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This finely researched book is a portrait of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars; but it is particularly a portrait of the Navy's people, of the officers and men who formed that formidable fighting force made popular by novels of C.S. Forester and Patrick O'Brian. These men were assembled from all classes in society and came from all parts of the British Isles and so the social history of the Navy demonstrates a complete cross-section of contemporary life, and the divisions aboard ship, between quarter deck and lower deck for instance, reflected divisions on land. But parentage and social background form only a small fragment of the story. The author follows their lives from the cradle to the grave and paints a detailed picture of both the expectations and the reality of life at sea. He describes how men came to go to sea and explains the volunteer, the press and the quota; the story of officer-entry is dealt with, along with the whole complex business of shipboard and naval hierarchy. Pay, prize money and other inducements are explained along with insight into the unhappier predicament of half-pay. In the twenty-two years of war the cost in lives was heavy and every sailor was confronted by the persistent and daily dangers of the sea itself, the enemy and disease. If he was lucky enough to survive then an officer retired ashore on half-pay, not rich but proud of his service; a sailor from the lower deck might find a snug berth in one of the naval hospitals. He would have little but then he never expected much. First published in 1960, Lewis' book is a masterful account of how the men of the Nelsonic navy, at sea in those far-distant storm-beaten ships', organized their insular social world.
Naval Engagements explores the role of the Royal Navy in eighteenth-century political culture. This was the legendary age of sail, in which heroic commanders such as Admiral Nelson won great victories for Britain. Timothy Jenks reveals the ways in which these battles and the heroes who fought them were deployed in British politics.
The book highlights especially the Marines' roles as guards against mutiny and desertion and as an imperial 'rapid reaction force.' It also provides details of the many and varied actions in which they were involved worldwide.
A companion volume to the same author's "The British Field Marshals 1736–1997", this book outlines the lives of the 115 officers who held the rank of Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Navy from 1734, when it took its modern form, to 1995, when the last one was appointed. Each entry gives details of the dates of the birth and death of its subjects, their careers ashore and afloat, their family backgrounds, and the ships, campaigns and combats in which they served. Each is placed clearly in its domestic or international political context. The actions recorded include major fleet battles under sail or steam, single-ship duels, encounters with pirates on the Spanish Main and up the rivers of Borneo, the suppression of the Slave Trade (for which the Navy receives little gratitude), landing parties to deal with local dictators and revolutionaries, and the services of naval brigades in China, Egypt and South Africa.
An examination of the Royal Navy's Victualling Board, the body responsible for supplying the fleet.
A fascinating study of midshipmen and other "young gentlemen", outlining their social background, career paths and what life was like for them.
Shows how the rise of evangelical religion in the navy helped create a new kind of sailor, technologically trained and steeped in a higher set of values.

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