research and which is beautifully illustrated, with coloured maps and graphs that help underpin Kennedy’s thesis.”—David Hobbs, Warship
“Kennedy has a real claim to be the doyen of naval historians.”—Andrew Ward, Naval Review
“A brilliant and gripping book by a master historian working at the top of his powers.”—Fredrik Logevall, Harvard University
“Paul Kennedy has written a classic in this sweeping narrative account of the desperate struggle to command the seas and America’s rise as a superpower during the Second World War.”—John H. Maurer, U.S. Naval War College
“This extraordinary work of both global history and nautical art brings two brilliant minds together in Paul Kennedy’s luminous prose and Ian Marshall’s lovely paintings.”—Admiral James Stavridis, author of 2034: A Novel of the Next World War
“In Victory at Sea, Paul Kennedy demonstrates why he is the world’s leading scholar on naval strategy. For serious students of World War II or naval history, this book is a must read.”—John J. Mearsheimer, University of Chicago
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