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Shield of the Republic : the United States Navy in an era of Cold War and violent peace

Author: Michael T Isenberg
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 1993-
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Summary:
Michael T. Isenberg has chronicled, in the first of a projected two-volume study, the historic institution of the United States Navy in the Cold War era. Shield of the Republic, a definitive work on the era, demonstrates both a narrative sweep and a command of style that are rare in works of modern history. The overarching themes of the book are the emergence of the two superpower nations between 1945 and 1962 and
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Genre/Form: History
Naval history
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Michael T Isenberg
ISBN: 0312099118 9780312099114
OCLC Number: 28418668
Description: volumes <1> : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Contents: Vol. 1. 1945-1962.
Responsibility: Michael T. Isenberg.

Abstract:

Michael T. Isenberg has chronicled, in the first of a projected two-volume study, the historic institution of the United States Navy in the Cold War era. Shield of the Republic, a definitive work on the era, demonstrates both a narrative sweep and a command of style that are rare in works of modern history. The overarching themes of the book are the emergence of the two superpower nations between 1945 and 1962 and an examination of the technologies that rang down the curtain on the Mahanian age of sail. At the conclusion of World War II, naval leaders confronted a drastically redrawn world and, like the rest of the American people, found the adjustment to the bitter, suspicion-riddled years of the 1950s to be both challenging and unsettling. The Korean War, fought largely with World War II equipment, settled much of the debate over what new naval roles and capacities were to be, and emphasized the nature of Pax Americana, which, whatever else the phrase implied, meant American naval hegemony on the oceans of the world, a military dominance that came to its bone-chilling conclusion during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Shield of the Republic is the epic story of these dramatic seventeen years following the Japanese surrender, a time when the Navy struggled to find its strategic footing in the shadow of the atomic bomb, on the slippery ground of interservice rivalry, and amid the frightening realities of superpower conflict. Naval leaders, from the flinty Ernest King to the brilliant Forrest Sherman to the hard-driving Arleigh Burke, battled to keep their beloved service on an even keel while changing its makeup to meet the numerous and unexpected problems of the new era. Unlike many naval histories that consider the Navy merely as an adjunct of American international relations, Shield of the Republic examines the Navy from the inside out and from the keel plates up. Particular attention is paid the rapid and bewildering acceleration of naval technology, from the lurking nuclear ballistic missile submarine to the missile-firing destroyer to the marvels of supersonic jet aircraft, and it is in these descriptions where Isenberg's language soars. The men who worked with these technological wonders receive full treatment, from the youngest boot to the saltiest admiral, from the women who were for decades relegated to support positions, to the most powerful political leaders, like Harry Truman (who liked sailors but distrusted most admirals), and John Kennedy (whose much-vaunted wartime naval adventures were a bit short of what they were cooked up to be). And wherever the bows of the Cold War Navy cut water, they invariably brought with them American economic imperialism - the self-assurance of the only nation to emerge practically unscathed from World War II. The unique global reach of this Cold War Navy meant that the first taste of Americanism which many foreigners ever had often came in Navy blue and gold. Using the Navy as a fitting symbol for American foreign policy during these years, Michael T. Isenberg has created a sweeping saga, an enduring work, that will be appreciated both by naval experts and by general readers alike.

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