Command of the sea refers to a broad conception of seafare in war and peace, the science of naval diplomacy, commerce and amphibious capacities. This ""first comprehensive, analytical survey"" of world naval history lacks the up-front polemical coherence of a Liddell-Hart. But Reynolds' devotion to seaborne empire and ambitious war strategy emerges through his rather pedestrian narrative from Minoa to a possible nuclear World War Iii which he thinks, not without relish, would leave us to start sail-building all over again. Meanwhile the naval bureaucrats of the 20th century seem conservative, inflexible dolts compared with their predecessors. The book will engender quibbles (better reasons have been given for why British sailors got called ""limeys"") and sweeping debates (why after World War I was the promise of the submarine and carrier deferred?). Not all it could have been, but a treat for old sea-legs and a sturdy reference.