Mahan: The Life and Work of Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, U.S.N.

By W. D. Puleston | Go to book overview

Chapter XXXVIII "Some Neglected Aspects of War"

EARLY in the summer of 1907, the Mahans sailed for New York and went directly to Quogue, where they arrived in June. Mahan plunged into the work that had accumulated for him. In addition to supervising the installments of his autobiography appearing in Harper's, he was preparing them for publication as a book. With the aid and encouragement of Mr. Brown of Little, Brown, and Company he was assembling another short book, "Some Neglected Aspects of War", to preserve in permanent form his two recent articles concerning the questions before the second Hague Conference and two others of similar import, The Moral Aspect of War and War from the Christian Standpoint, which had been inspired by the first Hague Conference.

By early September he had completed all the proofreading of his autobiography, which Harper was publishing in October under the title From Sail to Steam. He turned immediately to Some Neglected Aspects of War. But he had tried to do too much. Before the middle of September he was seriously ill. The doctors found that his heart and arteries were in poor condition, and warned him that he must live more quietly. Mahan consoled himself with the thought that his condition was "but the common lot of man." Later in the month his prostate gland was affected. An operation became necessary, and he had to race to finish the remaining work on his book first. In spite of everything he insisted on doing his own proofreading; he reluctantly abandoned some intended revision, and had barely finished the proofs of the last galley when he climbed into the ambulance to be driven to the hospital.

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