Pen and Sword Books: Historical Dreadnoughts by Barry Gough

Historical Dreadnoughts
Historical Dreadnoughts (8 reviews)
Marder and Roskill: Writing and Fighting Naval History
by Barry Gough
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Hardback
320 pages
ISBN: 9781848320772
Published: 5 July 2010
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This is the story of the remarkable, intersecting careers of the two greatest writers on British naval history in the twentieth century – the American professor Arthur Marder, son of immigrant Russian Jews, and Captain Stephen Roskill, who knew the Royal Navy from the inside. Between them, these contrasting characters were to peel back the lid of historical secrecy that surrounded the maritime aspects of the two world wars, based on the privileged access to official papers they both achieved through different channels.

Initially their mutual interests led to a degree of friendly rivalry, but this was to deteriorate into a stormy academic feud fought out in newspaper columns and the footnotes of their books – much to the bemusement (and sometimes amusement) of the naval history community. Out of it, surprisingly, emerged some of the best historical writing on naval themes, and a central contribution of this book is to reveal the process by which the two historians produced their literary masterpieces.

Anyone who has read Marder’s From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow or Roskill’s The War at Sea – and they were both bestsellers in their day – will be entertained and enlightened by this story of the men A J P Taylor called ‘our historical dreadnoughts’.

This is the story of the remarkable, intersecting careers of the two greatest writers on British naval history in the twentieth century – the American professor Arthur Marder, son of immigrant Russian Jews, and Captain Stephen Roskill, who knew the Royal Navy from the inside. Between them, these contrasting characters were to peel back the lid of historical secrecy that surrounded the maritime aspects of the two world wars, based on the privileged access to official papers they both achieved through different channels.

Initially their mutual interests led to a degree of friendly rivalry, but this was to deteriorate into a stormy academic feud fought out in newspaper columns and the footnotes of their books – much to the bemusement (and sometimes amusement) of the naval history community. Out of it, surprisingly, emerged some of the best historical writing on naval themes, and a central contribution of this book is to reveal the process by which the two historians produced their literary masterpieces.

Anyone who has read Marder’s From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow or Roskill’s The War at Sea – and they were both bestsellers in their day – will be entertained and enlightened by this story of the men A J P Taylor called ‘our historical dreadnoughts’.
Product Reviews
Historical Dreadnoughts is a unique record of the recording of the two great maritime wars of the 20th century. The book is recommended to the reader who seeks a different light on the great actors... [read full review]
Journal of the Australian Naval Institute
This very thorough and eminently readable book is the story of the lives and interactions of the two great writers on twentieth century British naval history, the successors to the legendary Alfred T Mahan and... [read full review]
Warship 2012
The author provides a fine grain narrative and assessment of the challenges faced by the historians and it is this material which gives the reader of historical Dreadnoughts an appreciation how the great events of... [read full review]
Headmark Journal, Australian Naval Institute
The Canadian Nautical Research Society is pleased to announce the winner of the Keith Matthews Award for a book published in 2010. It is made for the best book by a Canadian on any... [read full review]
2010 Keith Matthew Awards
As I started to get further in to this book, two aspects of the entire affair became apparent. The first is, what a terrible shame that two such eminent naval historians should devote so... [read full review]
Rob Jerrard
This book provides an important contribution to this campaign and the production of a more balanced view. It is based on much research and it is well written. It should have had a rather longer... [read full review]
Navy News, Nov 2010
This is an unusual topic for a book, containing biographies of two of the most important naval historians of the Twentieth Century and a look at feud that developed between the two men as they... [read full review]
History of War
This book is the story of the intersecting careers of Arthur Marder and Stephen Roskill, two of last century's greatest writers on British naval history. Between them, these contrasting characters peel back the lid... [read full review]
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From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow
From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow
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by Arthur Marder
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