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On the dust jacket of his newly published War at Sea: A Naval History of World War II (Scribner/Lisa Drew), Dupont Circle resident Nathan Miller experiences time travel. The publisher thought it appropriate to choose a portrait of the author as an 18-year-old seaman—but a tagline reading “1945 photo” was dropped, leaving some readers wondering how a stripling could have written a dozen books and still look like a high-school senior. The confusion amuses Miller, who mustered out of the Navy in 1946, studied history at the University of Maryland, and worked as a Baltimore Sun reporter before taking a job on Capitol Hill. Nights, he wrote three books, including a U.S. Navy history whose success persuaded him to quit his day job. Since then, Miller has written about politics, espionage, and Roosevelts Theodore and Franklin, as well as naval history. He undertook War at Sea because he loves the topic and because he saw an empty niche. “Samuel Eliot Morison’s History of U.S. Naval Operations in WWII is 15 volumes,” Miller notes. “But there was no readable one-volume history of the all the navies in WWII.” His dense but briskly written effort nicely fills that gap. Less a revisionist than an idealist, Miller says his research persuaded him that dropping the atomic bomb was unnecessary. “The Japanese defeat was certain by January 1945,” he explains. “U.S. submarines had completely cut the Japs off from the oil and mineral supplies they had gone to war for. If the war had lasted another year, they would have had to surrender. But some strategists did not want to take a chance, so they began discussing invasion. And when the atomic bomb became available, the blockade strategy faded out of the picture.”