By Richard Freeman
No man ever made his mark on the British Navy the way that Lord Fisher did.
While many of his contemporaries considered his actions rash, he was unquestionably the greatest and most influential reforming admiral of all time. Battle fleets of long-range and high-speed ships, sound training schemes to forge the best officers, the withdrawal of obsolete ships and the rearrangement of the foreign fleets to best cope with external threats, and the revolutionary use of mines and torpedoes are just a few of the reforms that Fisher pushed through.
His controversial and much misunderstood Dreadnought was a work of genius. Considered out of his mind to even try, he had the vision to see the technological inevitability of dreadnoughts and the advantage of being the first to build one.
He and Winston Churchill were particularly derided for their command of naval forces during the disastrous Dardanelles campaign. But he challenged the old-school who opposed change and, despite claims to the contrary, there is abundant evidence that he sought the opinions of others and listened to counter arguments. His mind, far from being closed, ferociously picked the brains of others.
Tempestuous Genius provides a fascinating overview of the turbulent life and times of Admiral Lord Fisher.