“How to Grow Navy” Wins 2023 Commodore Sam Bateman Book Prize


For the third year, The Australian Naval Institute has awarded the Commodore Sam Bateman Book Prize. The 2023 recipient of the Prize is Professor Geoffrey Till with his book How to Grow a Navy: The Development of Maritime Power, published by Routledge.

How to Grow a Navy examines, from a historical and contemporary point of view, how nations develop and nurture maritime power. In announcing the award, the ANI President, Commodore Peter Leavy, said, “The quality of entries this year had been excellent, and selecting the winner had been particularly challenging. This is the first overseas winner of the Commodore Sam Bateman Book Prize, which demonstrates the growing stature of the Prize.”


The Commodore Sam Bateman Book Prize recognises excellence in books that make a major contribution to the study and understanding of naval and maritime affairs. The Prize is named after Commodore Sam Bateman AM, RAN (1938-2020), a notable strategic thinker and former ANI Councillor, in recognition of his outstanding efforts to raise greater awareness of naval and/or maritime matters and progressing the understanding and value of navies in society. The Prize is proudly sponsored by Team Downer MSP.

The Judging Panel noted the strong field in this year’s competition, noting that the 2023 winning book was ‘particularly timely, given the growing awareness of the maritime domain in not only Australia’s but global security and prosperity. How to Grow a Navy shows that popular history can be written well without compromising historical rigour.

The author, Geoffrey Till is one of the leading naval historians today and an emeritus Professor of Maritime Studies at King’s College London. He is the author of thirty books and has been a frequent visitor and lecturer in Australia. In accepting the Prize, Geoffrey Till said “As a friend and great admirer of the late Sam Bateman, I feel particularly honoured by this accolade in his name. In our separate but complementary ways, we both had an acute sense of the importance of seapower in the past, today, and for the future. The book explores the various ways in which it has been and is being generated. Current events both in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific theatres show how critical it is that nations get this right.”

Geoffrey also thanked the Australian Naval Institute for their recognition of maritime interests and the Bateman family for their support to the annual prize.

Mr Andrew Harmer, National Maritime Director for Team Downer MSP said that Team Downer was pleased to support such an auspicious award as the Commodore Sam Bateman Book Prize noting the significant contribution Commodore Bateman made to the understanding of naval and maritime matters in Australia and across the world.

A review of How to Grow a Navy can be found here

For further details contact the Australian Naval Institute office on 02 6290 1505 or at admin@navalinstitute.com.au


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