Academic journal article Naval War College Review

The Development of British Naval Thinking: Essays in Memory of Bryan Ranft

Academic journal article Naval War College Review

The Development of British Naval Thinking: Essays in Memory of Bryan Ranft

Article excerpt

Till, Geoffrey, ed. The Development of British Naval Thinking: Essays in Memory of Bryan Ranft. New York: Routledge, 2006. 214pp. $125

This collection of nine essays on British naval thought from the eighteenth century to the present is both useful in itself and a fine testimonial to an individual significant in the field of maritime and naval historiography. Bryan Ranft (1917-2003) fought as a gunner in World War II and then went on to teach generations of British naval officers at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, England. For many years Ranft occupied a rather lonely position, academically speaking. Amateur naval historians like Richard Hough abounded but made no impression upon scholarship and methodology. The two modern giants Stephen Roskill and Arthur Marder were for various reasons not equivalent to the likes of Sir Michael Howard in developing military history. Naval matters were hardly taught in the academy; the Vere Harmsworth Chair at Cambridge University (Richmond's former seat) had been long lost to colonial historians, and Greenwich itself was a service institution.

However, Bryan Ranft persisted in teaching, writing, and editing naval history. His output was not great; I count two of his edited works, The Beatty Papers and Technical Change and British Naval Policy, 1860-1939, among the best of a half-dozen volumes. By the early 1980s, however, Ranft was a visiting professor of naval history at King's College, London, which was among the first of the United Kingdom's academic institutions to recognize the stupidity of ignoring British and international naval history. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.