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The Longest Campaign is a worthy contribution to the vast array of World War II studies. It is well documented and offers a concise review of the war in Europe. The work is recommended to those with a general interest in the war in Europe and experts who will find this concise account a useful review. David O. Whitten, PhD Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina The War for the Seas: A Maritime History of World War II by Evan Mawdsley (Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2019, 600pp, illus, maps, notes, biblio, index, isbn 978-0-30019-019-9; $32.50hc) Last year I had the opportunity to review Craig Symonds’s World War II at Sea: A Global History, an epic 647 pages that covered the entirety of the Second World War afloat. Now, Evan Mawdsley follows with The War for The Seas: A Maritime History of World War II. At 478 pages, it provides another extensive view of the war at sea during this seminal conflict. While both are broad in the sweep of the

events they covered, this latest work differs from Symonds’s in meaningful ways. Mawdsley’s new tome follows his 2009 book, World War II: A New History. While many other books have made this claim, his work is unique in that he truly accomplishes it. Whereas nearly every other examination of this event starts with the war in Europe in 1939, Mawdsley places the outbreak of conflict in Asia in 1937. His book follows with a very balanced and evenhanded approach to the conflict and avoids the typical Eurocentric bias that is typical in most Second World War histories. In The War for The Seas, he once again challenges previous concepts and shifts the focus from the Pacific to the Atlantic. He emphasizes the role of the Allied navies, and places sea power into a supporting role in the execution of overall Allied strategy. This approach is thrust upon the reader from the outset. Instead of starting off with a dynamic naval battle, he takes us into the headquarters of General Dwight Eisenhower in Gibraltar on the eve of the invasion of North Africa. While this may

seem a strange place to start his narrative, it captures the elements that he is trying to convey by highlighting how the suppression of the German U-boats, the Allied ability to amass enough ships in America and England, and then to project them across the Atlantic were key elements of success in the war. Mawdsley follows a chronological approach to the conflict by dividing it up into five parts. The first, “Seapower and the European War,” covers the period of Allied maritime dominance and battles fought by the peacetime forces. As the war progressed, the Allies’ balance of power diminished due to setbacks in Scandinavia and on the continent, particularly with the fall of France. Part Two, the British Empire at Bay, encapsulates the situation facing the lone Allied power until the entrance of the Soviet Union and the United States into the conflict. One of the highlights in this section is how Britain was able to sustain itself via its global shipping network. “Global War at Sea” covers the pivotal year of 1942. While this part is the

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Sea History 172 - Autumn 2020  

Pg. 10 NMHS Annual Awards Dinner—A Virtual Celebration! • Pg. 16 Freedom and Whaling on Nantucket, by Skip Finley • Pg. 22 Discovering Sea H...

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