Reading and learning are two of my passions and it is my pleasure to share these books with you.I have read them all and have found them to be both insightful and engaging. I encourage your feedback and I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did.
Maj Chris Buckham
Monday, 14 April 2014
Navies of South-East Asia: A Comparative Study - James Goldrick and Jack McCaffrie
The information presented
was written by Chris Buckham; however, it was published in The Canadian Naval
Review. Therefore, the material is reproduced here by the author with the
permission of the Review. If you would like to republish this information or
refer to excerpts please contact the Editor CNR (Ann.Griffiths@Dal.Ca). Website
for the Review is: http://www.navalreview.ca
Title: Navies of
South-East Asia: A comparative study
Author: James Goldrick and
Jack McCaffrie ISBN: 978-0-4158-09429 Pages: 302 Hardcover
Goldrick and McCaffrie
have written an educational and enlightening book on the development and
present day level of effectiveness of navies in South-East Asia. They have
consciously excluded the larger, more widely known countries of Japan and China
in order to focus upon the smaller, developing countries that encompass this
The first chapter is used
to provide the context within which the national evaluations are undertaken.
Therefore the historical influences of colonialism, primary training doctrine
and methodology of the UK, US and USSR on long term development, role of the
navy within society and the physical requirements (both long and short term) of
establishing an independent navy are investigated at length. Additionally, they
also define national navies in terms of an easy to follow chart that clearly
identifies parameters of capability, developed by Morris/Grove, termed the
“Hierarchy of Navies” (HN).
The follow on chapters are
specific analysis of individual countries: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, South Vietnam and the People’s Army
of Vietnam Navy are all addressed. Each of the chapters is structured in a
similar manner thereby providing for ease of comprehension and a common method
of evaluation. The historical development of each of the fleets and the factors
affecting them are laid out in an easy to decipher manner. The authors are to
be complimented on the way in which they are able to present what, in reality,
are very complicated and involved issues. Thus, for example, the unique
challenges of Brunei where the limiting factor on the navy is not cost but
population as opposed to the Philippines where both internal instability and
cost were key factors on development and employment.
Their concluding chapter
focuses on the influences of the present and future that will drive development
including the diminishment of US regional influence, the quest for disputed
resources especially centering upon the Spratly Islands, the growing
assertiveness of China and the increasing internal stability of the nations
that are the focus of this review. Additionally, the authors provide some very
concrete insights for regional progression. These focus on the need for
cooperation between the smaller states, a proactive acceptance that naval
progression requires not only good governance but also long term commitment and
a realization of the critical need for inter-agency operability. They also
extrapolate where they anticipate the countries will be in terms of the (HN) in
the next few years.
The book itself is of a
very high production value. Included in the text is an extensive acronym /abbreviation
listing (critical for understanding the jargon associated with each country); in
addition to this is a comprehensive bibliography and footnotes. I would have
liked to have seen a regional map at the front of the book in order to provide
a quick reference of the area.
Goldrick and McCaffrie
have produced a stellar reference for the navies of the Far East. What sets
this apart is that it looks at the history and factors in development as
opposed to a two-dimensional rendition of ship types and capability. They focus
on what happens behind the scenes and where they anticipate this is leading to.
This book is not for the casual reader but rather for those with a more focused
interest in the naval development of the region. Recommended.