The U.S. Naval Institute On Naval Tactics, edited by Captain Wayne P. Hughes Jr. USN (Ret.)
This is the first book from the Naval Historical Institute I have received that is designated as a Wheel Book. According to the book itself, a wheel book was a small book carried by officers either as a way of gaining knowledge to substitute for a lack of experience or as a handy reference for more experienced officer. Judging from the fact that there are about 13 or so chapters, most of them excerpts, in this slim volume of about 200 small pages, this would appear to be a sort of Readers Digest guide to naval tactics, especially given that actual practice with hostile acts is likely to be somewhat limited in the contemporary Navy. The fact that a lot of the tactical aspects of the book include questions of naval defense for nations with fewer means also suggests that there is an interest on preparation for likely threats, and not just the big ones.
Of greater interest to me as a reader, though is the sort of assumption a book like this  makes about its audience. Perhaps as a very bookish person I do not understand just how little most people read. It would appear as if this type of book makes every sort of conceivable concession to being busy possible. A book of its size and length and its obvious relevance to naval and Marine officers (there are subjects of interest for both, and perhaps even the Coast Guard) would appear to be a no-brainer to officers looking to understand tactics. There are, to be certain, other books in this series that are just as useful in other areas (like logistics, an area of great interest to naval affairs, and the reason for the existence of the Merchant Marine, the one branch of the military I was tempted to consider as a high school student, if their cruises had been Sabbath-friendly). At any rate, this book should whet the appetite of a reader for a more substantial serving of the materials included in it. And there is nothing wrong with that.
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