A brilliant exploration of the significance of maritime power in shaping the western ideal of political freedom – two studies from Peter Padfield


Maritime supremacy & the opening of the western mind : naval campaigns that shaped the modern world Woodstock, N.Y. : Overlook Press, 2000      Peter Padfield Naval history, Modern Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. viii, 340 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [321]-329) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

In the great wars of modern history, maritime powers have always prevailed over land-based empires, whether Habsburg, Napoleonic, Nazi, or Soviet. This extraordinary book charts the growth of these powers in various western countries while revealing the way in which supremacy at sea freed thought and society itself. As noted historian Peter Padfield demonstrates, those nations attaining mastery at sea have been distinguished by liberty, flexibility, and enterprise, a historical lesson of burning relevance today.

Maritime Supremacy details the struggles of the first supreme maritime powers of the modern age, the Dutch and the British, and ends with the emergence of the ultimate successor, the United States of America. Changes in society, politics, trade – including the slave trade – and in naval capability are interwoven with descriptions of the great sea battles by which world power was won. Bringing the characters vividly to life and immersing the reader in the drama of events, Padfield challenges our view of the evolution of today’s world.

Maritime power & the struggle for freedom : naval campaigns that shaped the modern world, 1788-1851 Woodstock : Overlook Press, 2005      Peter Padfield Naval history, Modern 18th-19th century Hardcover.  xii, 451 p. : ill., maps ; 23 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [431]-437) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

In Maritime Supremacy, renowned naval historian Peter Padfield was acclaimed for bringing a fresh perspective to world history by looking at it through the lens of naval history, as no one had before. Now, in the long-awaited follow-up to that book, Maritime Power, Peter Padfield skillfully combines the drama of battle with a trenchant analysis of the causes of victory, revealing the fascinating hidden constant of history whereby sea powers have, throughout the modern era, prevailed over land-based empires.

In the history of warfare at sea, no era can match the glory of the Nelson era, during which Britain gained supremacy over her rival, Napoleonic France in the Battle of Trafalgar of 1805, and after which she was to find a new rival, the young United States, in the War of 1812. Padfield sets the reader on the gun deck, amid the cannons, smoke, blood, and death and offers naval campaigns and sea battles as vivid a anything you will find in fiction. In his deft and astute analysis of the factors that led Britain to global dominance in the nineteenth century, Padfield shows naval history to be a major determinant and shaper of the modern world.

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