Naval history is all about people… and people…

I’ve been writing this year for a US website, Navy General Board – a site dedicated to naval history over the past century or so, and to various issues on matters naval.

SMS Seydlitz after the Battle of Jutland – left in a sinking condition and saved only by tough construction and a tougher crew. Provenance unknown, assumed public domain, via Imgur.

My professional background in that field extends back decades. Some of my post-grad work involved academic studies of various matters naval – including a thesis on Australasian defence politics 1909-13, along with a dissertation on Admiral Sir John Fisher – the enfant terrible of the Edwardian navy and inventor of the term ‘OMG’. Since then I’ve written multiple books on matters naval, including the official RNZN 60th anniversary history.

As always, the essence of it is all about people – as history always is.

The flip side is my interest in all matters engineering, a field I’ve been studying and writing about for just about as long as anything else. And yeah, I’ve written multiple books on that too. But where better to look for the largest, most challenging and most technically complex expressions of human engineering than in ship-building? A field where, once again, what counts is the people – the people who designed the ships, the people who built them (whose skill did so much to make them good ships… or not) – and, of course, the people who crewed them. Ships were, at heart, a community – a microcosm of society, often with their own sub-cultures.

My latest article is on ships that were never built – and why, which has an awful lot to do with politics and people: Don’t forget to peruse my other material – along with the other articles by the site’s authors.

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And if you feel like it, there’s a book of mine out now – Dreadnoughts Unleashed, available on Kindle.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2017