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)

To Crown the Waves: The Great Navies of the First World War

To Crown the Waves: The Great Navies of the First World WarTo Crown the Waves by Richard Worth, W. David Dickson
ISBN: 9781612512693
Published by Naval Institute Press on July 15, 2013
Genres: History, Military, World War I
Pages: 336

Another innovative way to look at the First World War at sea, this book has separate chapters on the navies of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, and the United States. The navies of Japan and the Ottoman Empire receive more limited coverage in a single chapter. Each chapter is written by an expert on the navy it covers. For each of the major navies, there are detailed descriptions under various headings, e.g., “Backstory” (outlining the navy’s pre-1914 history), “Organization” (with subheadings for Command Structure, Fleet Organization and Order of Battle, Communications, and Intelligence), “Infrastructure, Logistics, and Commerce,” “Personnel,” etc. Other sections cover doctrine, ships, aviation and weapons, as well as “War Experience and Evolution.” The result is a unique portrait of each navy that highlights its strengths and weaknesses.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I contributed the chapter on the Russian Imperial Navy.

(Notes by Steve McLaughlin)

Clash of Fleets: Naval Battles of the Great War, 1914–18

Clash of Fleets: Naval Battles of the Great War, 1914–18Clash of Fleets by Vincent P. O'Hara, Leonard R. Heinz
ISBN: 9781682470190
Published by Naval Institute Press on April 15, 2017
Genres: History, Military, Naval
Pages: 264

This innovative book looks at every single surface action involving ships of over 100 tons displacement—that is, it excludes only the smallest of patrol craft. The coverage is comprehensive, and is broken down by year, and then by theater. Each entry includes a listing of the ships involved, the commanding officer on each side, the weather conditions, the missions the two sides were engaged in when the action took place, and a succinct description of the action. Not to be overlooked are the excellent strategic overviews that begin each major section, and the analysis in the final chapter. There are superb charts throughout, specially drawn by O’Hara.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I helped the authors research the actions involving the Russian Navy.

(Notes by Steve McLaughlin)

A Naval History of World War I

A Naval History of World War IA Naval History of World War I by Paul Halpern
ISBN: 9781612511726
Published by Naval Institute Press on October 11, 2012
Genres: History, Military, World War I
Pages: 616

This work is still regarded as the gold standard for overall histories of the First World War at sea. It covers every theater of the war, and the author consulted not only English-language sources but made extensive use of French and German documents and publications as well. Originally published as a hardback, it has been reissued several times in paperback.

(Notes by Steve McLaughlin)

Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and Technology

Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and TechnologyFighting the Great War at Sea by Norman Friedman
ISBN: 9781612519593
Published by Naval Institute Press on October 15, 2014
Genres: History, Military, Naval
Pages: 320

A mammoth and well-illustrated work by an expert in naval affairs and a prolific author. This book delves into the details of the war, with chapters on (for example), “Blockade, Trade Warfare and Economic Attack,” “The Chessboard—Naval Geography,” “Fleets in Battle,” “Inshore Operations and an Inshore Fleet,” etc.

(Notes by Steve McLaughlin)

Hunters and Killers, Volume 1: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1776 to 1943

Hunters and Killers, Volume 1: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1776 to 1943Hunters and Killers: Volume 1: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1776 to 1943 by Norman Polmar, Edward Whitman
ISBN: 1591146895
Published by Naval Institute Press on November 30, 2015
Genres: Naval
Pages: 224

Part of a two volume history of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), this covers the innovative but rudimentary sensors and weapons the Allies used to counter German U-boats in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, although the U-boats were never completely defeated in the Great War. In August 1914 Germany had only 30 operational submarines compared to Britain’s 75, France’s 50, and Russia’s 25. Unrestricted U-boat attacks were curtailed in 1915 in response to protests by the USA. Includes short bios on key scientists and naval leaders. Fine overview.

Reviewed by Dana Lombardy, publisher of WWOI

The Baltimore Sabotage Cell: German Agents, American Traitors, and the U-Boat Deutschland During World War I

The Baltimore Sabotage Cell: German Agents, American Traitors, and the U-Boat Deutschland During World War IThe Baltimore Sabotage Cell by Dwight Messimer
ISBN: 9781612518695
Published by Naval Institute Press on March 15, 2015
Genres: History, Military, Naval
Pages: 280

The book’s focus on U-Boat Deutschland makes it easy to understand the experimental vessel and keep track of the groups connected with it. Deutschland was one of two subs designed as underwater freighters to avoid the British blockade. The other, the Bremen, was lost at sea on its initial voyage.

Support of the U-Boat was only one of the activities of the Baltimore sabotage group; it also attempted to spread diseases to horses being sent to the Allies.

Deutschland made only two successful trips before it was re-commissioned as a standard submarine after America entered the war.

