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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commander : The Life...etc.
This book is a very well written account of a very interesting period of british naval history. Many famous names are encountered, Nelson, Jervis etc., with a very large and detailed glossary - the latter helping to make our hero's story progress in a very interesting and exciting narrative. The book makes it very evident that his exploits were overshadowed by events...
Published 20 months ago by colin brock

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but fluffy read.
Pellew who is one of the icons of the Royal Navy at its zenith deserved a better biographer. Although his name is well known, particularly as a frigate captain which has tended to obscure his later career which was distinguished, I didn't know too much about him and wanted to learn more. Taylor's book provides a reasonable summary of his career but is unlikely to satisfy...
Published 6 months ago by John Ellis


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commander : The Life...etc., November 6, 2012
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This review is from: Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain's Greatest Frigate Captain (Kindle Edition)
This book is a very well written account of a very interesting period of british naval history. Many famous names are encountered, Nelson, Jervis etc., with a very large and detailed glossary - the latter helping to make our hero's story progress in a very interesting and exciting narrative. The book makes it very evident that his exploits were overshadowed by events and personalities of the period in question but it left no doubt as to the value that such men of action made to the international superiority of the Royal Navy. As a 'Man's Man' there could be no doubt that Edward Pellew was an inspirational leader who would ask no man to do anything that he would not do himself and that included daring solo sea rescues to casting off his ship from a dangerous reef, when the crew defered from the job, then swimming back to the boat. He was not only a highly successful antagonist but also magnanimous in victory. Pellew not only had to fight the sea and enemy navies but also contend with the politics and vicious intrigues of the admiralty. The book is copiously illustated but some of the maps are difficult to read.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest sea captain of his time, October 3, 2012
A sea captain greater than Nelson? How about the man who is the mentor to Horatio Hornblower or the model for Jack Aubrey. Edward Pellew rose from obscurity thru the ranks to command a frigate at a time when commanding one meant you were at the cutting edge of empire . Stephen Taylor has done a great service to the reading public: he has made Viscount Pellew human . All the atmospherics are right .
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, November 30, 2012
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This review is from: Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain's Greatest Frigate Captain (Kindle Edition)
Pellew was one of the UKs greatest commanders, and an under appreciated figure from the age of British sea power. This book is fabulous, I read a ton of military non fiction, and I would recommend this book to anyone. One point that I think all people should know, that the author more or less tries to bring across, was Pellews efforts and strong feelings about slavery. He literally battled to set people free from bondage. The slaves he set free were Caucasian, and were enslaved in Africa of all places. People do not realize that well over a million Europeans were taken against their will to Africa as slaves, and this little known chapter of history is covered in this wonderful book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding - The real life Master and Commander, January 4, 2013
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Stephen Taylor has written a splendid page turner. His biography of Edward Pellew, Lord Exmouth, fills a surprising gap in the mainstream histories of the British Navy during the Napoleonic era. Taylor adds significant details and insights to Pellew's exploits and underlying character by carefully and fairly mining materials left behind by George Pellew, Pellew's youngest son.
Pellew, who appears in a favorable light as a mentor in Forrester's early Hornblower novels and as the likely model for Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey, deserves wider recognition as a resourceful, courageous, honorable and humane leader. Pellew was no saint: He used his influence to advance the careers of his brother and two of his sons beyond their capabilities and he made some noisy and powerful enemies, but he was in the words of his contemporaries a "good man". Taylor does his subject proud.
Taylor's story culminates in Pellew's greatest triumph - the suppression of barbary pirates of Algiers, albeit temporarily. His description of Pellew's earlier diplomatic efforts and his actual reduction of Algiers is as good as anything found in O'Brian or Forrester.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, December 17, 2012
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Lawrence G. Cohen (Gloucester, Va. USA) - See all my reviews
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One of the best books I have read in years. Reads better than fiction. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the late 18th century.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The British Naval exploiits in the Nineteenth Century, November 25, 2012
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This book gives a vivid picture of life in the British Navy around the time of Trafalgar. In addition to describing various naval actions, the author dicusses the politics which affected naval personnel at that time. The subject of the book was a very skilful marriner, adept at picking and training young men to develop into seasoned commanders, unless these young men were his relatives when he turned a blind eye to their faults. The comparison between his career and that of Horatio Nelson is fascinating. The book is a great read anyway, but the behind the scenes politics makes it seem contemporary, ships may change, men do not.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reading!, November 7, 2012
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This review is from: Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain's Greatest Frigate Captain (Kindle Edition)
Great reading -- fills in the blanks about a hero often alluded to in history and novels of the era, but overshadowed by Nelson. Also very good relative to politics and culture of the times.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Contribution, November 15, 2012
Taylor's "Commander" is must reading for anyone interested in the age of fighting sail. This is especially true for American readers since Pellew is relatively unknown in the States. At the outset, Taylor opens an interesting debate when he connects Pellew to the fictional Jack Aubrey and Horatio Hornblower. The better known Thomas Cochrane is frequently held up as the model for these popular characters. In the end, it may be that they are composites of several famous figures. If the book can be criticized, style will be the issue. There are single sentences that include as many as three commas,two colons, one semi-colon, elipses, and two sets of quotation marks. There ought to be a rule against this kind of writing. Similarly, Taylor sprinkles the narrative with odd expressions, such as "cock a snook". Perhaps a localism, its unfamiliar to me and I have to pause to guess its meaning. This breaks the flow of a superbly researched book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boys Own plus- Kindle and so SO portable., October 7, 2012
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From a tumultuos beginnings to high military office. He takes all the baggage and yet still moves ahead. Just a bloody good read: Social comment in a time of strict social stratification and just great "daring do".
I cannot wait for the TV series or the Movie - hey, surely someone must be considering!!!!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain's Greatest Frigate Captain, October 10, 2013
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This review is from: Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain's Greatest Frigate Captain (Kindle Edition)
Actual historical events often are more interesting and exciting than fiction or historical novels–especially when these events are well researched and described skillfully. Certainly this is true in considering Stephen Taylor’s biography, Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain’s Greatest Frigate Captain. We tend to use the phrase “larger than life” all to often when describing historical figures. However, Edward Pellew was truly a larger than life historical figure both literally and figuratively. He was a giant of a man in stature, a super hero physically as he larked about in the ship’s riggings at the tops of the masts, or dove into the sea to rescue hapless crewmen. He was an excellent tactician at planning and preparing for battle, a truly fine mentor to seamen in his command, a devoted husband and father and a chivalrous adversary to enemies, who were treated with utmost kindness when defeated. His men were utterly devoted to him.

The last battle which Pellew directed against the Dey of Algiers to free hundreds of Christian slaves was probably one of the greatest sea battles in the annals of British history, and is described accurately and fully in the book.

Taylor did a superb job carefully documenting all aspects of Pellew’s life including his rise from a lowly ships hand ultimately to the position of Admiral. In doing this Taylor also highlighted the internecine political battles, which affected Pellew’s life and sometimes prevented him from accomplishing even greater benefits for his country. In highlighting these political matters Taylor actually described many of the serious problems pervading the Admiralty in the late 18th and early 19th centuries which impacted negatively on British Naval interests.

Taylor’s book is an outstanding read, covering all aspects of the British Navy during the period of Edward Pellew’s life. It is a must read for anyone seriously interested in British Naval History.
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