Forests and Sea Power by Robert Geenhalgh Albion


Hardcover. Condition: Very Good+. 1965. Archon Books (Hamden, CT).

The Timber Problem of the Royal Navy, 1652-1862.

First published in 1926 as part of the Harvard Economic Studies series, this work was awarded the David A. Wells Prize and has been considered the standard reference on the subject ever since. It established for the first time the indivisible relationship between timber supply and sea power, and how this union influenced naval architecture and international law, as well as foreign, colonial, commercial, and forest policies. The result of an exhaustive, international research effort, the book also has been acknowledged by naval historians to be one of the very early attempts to broaden naval history into a serious study of logistics and supply and of technology and operations.

In a delightfully absorbing prose rare for such studies, Robert Albion relates these pivotal issues throughout the two-hundred-year period that saw most of the greatest naval wars of the Age of Sail, from the First Dutch War of 1652 to the introduction of the ironclad early in the American Civil War. The author explores how the timber supply problem affected other European maritime powers and their far-flung colonies, explains how it was driven by the conservatism and corruption of official bureaus and rapacious landowners conducting the business, and offers a fascinating portrait of the contemporary logging and timber transport industries.