The period spanned by William Veazie Pratt's naval career coincided with an era of extraordinary historical importance. It saw the development of "The New Navy," decisive naval victories on two sides of the globe, he increasing influence of American naval power on the international scene, and the emergence of the United States as one of the foremost world powers. It saw the revision of strategic concepts and the development of tactics to exploit the capabilities of the new ships. It saw the evolution of specialized types of ships, and organizing, training, and exercising these types in combination to form a fleet prepared for major engagements at sea. It saw basic adjustments in the Navy Department in response to the changing requirements of fleet readiness, planning, and direction of the operating forces. Drawing upon Pratt's varied service afloat and ashore and his close association with many of the most significant events of the era, this biography by Professor Gerald E. Wheeler provides insights of value to an understanding of the modern Navy and its roles in recent American history. The biography also throws light on the policy-level scene in Washington and on the factors and decision processes by which the nation's naval power was sized and shaped.