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Ill Companion to Nelson's Navy Hardcover – January 1, 2000


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Hardcover, January 1, 2000
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811708640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811708647
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,510,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Trinque VINE VOICE on February 2, 2000
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"The Illustrated Companion to Nelson's Navy" is a wonderful repository of information about ships, life at sea, and naval warfare during the era of Jack Aubrey, Richard Bolitho, and Horation Hornblower (frequent mention of these and other fictional Royal Navy officers is made in the book, placing them in the real life context). The range of material covered is very broad, and it is attractively and concisely presented, often in a graphical or tabular form. The book is illustrated with hundreds of drawings, paintings and diagrams, many of them from contemporary sources. If you want information about ship types, naval weapons, life on board, battles, ship handling, sails and rigging, watches and bells, rates of pay, distribution of prize money, and seemingly almost anything else you can think of, this is a very handy place to find it. I strongly recommend this book for anyone interested in learning about the background to the novels of Patrick O'Brian, Alexander Kent, Dudley Pope, and C.S. Forester.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Terence Chua on May 19, 2001
When I was much younger and first started reading the Horatio Hornblower books by C.S. Forester, I was blown away by the authenticity, yet puzzled by the jargon - what's a halliard, for example, or a topsail? What does it mean to shorten sail, and what is the lee side of a ship? This book would have helped immensely. It's not overly technical, nor does it swamp you with minutiae, but it gives you a good general overview of the British ships of the Napoleonic era, what the nautical terms are, what life was like on board and a couple of summaries of battles for good measure.
This is an appetizer, but what an appetizer it is. If you're looking for more technical specs of ships of the line look elsewhere, but if you're a newbie to the entire historical nautical fiction scene, I can think of few better places to start.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Eric on September 26, 2000
This book is full of clear illustrations and explanations of the main aspects of naval life and operations. I'm working my way through the O'Brian series and this book is quite helpful when I can't remember a brig from a sloop or whether the topsails are above or below the topgallants. My brother is reading the Hornblower series and he'll get a birthday present of this book. I especially like the references to the multiple fictional series that appear throughout the sidebars and main text.
Don't look for long, drawn-out technical specifications in this book. It covers a wide variety of topics at just enough detail to appreciate the historical accuracy and color of the fiction.`
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey R. Elver on August 15, 2003
I needed a primer on warships in the age of sail, and needed it on short notice. This was available, so I bought it. All in all it wasn't too bad. The book covered a wide range of subjects, and I walked away with the feeling that I had acquired a good base of information. In this the book excels.
Still, for me the heavy use of period naval jargon hindered my understanding of the subject matter, and the illustrations weren't the best. As other readers have noted, there were a number of technical inaccuracies, many of which could have been caught through better proof-reading.
Still, all in all I liked the book, and will keep it around for future reference.
--Jeff
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 2000
I found this book to be quite useful due to the amount of information presented in a relatively small space. All of the data can easily be found in other books, but it's nice to have so much of it all in one place. The writing is competent and the author obviously loves his subject. Overall the book provides an entertaining glimpse into the British navy at the height of it's power during the great age of sail. My problem with the book is in it's presentation. The illustrator, Richard Lawrence, has a style that might most charitably be described as amateurish. Further the layout of the book is a mish-mosh of period illustrations (often badly or muddily scanned and printed in garish blue), Lawrence's original art as well as his copies or adaptations of period illustrations, and less than stellar "Adobe Illustrator"-style drawings used to illustrate some technical points (the jacket illustration is by Geoff Hunt and is quite nice). The overall effect is jarring and the lack of competence in the design and illustration makes the book a difficult read. I guess my major complaint is simply that I've been wanting a book just like this one for years (it might have been great) and I'm just dissapointed at the ham-handedness of this volume's presentation.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Richard Lawrence on May 27, 2002
Quite simply, this book gets it's facts wrong so often I've had to annotate every page in 10 to put it right. Real life ship facts and biographies are wrongly quoted but even more glaringly this book fails in its main mission. It sold itself to me on having authoritative pieces written in it that list many ships in fiction books. Ships like the Hotspur or Virago from two noted writers novels. Guess what? The list is in error and has the wrong entries in it. Not only that but ships rates are wrongly classified in this book and the number of guns they carried. Most of the technical stuff is valid but when the author tries to weave the fictional maritime world in he fails miserably.
I do love my copy though, it makes for interesting reading BUT I would only recommend it to a seasoned historian or fan of the era who KNOWS the truth about certain facts and books and can use that to glean the goodness from this (very stylishly presented) mishmash. A glorious mess but still a MESS!
...
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