Manley R. Irwin researches and writes on U.S. Naval History. He is also Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of New Hampshire. His research interests include the history of U.S. and British naval warfare and the development of amphibious warfare during the early 1920s. He is the author of a monograph on the naval policy of the Harding administration, Silent Strategists.

His research in these areas includes books, conference papers, articles, and book reviews.

The 2013 REVISED EDITION of Silent Strategists is now available.

To contact Professor Irwin, email him at:

Recent work

journal cover


U.S. Navy, Brest, France, 1917: The Search  for an Optimum Command Structure. Paper to be presented at the McMullen Naval History Symposium, September 2017. [.pdf]

Under Administrative Stress: The U.S. Navy Base, Brest, France, 1917. Manuscript, May 2016. [.pdf]

A Physician as War Planner: The Case of Admiral Richard Harrison Jackson. Manuscript, December 2015. [.pdf]

Review of Herman, Arthur. Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produce Victory in World War II. Random House, 2012. [.pdf]

Review of Borneman, Walter R. The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy and King, the Five-Star Admirals who Won the War at Sea. Boston, Little, Brown. 2012. [.pdf]

A Note on Flawed Torpedoes: Congress as Shop Steward. Manuscript, Sept. 2012. [.pdf]


Irwin, Manley. R. 2013. [REVISED EDITION] Silent Strategists: Harding, Denby, and the Navy's Trans-Pacific Offensive, World War II. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

cover for silent strategists

Overview of Silent Strategists:
In November 1943, the U.S.Navy launched an offensive that would carry U.S.Armed Forces to the far reaches of the Pacific. Archival records of the 1920s reveal that President Warren Harding and his Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby made signal contributions to that offensive. Surprisingly, their decisions also embody modern principles of organization and strategy. Overlooked and neglected, Harding and Denby today remain two of the nation's unheralded silent strategists.

book cover

Irwin, Manley. R. 2008. Silent Strategists: Harding, Denby, and the Navy's Trans-Pacific Offensive, World War II. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Anne Cipriano Venzon, ed. 1995. The United States in the First World War: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, Inc.

book cover Entries in this volume include:
  • Trading with the Enemy Act
  • War Industries Board
  • War Productions Board
  • Alien Property Act
  • Liberty Loans
  • Hamilton Fish

Return to top


Dedicated to Scientific Management, Edwin Denby, Secretary of the Navy, 1921-1924. Paper presented at Taylor's World Conference: An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Life and Legacy of Frederick Winslow Taylor. Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ. September 24-25, 2015. [.pdf]

Naval War Planning and Naval Oil Reserves: The Wilson Administration, 1913-1921. Paper presented at the McMullen Naval History Symposium. Annapolis, Maryland, September 16-18, 2015. [.pdf] [Click here for information on the McMullen Naval History Symposium]

"Scientific Management And The U.S. Navy: Congress bans Taylorism", Greenwich Maritime Institute, International Conference on Maritime and Naval Power in Two World Wars. University of Greenwich, UK, April 2014. [.pdf]

Wall Street Journal Opinion piece, "From Navy oil tankers to Amazon diapers," Nov. 25, 2013. [.pdf]
       For a brief rhetorical discussion of the non-literal comparison used in this piece, see site Metaphors and Beyond.

"Producer Logistics: The Re-Education of Vice Admiral Emory S. Land." Paper delivered at the McMullen Naval History Symposium. Annapolis, MD, September 20th, 2013. [.pdf]

"Maracaibo Oil and U.S. Naval Operations in the Pacific, World War II," Paper to be delivered at the Annual Conference of the North American Society for Oceanic History. Texas A&M University at Galveston, 22-26 April 2012. [.pdf]

"The U.S. Navy and Fixed Base Dependency: Fleet Logistics in the 20’s," Paper delivered at the 2011 Navy History Symposium. U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, 15-16 September. [.pdf]

"A Marine Secretary of the Navy: Edwin Denby's Contribution to Expeditionary Warfare," 2nd Annual Annapolis Naval History Symposium (Expeditionary Warfare: Past, Present and Future). U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, April 6-7, 2005.

"Naval Industrial Logistics: Franklin D.Roosevelt Discovers Outsourcing," Society for Military History Annual Meeting , University of Maryland, College Park, MD. May 22, 2004.

journal cover"The Naval Policies of the Harding Administration: Time for a Reassessment?" Fifth Historical Symposium, Annapolis MD, 2001; Published online: International Journal of Naval History, May 2002.

Return to top


"Lejeune and Denby: Forging a Marine Corps Doctrine," Marine Corps Gazette, 2004.

"Reply to Matt Clark," Naval History Magazine, February 2004.

"Harding Policies Foster Future Naval Success," Naval History Magazine, August 2003.

"Reginal McKenna, Twice Sacked, Thrice Right," Relevance, Quarterly Journal of the Great War Society, Spring 2001.

"A Note on Public Sector Integration: The Decline of British Naval Aviation, 1914-1943, Review of Industrial Organization, 1999.

"Alfred Sloan and Douglas Haig: Brothers in Strategy," Relevance, Quarterly Journal of the Great War Society , Fall 1998.

"Edward Stettinius, Worth an Army Corps to the Allies," Relevance, Quarterly Journal of the Great War Society, Fall 1998.

"The Harding Administration: Silent Patron of Naval Aviation," Relevance, Quarterly Journal of the Great War Society, 1997.

"Navial Aviation's Unknown Patron," Wings of Gold, 1996.

Return to top

Book Reviews

Review of State of War: The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1945-2011, by P.A.C. Koistinen. U.S. Naval Institute, Proceedings Magazine. vol. 139, no. 5 (May 2013), p. 151-152.

Review of American and British Aircraft Carrier Development, 1919-1941 by Thomas Hone, Norman Friedman, and Mark Mandeles, in The Journal of Conflict Studies, Spring 2000.

Review of The Great War Generals on the Western Front by Robin Neillands, in Relevance, Quarterly Journal of the Great War Society, Winter 1999.

Review of Their Time in Hell: The Fourth Marine Brigade at Belleau Wood, June 1918 by George B. Clark, in Relevance, Quarterly Journal of the Great War Society, Winter 1997.

Return to top


"Silent Strategists: Harding, Denby, and the Navy's Trans-Pacific Offensive, World War II." U.S. National Archives, Noontime Literary Lecture Series, Jefferson Room, Washington, DC. July 1, 2009.

"Management Principles and the U.S. Navy: A Legacy of the Harding Administration." The Warren Harding Association. Cincinnati, Ohio. November 3, 2008.

"Models of Leadership and Changes within the Military: John A. Lejeune." BAE Systems, Durham, NH. October 21, 2003.

"The Pacific Naval Offensive of 1943: Conceptual Legacy of the Harding Administration?" The Warren G. Harding Society. Cincinatti, Ohio. November 2, 2001.

Return to top

last updated: 06/22/2018
Contact Dr. Manley Irwin at