To help sustain its expanding empire in the eighteenth and nine-teenth centuries, Britain and the Royal Navy needed overseas naval bases to support the burden placed on its home yards. When their ambitions in North America accelerated in the 1740s and 1750s and proved enduring, the home yard of Portsmouth could longer adequately support the North American squadron, established in 1745. The building of a careening yard at Halifax - a decision made in 1758, nine years after the town was first settled - became imperative. Julian Gwyn's Ashore and Afloat is a history of the Halifax Naval Yard. While first used to offset French power in North America, it was subsequently used against rebel Americans and their French allies in the American War of Independence, during the wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon, and against the United States in the War of 1812. For much of its early history, it was the largest industrial site in British North America, employing up to 300 officers and men. It was reduced to a small depot at the end of 1819, when a new base was constructed in Bermuda. Gwyn's impressive evocation of people and events, and the scholarship and erudition he brings to bear on the ideas and historical forces involved, combine to make Ashore and Afloat uniquely authoritative.