Admiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty: The Last Naval Hero: An Intimate Biography

Admiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty: The Last Naval Hero: An Intimate BiographyAdmiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty by Stephen Wentworth Roskill
Published by Atheneum on 1981
Pages: 430

Although originally written almost forty years ago, this book remains an important work on a controversial figure. Roskill was sympathetic to his subject, but does not shy away from the less attractive aspects of Beatty’s personality. A balanced portrait of a man who served successively as commander of the British battlecruisers, then as commander-in-chief of the British Grand Fleet, and after the war became a successful First Sea Lord.

(Notes by Steve McLaughlin)

The Zimmermann Telegram: Intelligence, Diplomacy, and America’s Entry into World War I

The Zimmermann Telegram: Intelligence, Diplomacy, and America’s Entry into World War IThe Zimmermann Telegram by Thomas Boghardt
ISBN: 9781612511474
Published by Naval Institute Press on October 15, 2012
Genres: History, Military, World War I
Pages: 320

Although strictly speaking not a book about naval history, the group that deciphered the Zimmermann Telegram was the Royal Navy’s Room 40OB, so I think it is only just to include it with the naval titles. This major reexamination by an expert on military intelligence investigates how the infamous telegram was intercepted, deciphered, and exploited. It reaches very different conclusions from earlier studies (including Tuchman’s The Zimmermann Telegram). A thought-provoking and well-written book.

(Notes by Steve McLaughlin)

Jutland: The Naval Staff Appreciation

Jutland: The Naval Staff AppreciationJutland: The Naval Staff Appreciation by William Schleihauf
ISBN: 9781848323193
Published by Seaforth Publishing on December 31, 2016
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Naval, General
Pages: 352

I include this title with some reluctance, as I contributed some of the text and prepared the book for publication after the death of my friend, Bill Schleihauf. Nevertheless, I think it rates as an important work on the battle. The core of this book is a secret appreciation of the battle, written after the war by a pair of Royal Navy officers and suppressed because of its extreme criticism of Admiral Jellicoe. Despite its suppression, it has been used by a number subsequent historians (including Arthur J. Marder) and so has played an important part in the historiography of the battle. The notes added by Schleihauf and McLaughlin supplement the original text and point out its errors, and a collection of valuable documents is appended.

FULL DISCLOSURE: As noted above, I added some text and prepared the manuscript for publication, so I am not an unbiased reviewer!

(Notes by Steve McLaughlin)

Jutland: The Unfinished Battle

Jutland: The Unfinished BattleJutland: The Unfinished Battle: A Personal History of a Naval Controversy by Nick Jellicoe
ISBN: 1848323212
Published by US Naval Institute Press on May 15, 2016
Pages: 352

Written by the grandson of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, who commanded the British Grand Fleet at Jutland, this is a fresh examination of the battle and its aftermath, offering many new perspectives on both the British and German sides of the battle, and on the bitter controversies that have surrounded it since the moment the battered ships returned to harbor.

(Notes by Steve McLaughlin)

Jutland: World War I’s Greatest Naval Battle

Jutland: World War I’s Greatest Naval BattleJutland: World War I's Greatest Naval Battle by Michael Epkenhans, Jörg Hillmann, Frank Nägler
ISBN: 0813166055
Published by University Press of Kentucky on September 22, 2015
Pages: 397

This anthology, originally published in Germany, includes articles by both British and German scholars. They offer fresh perspectives on the battle, especially from the German side. The translations of the articles originally written in German are not as readable as one might wish, but the collection is nevertheless a valuable contribution to our understanding of the battle.

(Notes by Steve McLaughlin)