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Nelson: A Dream of Glory Paperback – International Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico (October 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845951913
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845951917
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #679,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This splendid and colossal volume is the first of two constituting what is likely to be the definitive biography of Lord Nelson for at least a generation. The basic narrative may be familiar to most readers, taking Nelson from his childhood in a Norfolk rectory into the Royal Navy and up through its ranks to rear admiral. It leaves him there, temporarily beached, steeped in glory from his role at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent and minus an arm and an eye. Sugden (Tecumseh) has surpassed virtually every writer on the subject since the late Carola Oman in two respects. One, he has indefatigably used primary sources, sought over many years in many countries with much acknowledged help from fellow scholars. Second, he has placed Nelson firmly in the context of his country and his service in the 18th century, an era when a free and easy attitude toward sex, money and influence peddling prevailed. Sugden handles these aspects of "the Nelson touch" with aplomb—as well as the man's thorough knowledge of his profession, nearly suicidal physical courage, personal charisma and loyalty both up and down. Whether or not one believes in "great men," this is surely a great book about one of the most significant figures in the history of naval warfare, and even one volume of this latest biography will notably illuminate the seascape as we approach the bicentennial of the Battle of Trafalgar.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Ensconced within two centuries of biographical detail, British naval icon Horatio Nelson receives an exacting excavation from Sugden (Tecumseh, 1998). In illustrative incidents, Sugden indeed portrays an animated rather than an alabaster Nelson as readers learn of the string-pulling that elevated his career, his amours in several ports, and the relative leniency of his leadership, which inspired great loyalty from his crews. Sugden's volume ends in 1797; a planned second volume will recount the fleet battles that put Nelson's name in the front rank of naval history. Aboukir Bay (1798) and Trafalgar (1805) impelled contemporaries to sift Nelson's boyhood and youth for some premonition of the aggressive admiral-to-be and to embroider where heroism was faint. Although Sugden does attempt to sort fact from fiction--de rigueur whenever a biography aspires to definitiveness--the author proves most interesting when evaluating unflattering episodes in Nelson's formative years. Sugden captures Nelson's humanity by describing his bouts of despondency and apparent connivance in the escape of a wanted man and also relays his nautical ability and innovations in age-of-sail warfare. Sugden is manifestly and instantly the current authority on Nelson. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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If you only read one book about Nelson, this should be it (and the 2nd volume of course).
P. Haw
Discussed his personal life in some detail, which is good because many other authors glossed over it, especially historical authors who had certain limits of decorum.
Johnny B. Good
It was inspirational to reach the end of the book and understand just how low Nelson had fallen.
D. Schumacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By S. Rupar on December 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a very entertaining read, which feels at times as if you are reading a Patrick O'Brian or C.S. Forester novel. At the same time it is a well researched and scholarly, with 788 pages of text (the rest being footnotes, plus the index). This is not an introductory work, and the author does not pause to give readers much description of how sailing ships worked, or the organization of various departments of the Royal Navy bureaucracy, for example.

The book covers the life and career of Horatio Nelson through 1797, in great detail. Almost every voyage on every ship is covered at length and the writing style is very atmospheric. The author envelops the reader in the period by discussing details of naval life at the time at some length. Thus we learn about Nelson's attitudes towards discipline and court martials, including statistics on flogging and hanging on most voyages, and some apparently new evidence about Nelson's efforts to protect crew members from criminal courts. We also learn about Nelson's development of patronage among the men who served him, and his efforts to promote their careers.

Lesser known operational naval manuevers such as Nelson's 1797 efforts to save the British garrison on Elba are also covered in much detail, which again contributes to the reader's understanding of Nelson's perceptions and realities, and how they influenced his life and career.

I did not rate this 5 stars mostly due to the lack of maps, the lack of detail on some of the maps, and the paltry illustrations (8 black and white glossy pages in the center of the book). There is no map, for example, showing the location of the critical Battle of Cape St. Vincent in relation to ports in Spain and Portugal. Familiarity with the basic geography of Europe will be sufficient to read this book.

This is the first volume of a planned two-part biography, and I eagerly await the second volume.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By P. Haw on January 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm amazed and thrilled by the depth of Sugden's research and the new insight into the life of this incredible man. Since the age of 11 or 12 I've been fascinated with Nelson and he's been a hobby and a passion of mine ever since. I believe I've read just about every book written about him and truly believed there was nothing left to say. Sugden has proved me wrong.

His research of previously ignored original sources (courts-martial transcripts, correspondence, logs, diaries, etc.) presents a 3-dimensional look at not just the man himself, but also of his world and people around him. Instead of mere names of fellow officers, shipmates, politicians and acquaintances who interacted with Nelson, the author has researched their backgrounds and lives also and they "jump" off the page as real people. He also puts Nelson's naval and world views into the context of the late 18th & early 19th centuries rather than looking at them retrospectively through the eyes of many modern authors. Cleverly, the author repeatedly refers to Nelson as just Horatio, further bring him to life as a real begin to feel connected to him.

Sugden quickly lays to rest many of the myths that have surrounded Nelson for two centuries; however, this is not a "hatchet job" a la Terry Coleman, but a reasonable and rational examination of documented evidence to refute some of the "romanticized" legends. Nor is the book yet another hagiography of Nelson, rather it paints him as a sometimes rash, impetuous, politically rigid young officer, sometimes suffering severe bouts of depression, and not above "cooking the books" or, in one instance, flouting the authorities to facilitate the escape of an accused murderer.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By 1. on November 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Sugden has written a supberb biography of Nelson that is destined to be an classic. According to Sugden, the main strengths of Nelson was his audacity and willingness to exploit the weaknesses of the French navy. Nelson displayed his audacity in storming forts in Central America and Corsica, stopping illegal trade in the Carribbean, and fighting the French navy. Nelson was also able to exploit the weaknesses of the French navy by aiming at their hulls, closing with the enemy, and abandoning the line. However, Sugden writes that Nelson's weaknesses was his constant search for glory that led to womanizing and allowing Prince George run amok while on his watch. I wish that Sugden would have included comments about Joel Hayward's work in this book, otherwise this books deserves to win the Pulitzer prize.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Joe Brown on January 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is marvelous. I savored it from front to back. Many biographies suffer from tedious boredom. Not this book. Lord Nelson was "the great man", and this book reveals how be reached England's highest station. My only disappointment is that it only covered the period up to 1797, and I am fearful it may be a long time waiting for the other half.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth, the Traveler (Atlanta, Georgia) on March 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I fully agree with the Publishers Weekly evaluation. Having read many of the earlier biographies it is clear that the author examines the many myths and when they cannot be proved or disproved gives a balanced analysis of several options. It is amazing how Nelson continues to facinate so many people 200 years after his death. Neither a chief of state of captain of industry he continues across the centuries to facinate and inspire. Anyone reading this first very long volume will be lookng forward to the concluding volume.

Elizabeth Christian Jackson

Peace Corps Volunteer

Nelson Dockyard Museum

Antigua, West Indies
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