Naval warfare/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about Naval warfare.
Please sort and annotate in a user-friendly manner. For formatting, consider using automated reference wikification.



  • Bruce, Anthony and Cogar, William. An Encyclopedia of Naval History. (1998). 440 pp.
  • Dupuy, R. Ernest and Trevor N. Dupuy. Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 BC to the Present (1977) 1465pp; complete summary of a;l; major battles, campaigns and wars
  • George, James L. History of Warships: From Ancient Times to the Twenty-First Century. (1998). 353 pp. and text search
  • Humble, Richard. Naval Warfare: An Illustrated History. (1983). 304 pp, elementary survey
  • Ireland, Bernard and Gibbons, Tony. Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail. (2000). 240 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Keegan, John. The Price of Admiralty: The Evolution of Naval Warfare. (1989). 292 pp.
  • Padfield, Peter. Maritime Supremacy and the Opening of the Western Mind: Naval Campaigns that Shaped the Modern World (2002) excerpt and text search
  • Padfield, Peter. Maritime Power and the Struggle for Freedom: Naval Campaigns That Shaped the Modern World, 1788-1851. (2005). 480 pp.
  • Potter, E. B. Sea Power: A Naval History (1982), covers all major battled in world history
  • Rose, Susan. Medieval Naval Warfare, 1000-1500 (2002) online edition
  • Rose, Susan. "Islam Versus Christendom: the Naval Dimension, 1000-1600." Journal of Military History 1999 63(3): 561-578. Issn: 0899-3718 Fulltext: in Jstor
  • Sondhaus, Lawrence. Naval Warfare, 1815-1914 (2001) online edition
  • Tucker, Spencer C. and Frederiksen, John, eds. Naval Warfare: An International Encyclopedia. 3 vol. (2002). 1,231 pp.
  • Willmott, H. P. Sea Warfare: Weapons, Tactics and Strategy. (1982). 165 pp. short survey by leading historian

Major nations

Britain and Royal Navy

  • Kennedy, Paul. The Rise And Fall of British Naval Mastery (1986) 405pp
  • Rodger, N. A. M. The Safeguard of the Sea: A Naval History of Britain 660-1649 vol 1 (1999) 691pp; excerpt and text search
  • Rodger, N. A. M. The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815 (2006), 976pp excerpt and text search

United States

  • Howarth, Stephen. To Shining Sea -- A History of the United States Navy, 1775-1991 (1991).
  • Love, Robert W. History of the US Navy: 1942-1991 (1992) excerpt and text search
  • Love, Robert W. History of the US Navy: 1775-1941 (1992) excerpt and text search

Sea Power

  • Koburger Jr. Charles W. Sea Power in the Twenty-First Century: Projecting a Naval Revolution (1997) online edition
  • Mahan, Alfred Thayer. The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 (1890) 557 pages; perhaps the most influential history book ever written Google version


  • George, James L. History of Warships: From Ancient Times to the Twenty-First Century. (1998). 353 pp.; strong on details such as ship weights and armaments; and text search
  • Ireland, Bernard, and Tony Gibbons. Jane's Battleships of the 20th Century (1996), technical details
  • Ireland, Bernard, and Tony Gibbons. Jane's Naval Airpower(2003)
  • Lautenshläger, Karl. "The Submarine in Naval Warfare, 1901-2001." International Security 1986-1987 11(3): 94-140. Issn: 0162-2889; important wide-ranging survey; Fulltext: in Jstor
  • Parrish, Thomas. The Submarine: A History. (2004). 572 pp. excerpt and text search


See also Naval guns

  • Brown, David K. Eclipse of the Big Gun: The Warship 1906-45 (1992)
  • Friedman, Norman. U.S. Naval Weapons: Every Gun, Missile, Mine and Torpedo Used by the U.S. Navy from 1883 to the Present (1983), highly detailed guide
  • Greene, Jack, and Alessandro Massignani. Ironclads at War: The Origin and Development of the Armored Warship, 1854-1891 (1998) online edition
  • Guilmartin, John F., Jr. Gunpowder and Galleys: Changing Technology and Mediterranean Warfare at Sea in the Sixteenth Century (2003)
  • Lambert, Nicholas A. Sir John Fisher's Naval Revolution (2002) excerpt and text search
  • McBride, William M. Technological Change and the United States Navy, 1865-1945 (2000) excerpt and text search
  • Morison, Elting E. Men Machines and Modern Times (1968) excerpt and text search
  • Sumida, Jon Tetsuro. "A Matter of Timing: The Royal Navy and the Tactics of Decisive Battle, 1912–1916," Journal of Military History 67 (January 2003): 85–136 in JSTOR


