The best United States Navy books 📚

Browse the best books on the United States Navy as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War

The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War

By Samuel Eliot Morison

Why this book?

This book was published in 1963 on the heels of the fifteen-volume set by Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison. I served in the U.S. Navy, Pacific theater of war, and found this supplemental work by Morison to complement particular portions of his fifteen-volume series.

From the list:

The best books on World War II in the Pacific

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II

The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II

By Robert J. Cressman

Why this book?

Published in 2000, this reference book makes previous chronologies of the Navy at war out-of-date. My co-author and wife, Sandra McGee, uses this chronology to create social media posts, such as “On this day…” or “75 Years Ago Today…”.

From the list:

The best books on World War II in the Pacific

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Bluejackets Manual: United States Navy

The Bluejackets Manual: United States Navy

By Norman Reeve Van Der Veer

Why this book?

This manual belonged to me. It may seem like an odd recommendation. However, whenever my memory was fuzzy on some detail, such as the various boatswain’s calls, I consulted my well-worn bluejacket’s manual and found the answer.

From the list:

The best books on the first postwar atomic bomb tests at the Bikini Atoll in 1946 (Operations Crossroads)

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Perilous Fight: America's Intrepid War with Britain on the High Seas, 1812-1815

Perilous Fight: America's Intrepid War with Britain on the High Seas, 1812-1815

By Stephen Budiansky

Why this book?

While the outcome of the naval war was a foregone conclusion, the United States Navy and a swarm of privateers punched well above their weight, humiliating the world’s preeminent navy early in the conflict and boosting American national morale. There are a number of excellent books on the naval history of the conflict, but, carefully researched and accessibly written, Perilous Fight is my favorite telling of this critical aspect of the War of 1812.

From the list:

The best and most recent books on the War of 1812

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Sea Power: A Naval History

Sea Power: A Naval History

By E.B. Potter

Why this book?

When I was a first-year student at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1972, every “plebe,” as we were called, was required to take a full-year course called simply Sea Power. It is in a sense four books in one: a history of the United States Navy and of American naval power; a history of the world’s navies; a study of the evolution of naval warfare; and a study of the part that sea power has played in the exercise of national power. It is also full of dozens of maps, charts, and, above all, detailed tactical depictions of individual battles,…

From the list:

The best books to know the sea

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

By Anthony Tully, Jonathan Parshall

Why this book?

Parshall and Tully have produced a reevaluation of the Battle of Midway which makes exhaustive and critical use of Japanese sources. To this point, the sole Japanese source was Fuchida Mitsuo’s Midway, which Shattered Sword shows was “irretrievably flawed.” In contrast to previous histories of Midway, Shattered Sword pays careful attention to the critical elements of naval warfare: ship design, training and tactics, decision-making. It also debunks eight further elements of “common knowledge” concerning Japanese planning and conduct of the battle. The result is a fundamentally new and detailed analysis of Midway.

From the list:

The best new revisionist military history books

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 20 books about the United States Navy

New book lists about the United States Navy

All book lists about the United States Navy

Bookshelves related to the United States Navy

Browse books by…