The Influence of Sea Power Upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793-1812: Both Volumes - the Complete and Unabridged Naval History of France before (Paperback)
Both volumes of Alfred Thayer Mahan's superbly detailed commentary of French naval prowess during the years of the French Revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic Wars are united here, complete with the author's original battle maps.
The rapidly changing technology of the era, including the emergence of early steamships, saw sea power shift to greater prominence in war. The advancement of ships was such that those with heavy firepower could mount insuperable blockades upon enemy ports and supply lines and conduct destructive bombardments from the sea - this reality made naval dominance a crucial component of winning a war.
These truths are in the fullest evidence in Mahan's history; proceeding from the eruption of the French Revolution, wherein that nation's monarchy was overthrown in favor of a Republican form of government, we witness how pivotal a role sea power played. The conflicts spread throughout the European continent, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, and into the New World of the Caribbean and North American. For every major power of the era, acquiring naval prowess proved crucial.
With political and social change ensuing at this time, Mahan demonstrates that an evolution in warfare tactics was likewise taking place. Several of the greatest battles of the period, such as the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, featured innovative formations and movements of the vessels involved. The management of a naval force is shown to be of great complexity and intricacy; gaining the upper hand, even in the event of numerical superiority, was no simple matter for the admirals and commanders of the time.
A naval historian of great renown, Alfred Thayer Mahan began his scholarly interests while still an officer in the U.S. Navy. He was formally taught, and informally studied multiple countries and eras of seagoing; going on to combine his first-hand naval skills with a superb historical scholarship. Mahan spent decades charting the progress in technology, tactical maneuvers, and the long-range strategic planning which slowly but steadily altered the way in which warfare was conducted on the high seas.
In later life, Mahan's expertise led to his being consulted by various government departments. His books, which dramatically and fluently recount many great battles and the figures behind such conflicts, remain popularly read to this day.