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The Price of Admiralty
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The Price of Admiralty

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  537 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Keegan is an author whose books have revolutionized the writing of military history & deepened the understanding of conflict. In THE PRICE OF ADMIRALTY, he illuminates naval operations from Nelson's day to our own. He does this by dissecting four benchmark sea battles: Trafalgar, wooden ships of the line; Jutland, ironclads; Midway, aircraft carriers; & the Battle ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published December 31st 1990 by Viking Penguin, Inc. (NYC) (first published 1988)
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Purpose of this book is to study challenges of naval warfare throughout last two hundred years, which Keegan claims was the period when major developments took place. For this purpose, the author provides case studies of four major actions during that period - Trafalgar illustrates apogee of man of war, Jutland does the same for Dreadnought era, Midway serves as the start of the age of aircraft carriers and finally clash between convoys HX 229/SC 122 and submarine packs of Dönitz in March 1943 b ...more
This book provides an overview of the development of naval warfare over the last 200 years. Keegan uses four pivotal naval battles to frame this overview: the Battle of Trafalgar (Napoleonic war), the Battle of Jutland (WWI); the Battle of Midway (WWII), and the Battle of the Atlantic (WWII). This is a well researched book and will be primarily of interest to serious naval enthusiasts. The author spends considerable energy listing the commanders and their specific ships, as well as general naval ...more
John Keegan recently died. That is a great loss. I got into a stretch where I was reading a lot of him, often on audio since his books are so well written and easy to follow. Keegan combines balanced critical history with a good story telling sense and a sensitivity for critical individuals.

This book reflects his thinking on the evolution of modern naval warfare. He does so by providing four case studies on critical battles - Trafalgar, Jutland, Midway, and the Battle of the Atlantic. All of the
Keegan's Price of Admiralty studies four naval changes in the modern world by focusing on Trafalgar (height of wooden ship action), Jutland (the Dreadnaught battleship), Midway (naval air power) and the Battle for the Atlantic (submarine warfare). Keegan's love of wooden ships and the self-sufficiency of Nelson's navy have made me read and reread O'Brian. Keegan has nothing but contempt for the Dreadnaught WWI navies - the result of an expensive arms race that always required the latest smoke-be ...more
Another excellent read by military historian John Keegan. Narrative histories of four naval battles (Trafalgar, Jutland, Midway, and a convoy attack during the Battle of the Atlantic) that each start at the strategic level (including the causes of the wars and underlying technology) and work their way down to the details of each battle and finally on individual experiences.

The book would be superb with just the traditional battle accounts, the extra focus on how the battle affected individuals g
As ever, Keegan is best when clearly explaining the broad strokes of a campaign in understandable terms and when describing the experience of battle for the individual soldier or sailor. There's no clear thesis here, though the title and some of the focus of each part seems to be a reference to casualties. It wasn't very clear to me what the link between parts was, except perhaps "this is what it was like to fight and die in naval combat in these four different battles."
Typical Keegan, which is certainly not a bad thing. In particular, the first two sections covering Trafalgar and Jutland are spot-on, and his excellent (if short) concluding section is also insightful and provocative for those interested in contemporary naval strategy and strategic trends. However, while certainly worth the time, his two sections covering Midway and the Battle of the Atlantic seemed wanting. More significantly, it seems as though Keegan himself recognizes his own limitations in ...more
A solid survey of naval warfare by the always-interesting Keegan, this book suffers some from a lack of clearly-defined audience. Although the scope of the book means that it must be targeted towards the uninitiated, Keegan's natural tendency to throoughness means that its vigor is somewhat dissipated - some passages degrade to mere listing of order of battle, captain's names, tonnage, etc.

The best sections of the book are the end, a summary and look into the future, and the coverage of midway,
Keegan does for naval warfare what he did for land warfare. He outlines key battles that exemplified a major change in warfare based upon technology or tactics: Trafalgar (wooden capital ships and "breaking the line"); Jutland (dreadnought battleships and fleet-on-fleet precision gunnery); Midway (naval air warfare and aircraft carriers and battles between fleets beyond the horizon); and Battle for the Atlantic (unrestricted submarine warfare and the development of anti-submarine warfare). If yo ...more
Roger Burk
This is a reaadable account of the battles of Trafalgar, Jutland, Midway, and the Atlantic, clearly modeled on Keegan's wonderfully innovative The Face of Battle. It's an enjoyable read, and a good introduction to these battles for those unacquainted with them. However, there's little new in it for those already familiar with them. There is some attention to the actual experience of the participants, the approach that made Face such a hit, but not enough to add up to a really new treatment.
Rand Harker
Interestingly written and well-structured, with succeeding sections on wooden walls, ironclads, carriers and submarines, and with discussions of specific battles in which each of these types of ships participated (Trafalgar, Jutland, Midway, Battle of the Atlantic). Occasionally points are raised which I would have liked to see elaborated on. For instance, why was the American submarine assault on Japan so successful, while the U-boat's attempt to subdue England by similar means a failure?
Keegan's earlier work is magisterial. Close examination of how key naval conflicts alter world history. Naval power is the key to Western civilization's endurance in the face of aggressors. Keep them away from your shores and no battles need ever be fought on land. Mahan, Polk and Monroe, filtered through President Theodore Roosevelt and his modernization of the U.S. Navy, saved America from succumbing to European and Eastern would-be hegemons.
Doug Hoffman
Keegan states that before he became a military historian he wanted to be a naval historian and this book proves it. Written with an enthusiasm not found in some of the author's other works, The Price of Admiralty is both educational and entertaining. The fog of war and the role of chance are made abundantly clear. If you are interested in history or naval warfare you should read this book.
Karl Kindt
My favorite historian does it again. I loved this book. It made me want to continue my reading of the MASTER AND COMMANDER series, to re-read THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, and visit the captured German U-505 sub in Chicago again. It truly captures the essence of naval warfare--how it differs from land war and how it has evolved over the years since the 19th century through World War II.
Excellent - Keegan applies his usual thoughtful analysis to a central element in the history of his native Britain in particular, i.e. the costs and benefits of naval hegemony. An outstanding historical review that examines not only the wars but the peacetime uses of naval power.
A chronicle of how naval warfare has not only evolved over the centuries, but how command of the seas has conferred the advantage of strategic mobility to those nations which have been willing to pay "the price of admiralty."
A chronicle of how naval warfare has not only evolved over the centuries, but how command of the seas has conferred the advantage of strategic mobility to those nations which have been willing to pay "the price of admiralty."
A bit slow in his overly-detailed way through Trafalgar. Pace picks up tremendously from Jutland and beyond. Basically "The Face of Battle" on the sea. If you liked one, you will like the other.
Fredrick Danysh
The author is a naval historian. He examines the role of national navies as projectors of national power. The navy is discussed in both war and peace.
Mark C.
Interesting analyses of the Battle of Trafalgar, the Battle of Jutland, the Battle of Midway, and the Battle of the Atlantic.

Wonderful detail, and Keegan certainly develops a coherent theme.
Loved it. Very exciting stuff. One of my favorite history books.
Mark Cooper
Apr 18, 2008 Mark Cooper marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan OBE was a British military historian, lecturer and journalist. He published many works on the nature of combat between the 14th and 21st centuries concerning land, air, maritime and intelligence warfare as well as the psychology of battle.

More about John Keegan...
The First World War The Face of Battle The Second World War A History of Warfare Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris; June 6 - Aug. 5, 1944

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