I can still remember the pleasure I had reading the stories, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch and Anchors Away written by Jean Lee Latham. These thrilling sea stories written about the naval heroes Nathaniel Bowditch and David Glasgow Farragut were my first introduction to United States naval history as a young boy.
Now many years later I am once again thrilled to read another book about United States naval history. This time it was the biography of Alfred Thayer Mahan, one of the most, if not the most influential naval thinker and historian in United States history.
In this well written book, God And Sea Power, author Suzanne Geissler writes a fascinating biography of Mahan but from the perspective of how his faith influenced his life as a man, historian and patriotic citizen.
Now if you are expecting a hack job, which seeks to paint a caricature of Mahan’s faith as seen through a prism of today’s politically correct secularism you’ll be rather disappointed. Instead Suzanne Geissler takes a reasonable look at Alfred Mahan’s faith in the context of the day in which he lived.
I found this book to be an engaging read which provided much food for thought, especially as it relates to Mahan view on religion and its place in government. Mahan also had some pretty prescient thoughts on the dangers of the consolidation of power in the political, social and economic realms of society. As Geissler describes it Mahan believe this trend was a clear and present danger because it “quashed individual freedom, initiative, and independence and concentrated power in the hands of a few.”
Reading this book was several hours well spent.
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Author: Suzanne Geissler
Book Title: God and Sea Power: The Influence of Religion on Alfred Thayer Mahan
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse