The Woodrow Wilson Center Press

What People are Saying

“The book is one of the most important on Mahan and the nature of naval command and should be studied wherever naval command is studied.”—Lloyd’s List

“Sumida casts new light on one of the most important strategic writers of this century.”—Journal of Military History

“Jon Sumida’s masterful explication of Mahan’s thought stands out for its superb analysis, clarity and elegance of prose, masterful synthesis of the admiral’s entire work and its amazing compression. Hereafter, no one interested in American naval history, Mahan’s ideas, or the strategic role of sea power can rightly go without reading Sumida’s slim volume. In short, it is a masterpiece.”—Brian R. Sullivan, Joint Force Quarterly

“This is a brilliant and penetrating study which revises a great deal our commonly accepted assumptions about Mahan’s arguments on the influence of seapower and on naval strategy in general. It is certain to provoke great debate.”—Paul M. Kennedy, Dilworth Professor of History and Director, International Security Studies, Yale University

Chapter List

Preface: Musical Performance, Zen Enlightenment, and Naval Command


Introduction: Resolving a Paradox

Chapter One: The Development of Professional Purpose, Geopolitical Vision, and Historical Technique

Chapter Two: Political, Political-Economic, and Governmental Argument in the “Influence of Sea Power” Series

Chapter Three: Strategic and Professional Argument in the “Influence of Sea Power” Series

Chapter Four: Strategic and Professional Argument in the Lesser Works

Chapter Five: National, Transnational, and International Politics

Chapter Six: The Uses of History and Theory


Select Analytical Index to the Writings of Alfred Thayer Mahan

About Woodrow Wilson Center Press

Woodrow Wilson Center Press publishes books by fellows, other resident scholars, and staff written in substantial part at the Wilson Center.