The Germans and Americans in the U.S. who acquired the trade goods for shipment to Germany were in peril once the U.S. entered the war; most escaped. While some people, civilian and military, toured and inspected the Deutschland while docked in Baltimore, it was not until after the war that interviews with the cell’s surviving participants revealed how extensive and successful the Baltimore group had been.

A well written and unexpectedly interesting case study of an unusual aspect of the war.

Reviewed by Anne Merritt

The U-boat Century: German Submarine Warfare, 1906-2006

The U-boat Century: German Submarine Warfare, 1906-2006The U-boat Century: German Submarine Warfare, 1906-2006 by Jak P. Mallmann Showell
ISBN: 1591148928
Published by Naval Institute Press on October 10th 2006
Genres: Germany, Military, Naval

Len's Summary: A selection of the History Book Club. In 1915, U-Boats sank 555 Entente merchant vessels; in 1916, the number climbed to 1.300; and, in 1917 over 3,000 Allied vessels were sent to the bottom by U-Boats. These losses were never replicated, even in the Battle of the Atlantic in World War Two, as is pointed out by the author.

German Battlecruisers of World War One: Their Design, Construction and Operations

German Battlecruisers of World War One: Their Design, Construction and OperationsGerman Battlecruisers of World War One: Their Design, Construction and Operations by Gary Staff, Marsden Samuel
ISBN: 1591141915
Published by Naval Institute Press on December 15th 2014
Genres: Germany, Military, Naval, Technology & Engineering
Pages: 320

Len's Summary: Rare book in English detailing a major Imperial German ship type.

A Handful of Bullets: How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the Peace

A Handful of Bullets: How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the PeaceA Handful of Bullets: How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the Peace by Harlan Ullman
ISBN: 1612517994
Published by Naval Institute Press on December 15th 2014
Genres: Political Science, International Relations, Diplomacy
Pages: 256

Len's Summary: A failure of diplomacy and statesmanship; drawing lessons and parallels from history to cope with today’s strategic issues.

Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and Technology

Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and TechnologyFighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and Technology by Norman Friedman
ISBN: 9781591141884
Published by Naval Institute Press on October 15th 2014
Genres: History, Military, Naval, Strategy
Pages: 416

Len's Summary: Written by a premier American naval historian. While not the decisive front in WWI, the war at sea was vital to Allied victory.

Find and Destroy: Antisubmarine Warfare in World War I

Find and Destroy: Antisubmarine Warfare in World War IFind and Destroy: Antisubmarine Warfare in World War I by Dwight R. Messimer
ISBN: 1557504474
Published by Naval Institute Press on September 2001
Genres: History, Military, Weapons
Pages: 312

Len's Summary: Messimer is a lecturer in History at San Diego State University and a specialist in WWI and early American aviation. His research benefited from his knowledge of German…

The Starvation Blockades: Naval Blockades of WWI

The Starvation Blockades: Naval Blockades of WWIThe Starvation Blockades: Naval Blockades of WWI by Nigel Hawkins
ISBN: 9780850529081
Published by Naval Institute Press on 2002
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Naval
Pages: 262

Len's Summary: A fine survey history of the Royal Navy distant blockade of Germany and the German U-boat war against Great Britain.

Naval Firepower: Battleship Guns and Gunnery in the Dreadnaught Era

Naval Firepower: Battleship Guns and Gunnery in the Dreadnaught EraNaval Firepower: Battleship Guns and Gunnery in the Dreadnaught Era by Norman Friedman
ISBN: 1591145554
Published by Naval Institute Press on January 1st 2008
Genres: History, Military, Weapons, Naval
Pages: 319

Chief of Staff, Vol. 1: The Principal Officers Behind History’s Great Commanders, Napoleonic Wars to World War I

Chief of Staff, Vol. 1: The Principal Officers Behind History’s Great Commanders, Napoleonic Wars to World War IChief of Staff, Vol. 1: The Principal Officers Behind History's Great Commanders, Napoleonic Wars to World War I by David T. Zabecki
ISBN: 9781591149903
Published by Naval Institute Press on 2008
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Military, History, Strategy
Pages: 241

Len's Summary: First of two volumes examining the role of the military chief of staff.

Through the Wheat: the U.S. Marine Corps in World War I

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Through the Wheat: the U.S. Marine Corps in World War IThrough the Wheat: The U.S. Marines in World War I by Edwin H. Simmons, Joseph H. Alexander
ISBN: 1591148316
Published by Naval Institute Press on 2011-09
Genres: History, Military, World War I, World War II, United States

Len's Summary: The long-awaited history of the Marines in WWI by a former Marine Corps Historian. Completed following Simmons’ death by Joe Alexander. Recounts action by the Fourth Marine Brigade of the 2nd Division at Belleau Wood, Soissons, Blanc Mont, St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne.