Early Modern: 1500-1700

  • Corbett, Julian S. Drake and the Tudor Navy: With a History of the Rise of England as a Maritime Power (1898) online edition vol 1; also online edition vol 2
  • Palmer, M. A. J. "The 'Military Revolution' Afloat: The Era of the Anglo-Dutch Wars and the Transition to Modern Warfare at Sea." War in History April 1997, Vol. 4 Issue 2, pp 23-149, ISSN:0968-3445 in EBSCO Relates the Anglo-Dutch wars to the transition to modern warfare at sea with attention to the pressures of the military revolution and effects of technology to sea warfare.

18th century

  • Allen, Gardner W. A Naval History of the American Revolution (1913) online at Google
  • Fowler, William M. Rebels Under Sail (1976), the standard scholarly history of the naval warfare during the American Revolution
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot. John Paul Jones (1959), Pulitzer Prize excerpt and text search
  • Thomas, Evan. John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy (2003) excerpt and text search

20th century

  • Lautenshläger, Karl. "The Submarine in Naval Warfare, 1901-2001." International Security 1986-1987 11(3): 94-140. Issn: 0162-2889; important wide-ranging survey; Fulltext: in Jstor
World War I

See also World War I

  • Gray, Edwyn A. The U-Boat War, 1914-1918 (1994)
  • Halpern, Paul G. A Naval History of World War I(1995)
  • Hough, Richard. The Great War at Sea, 1914-1918. (1984). 353 pp.
  • Marder, Arthur. From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow: 5 vol. vol 1: The Royal Navy in the Fisher Era, 1904-1919; vol. 2: The War Years: To the Eve of Jutland (1966); vol. 3: Jutland and After: May 1916-December 1916 (1970); vol 4: 1917 Year of Crisis (197); vol. 5: Victory and Aftermath (January 1918-June 1919) (1970); the standard scholarly history
  • Massie, Robert K. Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea. (2003). 880 pp. excerpt and text search
World War II

See also World War II, Pacific

  • Blair, Clay Jr. Silent Victory: The U.S. Submarine War Against Japan (1975).
Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941
  • Buell, Thomas. Master of Seapower: A Biography of Admiral Ernest J. King (1976).
  • Dunnigan, James F. and Nofi, Albert A. Victory at Sea: World War II in the Pacific. (1995). 576 pp.
  • Gailey, Harry A. The War in the Pacific: From Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay (1995) online edition
  • King, Ernest J. U.S. Navy at War, 1941-1945: Official Reports to the Secretary of the Navy (1946) online edition
  • Kirby, S. Woodburn. The War Against Japan. 4 vols. (1957-1965). Highly detailed official Royal Navy history.
  • Miller, Nathan. War at Sea: A Naval History of World War II. (1995). 576 pp. popular
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot. The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War (1963), one-volume version of his massive 15 vol history (1947-62) of combat operations
  • Potter, John D. Yamamoto 1967.
  • Prange, Gordon W. At Dawn We Slept. 1982. Pearl Harbor
  • Prange, Gordon W. Miracle at Midway (1982).
  • Reynolds, Clark G. The Fast Carriers: Forging of an Air Navy (1968).
  • Spector, Ronald. Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan Free Press, 1985.
  • Turnbull, Archibald D. and Clifford Lord. History of United States Naval Aviation (1949).
  • Vandervat, Dan. The Atlantic Campaign: World War II's Great Struggle at Sea. (1988). 424 pp.

Cold war and after

  • Brasher, Bart. Implosion: Downsizing the U.S. Military, 1987-2015 (2000) online edition
  • Duncan, Francis. Rickover and the Nuclear Navy (1990).
  • Hartmann, Frederick H. Naval Renaissance -- The U.S. Navy in the 1980s (1990).
  • Lehman, John F., Jr. Command of the Seas: Building the 600 Ship Navy (1989).
  • Love, Robert W. History of the US Navy: 1942-1991 (1992) excerpt and text search
  • O'Brien, Phillips Payson, ed. Technology and Naval Combat in the Twentieth Century and Beyond. (2001). 272 pp.
  • Ryan, Paul B. First Line of Defense -- The U.S. Navy Since 1945 (1981)