Peter Padfield is a leading naval historian and biographer. He trained for the sea as a cadet in H.M.S. Worcester, subsequently serving in the P & O Line. In 1957 he sailed under Cdr. Alan Villiers in the replica pilgrim bark, Mayflower II, from Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Massachusetts, where Mayflower is now preserved. Working his passage to the south Pacific he sailed among the Solomon Islands before leaving the sea and settling with his wife in Suffolk, England. His first major book, The Titanic and the Californian, defended the captain of the Californian from the charge of not going to Titanic's rescue. He subsequently turned to naval subjects, particularly great gunnery, strategy, and tactics. His biography of the U-boat admiral, Karl Dönitz, led him to a portrayal of submarine warfare in War Beneath the Sea, and to biographies of other leading Nazis, Heinrich Himmler and Rudolf Hess, subsequently translated into many European languages. Latterly he has returned to naval history, attempting to bring it out of the specialist closet and present it as a major determinant of the modern world in a trilogy whose second volume, Maritime Power and the Struggle for Freedom, won the 2003 Mountbatten Maritime Prize.