The Victory at Sea
Wartime commander, tactical innovator, military educator, iconoclastic troublemaker, Pulitzer Prize winner—those categories have only come together in a single military leader in American history. They all accurately describe Admiral William S. Sims (1858–1936), Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in European Waters during World War I. Sims spent nearly an entire career rocking the boat and challenging the conventional wisdom, and yet he ended up in London in one of the most important naval missions in history as the U.S. Navy’s commander responsible for coordinating the war with First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellico and the allies.
Part operational history, part personal memoir, when The Victory at Sea was published in 1921 it offered the first account of the naval operations against the German U-boat threat and revealed insights about the dangers the submarines posed to Britain and the war effort. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for history, the book remains a standard text about the war, but also provides important insights for 21st century readers, including understanding the challenge of antisubmarine warfare, the complexity of planning military operations with allies and partners, and issues of military command and control.