Iron Admirals: Naval Leadership in the Twentieth Century

Iron Admirals: Naval Leadership in the Twentieth Century

Iron Admirals: Naval Leadership in the Twentieth Century

Iron Admirals: Naval Leadership in the Twentieth Century

Synopsis

Andidora tells the story of four men who successfully commanded battlefleets in the 20th century: Japan's Heihachiro Togo, England's John Jellicoe, and America's William Halsey and Raymond Spruance. This study provides personality profiles and detailed accounts of their major battles. Analyzing their command decisions based on what each commander knew or could have reasonably inferred at the time decisions were made, Andidora compares their accomplishments to those of Horatio Nelson, who delivered stunning naval victories for England during the Napoleonic Wars. However, he concludes that the Nelsonian standard is inappropriate in the modern naval environment due to the increased size and technological complexity of modern fleets and the political imperative to preserve costly and strategically significant naval assets.

Excerpt

The antecedents of this book trace back to a pictorial history of the U.S. Navy in World War II, which my father gave me before I was able to properly care for it. My historical curiosity survives in a far more healthy condition than that of the hallowed tome. Next stop is the Carbondale Public Library that served as a young boy's island refuge in a sea of antiintellectualism. There, I discovered more ancient texts that revealed details about exotic wonders such as frigates, dreadnoughts, and battlecruisers. Finally, comes the University of Scranton where a legion of professors placed individual events in their historical context and inculcated the Jesuit tradition of analytical thinking.

This book itself is not a comprehensive history of modern naval warfare. Instead, it focuses on the four men who successfully commanded battle fleets in the twentieth century. As such, it is part biographical sketch, part narrative, and part analysis of command decisions. The last aspect will undoubtedly raise some issues as to just how "successful" these subjects were in their endeavors, especially in the cases of John Jellicoe and William Halsey. To those readers who disagree with my conclusions, I thank you for engaging in the informed debate that is the path to historical truth.

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