Writing critically about something you have come to regard with affection must provoke mixed emotions. As I learned more and more about the modern battleship's shortcomings, I found myself, like so many before me, falling under its spell. I have traveled hundreds of miles to visit these wonderful ships, reverently preserved like a necklace of talismans around our nation's coasts. I have stood in awe under the great guns, wondering what it must have been like to hear them fire. Perhaps it is true that their sound and fury signified very little in terms of actual destructive power. But most people thought they did, and that was and still is important. Besides, for the most part, we were proud of those ships. Now we live in a time of weapons so terrible that we must actually hide them-beneath the ground and below the surface of the sea. But, like battleships, they keep the peace precisely because of what others think they can do. All things being equal, who would not prefer the dreadnoughts?
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations -- Preface -- 1. Introduction: A Fatal Vision -- 2. In the Beginning: Traditions of the Naval World -- 3. Upon This Rock: The Technological Revolution and the Prophet Mahan -- 4. Crusaders in Blue and the Grail of Seapower -- 5. Sacred Vessel: The Dreadnought -- 6. The Evil Below ... and Above -- 7. Trial by Fire: Battle in the North Sea -- 8. Crisis of Faith: Protecting the North Atlantic -- 9. Martyrdom: Dreadnoughts in the Wake of Versailles -- 10. Requiem: The Washington Naval Conference -- 11. Life After Death: Rehabilitating the Dreadnought -- 12. Conclusion: Vampires of Seapower -- Appendix -- Notes -- About the Book and Author -- Index.
Robert L. O'Connell is Senior Analyst at the U.S. Army Intelligence Agency's Foreign Science and Technology Center. He was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. He has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia. Dr. O'Connells first book was Of Arms and Men: A History of War, Weapons, and Aggression. He is a contributing editor to MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, for which he has written numerous articles and essays.