Indianapolis, In. : Bobbs Merrill Company, 1942. First edition. Hardcover. 275 pages : photographic illustrations ; 23 cm. Price-clipped dust jacket. Previous owner bookplate on the front free endpaper. Pages are age toned and unmarked. Binding is firm.
THE U. S. NAVY FIGHTS
Of the various conceptions of sea power, the simplest is that a strong navy protects the nation owning it from wanton aggression. And warships on the seven sea} are regarded as a guarantee that commercial interests and the rights of individual citizens will be upheld at all times. The average American undoubtedly has felt that way about his navy. He has been proud of it as a defensive force, and he would have been inclined — before Pearl Harbor, at least — to shrink from the notion that its ability to attack at a moment's notice was its greatest glory.
Indeed, the Navy has never struck a treacherous blow. But it has a long tradition of readiness to fight, because it is aware that a prompt offensive is the best form of defense. In no war has it ever hung back and waited for the enemy. American warships have seen action all over the world throughout the entire history of the Navy. It has had many more victories than defeats, and in defeat the ships overwhelmed have without exception resisted bravely to the last extremity.
This book makes clear how the United States Navy has always regarded action, attack, the offensive as the best policy — its unbroken fighting tradition. This is accomplished by telling the stories of individual ships. At least one is chosen to represent each of the nine wars in which this country has participated, and for some of the major conflicts there are several ships. There are four for the Axis War. Those that played important, lustrous, but not necessarily victorious roles have been selected. The fortunes of each vessel are followed through to the climactic moment, which is always at the height of action.
Here are the sagas of the great seamen who sailed these ships of war — John Paul Jones and Stephen Decatur, Porter, Perry, Farragut and Semmes, Dewey of Manila Bay and Lieutenant Bulkeley who fought his little PT boats on the same waters where Dewey conquered the Spaniards—and many another hero.
So we follow the gallantry of our fighting ships and fighting men from wooden hulls to ironclads and on to Midway where, with the introduction of the revolutionary offensive weapon, the airplane, one of the greatest naval victories of all times was won without any ship firing a gun at another.
The thunder and smoke and blood of the Coral Sea and Midway mark an enormous change in naval warfare. But there has been no change in the fighting spirit of our sailors. It is as strong and brave and eager in 1942 as it was in 1776, in 1812, in 1861, in 1898, in 1917. Here is the record of its glory, of a heroism that has never been found wanting.
W. Adolphe Roberts is well equipped to write this record of naval achievement. The sea is his natural element. He was born on the island of Jamaica. While he was a correspondent in the first World War, a French ship on which he was a passenger was attacked three times by submarines and chased by the German raider Moewe. He is the author of popular biographies of Sir Henry Morgan, the buccaneer, and Semmes of the Alabama, the great Confederate admiral, and of authoritative histories of The Caribbean and The French in the West Indies.
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