One of the pleasures of having been out of graduate school for more than few years (apart from the pleasure of not being in grad school any longer) is seeing friends’ books come out. Jon Hendrickson’s Crisis in the Mediterranean: Naval Competition and Great Power Politics, 1909–1914 was released earlier this year by US Naval Institute Press, and I just finished reading a copy.
Crisis in the Mediterranean uses papers from the Italian, Austro-Hungarian, French, and British archives to trace the impact of diplomacy and geopolitics on the Mediterranean naval balance before the First World War. Focusing on the way in which both Austrian naval growth and the Italo-Turkish War of 1911–12 ended up driving Austro-Italian naval cooperation, Jon’s book shows how outmatched the French would have been had Italy not chosen to stay neutral in 1914.
There’s a lot about throw weight and inches of Krupp cemented armor too, as there should be in a book like this, but less than I expected from someone who always seemed to know the Grand Fleet’s order of battle backwards and forwards. Instead, Crisis in the Mediterranean is a succinct study of the reciprocal relationship between naval rivalry and other aspects of grand strategy in the pre-war Mediterranean.