Bringing to a close his epic recounting of naval power in the twentieth century, Lisle Rose describes the virtual disappearance after 1945 of all but one great navy. In the first twenty years after World War II, the U.S. Navy continued the revolutionary transformation of sea power begun in the 1930s with the integration of sea, air, and amphibious capabilities. Between 1946 and 1961, the United States placed on, above, and beneath the world's oceans the mightiest concentration of military power in history. Super-carriers filled with aircraft capable of long-range nuclear strikes were joined by strategic ballistic missile submarines. Such a fleet was incredibly costly. No ally or adversary in a world recovering slowly from global war could afford to build and maintain such an awesome entity. But the U.S. Navy warships steamed where they wished throughout the globe in support of a policy to contain the influence and threat represented by the Soviet Union and China. The 1962 Cuban missile crisis, however, galvanized the Soviet leadership to construct a powerful blue-water fleet that within less than a decade began to challenge the United States for global maritime supremacy. Confronting evergrowing Soviet sea power stretched U.S. capabilities to the limit even as the fleet itself underwent revolutionary changes in its social composition. The abrupt decline and fall of the Soviet Union after 1989 led to another reappraisal of the importance, even necessity, of navies. But, the turbulent Middle East and the struggle against international terrorism after 2001 have demanded a projection of sea-air-amphibious power onto coasts and adjacent areas similar to that which America's fleets had already undertaken in Korea, Vietnam, and Lebanon. This third volume of Rose's majestic work offers readers an up-close look at the emergence of America's naval might and establishes Power at Sea as essential in tracing the emergence of U.S. dominance and understanding the continuing importance of ships and sailors in international power plays.
LISLE A. ROSE is the author of eight previous books, including The Ship That Held the Line: U.S.S. Hornet and the First Half of the Pacific War and The Cold War Comes to Main Street: America in 1950. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1954 to 1957 and in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs from 1978 to 1989. He lives in Edmonds, Washington.