The U.S. Navy’s transition from World War II into a nuclear postwar in the new U.S. defense establishment is the subject of this lengthy treatise.  Actually the treatise itself is not quite so lengthy because 304 of the 710 pages in this book are references, including index, bibliography and an insane amount of endnote material.  But given the quantum of information that I’m sure exists on even this narrow slice of a subject, it is still probably only touching on the high points of the story of what happened in the Navy in the first Iten years after the end of World War II.

The principal story to be told is the Navy’s role as the national defense establishment nosedived in terms of appropriations following demobilization after the war, then skyrocketed again during the conflict in Korea beginning in 1950, and then swung back and forth over the next five years as first the Truman and then the Eisenhower administration’s attempted to settle on appropriate level of military funding in a peacetime that it was increasingly clear was not all that different from wartime in terms of national responsibilities.  The knife fight between the Navy and the new Department of the Air Force – mostly over whose aircraft got to carry the nuclear weapons – is covered, as are the various departmental leadership struggles as the Navy found its way under the new Defense Department establishment where it was no longer a Cabinet-level department under a three-plus term President who had been an avid naval supporter since his days as Assistant Secretary of the navy in 1913-1919. Truman, unlike FDR, was no fan of the Navy, and it was one of his Secretaries of Defense that canceled the Navy’s new supercarrier United States with no notice to the admirals, sparking the well documented “revolt of the admirals.”

All in all, while clumsily written in places, it is a useful reference to understand what was going on during certain periods of time, and a good starting point for research to dive deeper into individual issues within its scope.