The very serious looking gentleman in the picture is none other than the celebrated naval strategist A. T. Mahan. His most famous work was of course The Influence of Sea Power upon History 1660 - 1783. His theories of the use of large fleets found a ready audience in the shaping of the naval policies of the US, Great Britain, Germany and Japan. Time and the technological impact of the submarine and of aircraft reduced the effectiveness of some of his ideas but his influence on the strategic planning of the navies above was far reaching and of considerable longevity.
The reason this has come up is simply down to me trawling through a couple of free ebook sites to add to my reader. I have never read Mahan's work although am aware of it. I was delighted then, to not only find a copy of this to download but also some of his other work. He wrote many other works of naval interest including titles covering the naval operations of the American War of Independence and, much closer to my current interest, the naval actions along the Mississippi during the civil war. This formed volume 3 of a naval history of the civil war and was devoted to the actions along the inland waterways to the Gulf. Needless to say, a full report will be made once I have read this title and I am very pleased to have had the chance to add this to my collection.