Naval Advising and Assistance

History, Challenges, and Analysis

Donald Stoker, Michael T. McMaster

A brief survey of the history of naval advising, as well as historical and analytical case studies.
Date Published :
October 2017
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Military History Series
Illustration :
5 photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781911512820
Pages : 318
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available


This original edited volume is the only book on naval advising. Drawing upon the work of scholars and practitioners from all over the world, it takes a comparative and global approach to examining the history, theory and evolution of naval advising and assistance. Starting with a brief history of the evolution of naval advising, the book then moves to late-19th century naval advising efforts. These generally involved individuals such as the American adventurer in China, Philo McGiffin, but also included State-sponsored formal missions such as the first such US effort: Colonel John Lay’s 1870s mission to Egypt. A comparative multinational examination of the ability of non-European States such as China, Turkey and Japan to adopt Western naval methods and doctrine - and an examination of the French naval advising mission to Peru - round out the book's pre-First World War offerings. The trends in naval advising between the World Wars—particularly their use as tools of economic and political penetration—are revealed through chapters on the British naval aviation mission to Japan; the British and French naval missions to Poland; the US mission to Peru; and a comparative study of Italian naval missions in Persia, China and Spain. The latter also reveals early ideological motivations for dispatching advising missions. The Cold War saw an intensification of military advising—including naval advising—as both the Communist and the Western Powers used advising as ideological tools. The US naval missions to Nationalist China and South Vietnam are assessed, as are the Soviet naval advising efforts in East Germany and China. Together, through a wealth of original research, the studies in this book provide numerous lessons for future naval advising efforts and constitute a unique contribution to the field.

About The Author

Donald Stoker PhD is Professor of Strategy and Policy for the US Naval War College’s Monterey Program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. The author or editor of seven books, his most recent work - Carl von Clausewitz: His Life and Work (Oxford University Press, 2014) - is on the British Army's professional reading list. His The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War, 1861-1865 (Oxford University Press, 2010) won the prestigious Fletcher Pratt Award for 'Best Non-Fiction Civil War Book' of 2010, and was a 'Main Selection' of the History Book Club; it is commonly used as a text in graduate seminars and strategic studies courses. His other works include a co-edited volume on strategy in the American Revolutionary War and he has edited or co-edited books on military advising, conscription and the arms trade. He has written for numerous magazines, such as MHQ (Military History Quarterly), North & South and Naval History. In 2016, he was a Fellow of the Changing Character of War Programme at the University of Oxford’s Pembroke College. He is currently writing a book on limited war and also co-editing several books on advising, as well as other topics.

Michael T. McMaster is a Professor of Joint Maritime Operations at the US Naval War College in Monterey, California. He served in the US Navy and is a retired commander. In 2006 and 2007, he presented two papers with Professor Kenneth Hagan on the history of US naval strategy at conferences of the Royal Australian Navy. He contributed to - and served as associate editor of - In Peace and War: Interpretations of American Naval History (Greenwood/ABC Clio, 2008). He was co-editor for Strategy in the American War of Independence (Routledge, 2009) and he co-authored 'His Remarks Reverberated From Berlin to Washington' in the Naval Institute Proceedings in December 2010. He and Professor Hagan presented a paper on the US Navy in the First World War at the Fifth Conference of the International Society for First World War Studies in London in 2009 and, in 2011, a paper entitled ‘William Sowden Sims and Five Classmates in the Old Navy’s School House, 1876-1880’ at the United States Naval Academy Naval History Symposium. He is co-author of ‘The Anglo-American Naval Checkmate of Germany’s Guerre de Course, 1917-1918' in 'Commerce Raiding: Historical Case Studies, 1755-2009', Naval War College Newport Papers 40 (Naval War College Press, 2013).


“Modern naval leaders and the politicians who direct them could gain some very valuable insights into their own operations by carefully studying this work.”

- Baird Maritime

“This scholarly undertaking is refreshingly stimulating… the reviewer can only praise Donald Stoker and Mike McMaster for their gallant effort in assembling the present collection and for introducing it in such a thoughtful and unifying manner.”

- Naval Historical Foundation

“Overall, this is a first-class book that throws new light on a little-studied aspect of sea power.”

- Warships International Fleet Service

“This is a fascinating compendium of twelve essays…worth reading as a human story as much as a military history.”

- Miniature Wargames

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