United States Navy in the Pacific, 1909-1922

United States Navy in the Pacific, 1909-1922United States Navy in the Pacific, 1909-1922 by William Reynolds Braisted
ISBN: 1591140889
Published by Naval Institute Press on April 1st 2008
Genres: History, Military, United States, Naval
Pages: 760

Len's Summary: The second of two volumes, analyses rising tensions with Japan during the Taft Administration, the US Navy in the Pacific during WWI, the decision to build a navy second to none, the 1916 Naval Construction Act, and the post-war Washington Navel Disarmament Conference ending in 1922.

British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War

British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World WarBritish Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War by Norman Friedman
ISBN: 9781591140818
Published by Naval Institute Press on December 1st 2009
Genres: History, Military, General, Naval, Great Britain
Pages: 320

Len's Summary: First detailed study of Royal Navy destroyers and their predecessors from the 1880s to the 1930s.

Clydebank Battlecruisers: Forgotten Photographs from John Brown’s Shipyard

Clydebank Battlecruisers: Forgotten Photographs from John Brown’s ShipyardClydebank Battlecruisers: Forgotten Photographs from John Brown's Shipyard by Ian Johnston
ISBN: 9781591141204
Published by Naval Institute Press on August 15th 2011
Genres: History, Military, General, Pictorial, Naval, Transportation, Ships & Shipbuilding
Pages: 192

Len's Summary: Account of the five battlecruisers built by John Brown from 1907 to 1920 culminating with HHS Hood, the largest warship of her day.

America’s Black Sea Fleet: The U.S. Navy Amidst War and Revolution, 1919-1923

America’s Black Sea Fleet: The U.S. Navy Amidst War and Revolution, 1919-1923America's Black Sea Fleet: The U.S. Navy Amidst War and Revolution, 1919-1923 by Robert Shenk
ISBN: 9781612510538
Published by Naval Institute Press on 2012
Genres: History, Military, Other, Naval, Europe, Russia & the Former Soviet Union
Pages: 365

Len's Summary: In the turbulent aftermath of WWI, a US Navy squadron (based in Constantinople) was active in rescuing White Russians from the Crimea, transporting food to famine-stricken Russia and in evacuating Armenian and Greek refugees from Turkey.

The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command

The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval CommandThe Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command by Andrew Gordon
ISBN: 9781591143369
Published by Naval Institute Press on February 1st 2013
Genres: History, Military, Strategy, World War I, Naval
Pages: 708

Len's Summary: First published in 2000; a re-examination of the major fleet confrontation of WWI. // A fresh analysis of Royal Navy command and tactics.

British Cruisers of the Victorian Era

British Cruisers of the Victorian EraBritish Cruisers of the Victorian Era by Norman Friedman
ISBN: 9781591140689
Published by Naval Institute Press on November 15th 2012
Genres: History, Europe, Great Britain, Military, World War I, Other, Naval
Pages: 352

Len's Summary: The last class of these fast, lightly-protected cruisers designed mainly to serve at far-flung foreign stations was built in 1906. Many, though obsolescent, served in WWI.

Riders of the Apocalypse: German Cavalry and Modern Warfare, 1870-1945

Riders of the Apocalypse: German Cavalry and Modern Warfare, 1870-1945Riders of the Apocalypse: German Cavalry and Modern Warfare, 1870-1945 by D. R. Dorondo
ISBN: 9781612510866
Published by Naval Institute Press on May 15th 2012
Genres: History, Military, General, World War II, Other, Technology & Engineering, Military Science
Pages: 312

Len's Summary: A history of the German cavalry from the Franco-Prussian War to the end of World War Two.

British Battleships of World War One

British Battleships of World War OneBritish Battleships of World War One by R. A. Burt
ISBN: 9781591140535
Published by Naval Institute Press on November 15th 2012
Genres: History, Europe, Great Britain, Military, World War I, Naval, Transportation, Ships & Shipbuilding
Pages: 352

Len's Summary: Revised edition of an excellent and detailed reference work.

To Crown the Waves: The Great Navies of the First World War

To Crown the Waves:  The Great Navies of the First World WarTo Crown the Waves: The Great Navies of the First World War by Vincent P. O'Hara, W. David Dickson, Richard Worth
ISBN: 9781612510828
Published by Naval Institute Press on July 15th 2013
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Naval
Pages: 349

Len's Summary: The history, training, organization, doctrine, and materiel of the British Royal, French, Italian, German, Imperial Russian and American navies and how their unique characteristics governed how they fought in WWI.

Airship: Design, Development and Disaster

Airship: Design, Development and DisasterAirship by John Swinfield
ISBN: 9781591140344
Published by Naval Institute Press on 2012
Genres: History, Military, Aviation, Modern, 20th Century, Transportation, General
Pages: 336

Len's Summary: Development of the rigid airship with a short section on Zeppelins.