How to Lose a War at Sea: Foolish Plans and Great Naval Blunders, edited by Bill Fawcett, is a collection of non-fiction essays.
It is a fascinating collection of more than 30 short tracts about naval warfare and oceanic disasters. The book spans centuries: there are essays ranging from the days of the Spanish Armada to naval blunders from the 1960s.
The essays, sometimes sad, sometimes funny but often ironic, detail some of the worst gaffes, mistakes and errors to happen to the navies. These stories tell of egomaniacs whose egos didn’t match reality, miscalculations, the effects of espionage and the importance of planning.
I especially liked the essays about outlandish, unrealistic plans. Today’s reader can immediately tell they wouldn’t work, yet they somehow got a stamp of approval.
I found this book to be entertaining; I’m always amazed by bad military ideas (or ones which are just plain stupid) and how they changed history. The book is not, and is not meant to be, an encompassing history of these events (for those pick up a book like The Hunt for Hitler’s Warship by Patrick Bishop) but it does give the reader a glimpse into interesting acts which, if you choose, you can learn more about.
The book is an excellent choice for those interested in history, naval history or even if you are simply reading books in the off chance that Alex Trebek might call you out of the blue to be on Jeopardy.Powered by Sidelines