Book Review: Forging the Trident: Theodore Roosevelt and the United States Navy


by John B. Hattendorf and William P. Leeman, editors

Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2020. Pp. x, 393+. Illus., notes, index. $40.00. ISBN: 1682475344

T.R. and the Shaping of American Sea Power

This volume comprises the revised papers presented at a conference held at Salve Regina University, in Newport, R.I., in 2019, sponsored by the U.S. Naval War College’s Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research and the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy.

In his introduction Prof. Hattendorf says “Few people have has as profound and multifaceted an impact on the U.S. Navy as Theodore Roosevelt did during his time as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and as commander-in-chief”. There follow eleven essays that explore the origins and evolution of Roosevelt’s interest in the naval service and his influence on American sea power.

There is an essay on how his mother’s Confederate half-brother James Bulloch helped spark T.R.’s interest in naval affairs, followed by one on his 1882 book The Naval War of 1812, still considered a valuable work. Several papers address Roosevelt’s work as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and then as President to raise public interest in the service, reform naval education, professionalize the officer corps, promote technological innovation, and pressing for a navy “second to none”, and used the fleet as an instrument of policy. The final paper, by Craig Symonds, looks at T.R.’s role in shaping the world view and work of his younger cousin, F.D.R.

A volume in the Naval Institute series “Studies in Naval History and Sea Power”, Forging the Trident is an essential read for students of American sea power in the twentieth century.




Note: Forging the Trident is also available in several e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: A.A. Nofi   

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