If Mahan Ran the Great Pacific War

If Mahan Ran the Great Pacific War

An Analysis of World War II Naval Strategy
John A. Adams
Distribution: World
Publication date: 6/20/2008
ISBN: 978-0-253-00029-3
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Alfred Thayer Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power upon History (1660–1783) was one of the most influential books on military strategy in the first half of the 20th century. A core text in the naval war colleges of the United States, Britain, and Japan, Mahan's book shaped doctrine for the conduct of war at sea. Adams uses Mahan's ideas to discuss the great Pacific sea battles of World War II and to consider how well they withstood the test of actual combat. Reexamining the conduct of war in the Pacific from a single analytic viewpoint leads to some surprising conclusions about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid, the Battle of the Coral Sea, the recapture of the Philippines, and the submarine war. Naval historians and armchair strategists alike will find much food for thought in these engrossing pages.

Author Bio

John A. Adams is a retired airline executive and longtime business strategist with an interest in the use of economic principles to analyze history. Trained as a historian, he has extensively researched military strategy and tactics. He lives in Conifers, Colorado.


"If Mahan Ran the Great Pacific War provides one of the best analyses of World War II I have read. Clear and incisive, it presents the reader with both the factual material and a solid discussion of how and why the decisions of the commanders resulted in a strategic or just a tactical success or failure." —Daily News, Bowling Green, KY , March 29, 2009

"This is truly an outstanding book. Although Adams indicates it is an analysis of naval strategy of World War II in the Pacific, the lessons he presents apply to more than purely naval warfare." —
Air Power History , Spring 2010

"[A] must read for students of World War II in the Pacific and all those interested in naval and military strategy." —
Military Review , March-April 2010

"This book will be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in World War II history." —
Nautical Research Journal , Vol. 55, No. 2, Summer 2010

"There is no doubt that Mahan and his writings had an enormous effect on the US Navy's admirals during the Pacific War. This fine book shows very clearly how." —
Work Boat World , December 2010

"Students of naval history will find much to agree with in this volume, and a good deal about which to disagree, but either way they will find it worth reading." —
NYMAS Review , Fall 2011

"John Adams is one of the most remarkable individuals I have met in the course of my long academic career. His knowledge of recent military doctrine, strategy, and operations, logistics, and tactics is as deep as any of my academic colleagues." —Malcolm Muir, author of
Black Shoes and Blue Water: Surface Warfare in the United States Navy, 1945–1975

"A very interesting, well—researched, well—written work with fine and fresh analysis of the Pacific War." —Eric Osborne, author of The Battle of Heligoland Bight

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Table of Contents

List of Maps

1. Sink Ten Ships and We Win the War!
2. Initial Japanese Strategic Choices
3. Pearl Harbor
4. Yamamoto Defies Mahan
5. Guadalcanal
6. Central versus South Pacific
7. Two Prongs Divide the Fleet
8. Decisive Combat in the Marianas
9. From Honolulu's Conference Table to Leyte's Mud
10. The Naval Campaign for the Philippines
11. Mahan and the Submariners
12. Dulling the Mighty Blade
13. B-San