The War for the Seas: A Maritime History of World War II

The War for the Seas: A Maritime History of World War II

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A bold and authoritative maritime history of World War II which takes a fully international perspective and challenges our existing understanding.

The battle for control of the seas was crucial to determining the outcome of the Second World War. But how, facing the supremely effective German war machine, could Britain, the US and their allies successfully block the enemy at sea?

In this authoritative and richly detailed account of wartime sea power, Evan Mawdsley traces events from the first German U boat operations in September 1939 through to the surrender of the last U boats in May 1945. Covering all the major battles in the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, War for the Seas surveys the efforts of sea powers both major and minor, including the British Empire, United States, Japan and Germany as well as France, Italy and the Soviet Union. Mawdsley discusses the role of individual leaders, technical competition and change, and logistics and intelligence and provides a host of new insights into the epic struggle to defeat the Axis powers.


568 pages

From the battle of Jutland to the battle of Trafalgar, discover stories from the world’s largest battlefield with our War at Sea books.

"The great strength of The War for the Seas is the way in which Mawdsley, a former professor of international history at Glasgow University, treats his subject as an interconnected global story [. . .] This innovative, well-written single-volume account will be invaluable for all who study the Second World War" - Ben Wilson, The Times

 "An impeccable, myth-busting study" - Max Hastings, The Sunday Times

 "An essential contribution to understanding how command of the sea was won and with what consequences. Rich in detail on the tactics and technology that mattered, and on the roller-coaster campaigns in the Atlantic and Pacific theatres, Mawdsley provides the first full, integrated account of a truly global dimension to the war" - Richard Overy, author of The Bombing War: Europe, 1939-1945

"The beautifully crafted and deeply research maritime history of WWII that we have always needed. Few books deserve to be called 'definitive' - ; this is one of them.” Joseph Maiolo, author of Cry Havoc: How the Arms Race Drove the World to War 1931-1941

 "Will be prized for its concision, clarity and sound judgement, all backed by impeccable scholarship.' - Simon Ball,The Bitter Sea: The Struggle for Mastery in the Mediterranean, 1935-1949

 "This powerfully argued re-appraisal establishes Command of the Sea as the critical issue that shaped and defined the Second World War. By securing control of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean the Allies were able to operate together, including supplying the Soviet Union with essential aid. The same Command of the Sea kept the Axis powers apart, and they were defeated in detail by globally deployable air and land forces" - Andrew Lambert, author of The Challenge: Britain Against America in the Naval War of 1812

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