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Patrick O'Brian's Navy: The Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey's World Hardcover – September 4, 2003


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Frequently Bought Together

Patrick O'Brian's Navy: The Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey's World + A Sea of Words, Third Edition: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian + Harbors and High Seas, 3rd Edition : An Atlas and Geographical Guide to the Complete Aubrey-Maturin Novels of Patrick O'Brian, Third Edition
Price for all three: $51.22

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; 1st edition (September 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762415401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762415403
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Both visually impressive and highly informative, this large-format introduction to Napoleonic naval warfare focuses on Patrick O'Brian's splendid Jack Aubrey saga, which it presents as a major work of English literature. In fact, parts of this book (including the material on Lord Cochrane, the original model for Jack Aubrey's character) will be more useful to O'Brian's fans than to the lay reader. However, the book also depicts, in words and pictures, the political background of the Napoleonic Wars, the development of the major navies, the sailors' life at sea (where weather and disease killed far more men than battles did) and the design and construction of the wooden sailing warship. The volume also details the training of officers, fleet actions, frigate actions (prominent in the career of both Cochrane and his avatar) and the role of piracy, slave trading and mutiny in the maritime history of the era. Although not uniformly well reproduced, the illustrations are outstanding, including many period items, and the book as a whole makes a fine treat O'Brian's many fans.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Richard O'Neill is a writer and editor who has specialized in military history for the past 40 years. He is the author of Suicide Squads, a history of the weapons and missions of the Special Attack units of World War II. He has contributed to many books on weaponry and military history, including The Complete Encyclopedia of 20th Century Warships, The Vietnam War and, most recently, An Illustrated History of the Royal Navy. He was a major contributor to Lands And Peoples, a multi-volume educational work, and wrote Presidents of the United States for the Facts America series. He is also the author of The Middle Ages and World War II for the "Historical Facts" illustrated series.

Customer Reviews

This book is both informative and enjoyable to read.
Karl Evan Shikles
It's a fairly big, coffee table type book that has a lot of pictures and illustrations.
Danielle Greenhouse
I gave this book to my husband as a Christmas gift and he was delighted.
Judith E. Pearson, Ph.D.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

200 of 203 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Trinque VINE VOICE on September 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Patrick O'Brian's Navy: The Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey's World" is one of those books that doesn't really have an author. Richard O'Neill is listed as the Consulting Editor, but the Editor and Indexer is Philip de Ste. Croix, and there are a number of "Contributors" including David Miller, who has his own Jack Aubrey-related book coming out soon ("The World of Jack Aubrey").
This is a handsome coffee table-size volume, about 150 pages long, and heavily illustrated. The illustrations may be its strongest point - hundreds of them, mostly contemporary to Jack Aubrey's era and mostly reproduced in vivid color. I have seen many of them before, but usually in black-and-white, so even just on this score, "Patrick O'Brian's Navy" is an attractive addition to a historical nautical library. And there are some modern illustrations as well, usually in the form of diagrams to show complex information such as sail and rigging designations, crew assignments, and the arrangement of watches. Other data is conveyed in tabular form, like those for uniform details, prize money distribution, and crew organization for various ship classes.
Although the primary focus is upon the Royal Navy, there are also chapters devoted to what might be called the geo-political world of the Napoleonic Era. There is a conscious effort to tie all this to Jack Aubrey and the O'Brian novels, with the text, detailing historical events in which Jack took part (including those before the start of the book series) and occasionally providing sidebars titled "Through Aubrey's Eyes" that relate particular subjects to volume and chapter of the novels.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Bill Marsano on August 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
By Bill Marsano. So far as publishers are concerned, they ain't over till they're over. I speak of (and they profit from) World War II and the Age of Fighting Sail. The former recently gave us "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors," a fine (and rare) account of our Navy's noblest victory; now the latter brings us "Patrick O'Brian's Navy"--which is not, please note, just for O'Brian fans.

All in all the book does an excellent job of conveying the context--from the British side--of the Royal Navy during its years of near-constant war with the French. It's large in format, heavily and handsomely illustrated with contemporary paintings, engravings, watercolors and cartoons as well as modern diagrams and maps. All are generously displayed. The text sometimes struggles to work its way around them, especially as there are frequent over-sized quotations and framed text blocks ("sidebars" containing abstracts from contemporary diaries and news reports) that occupy their own spaces.

Battle coverage is terrific. The Royal Navy's great triumphs are well detailed, as are several notable if not-so-well-known small actions, chosen for their display of aubreyesque daring and dash. And Lord Cochrane, one of the primary inspirations for Aubrey, gets extensive copverage all by his heroic self. The Royal Navy's internal world is also very nicely explored--ratings and ranks; manning and management (and mismanagement: mutinies are included); rigs and rigging, and--just when we run out of Frenchmen, pirates and slavers.

Organization is something of a problem.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Richard O'Neill's coffee table book is a splendid, though terse, overview of the British Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. It does a fine job covering virtually every aspect, from the types of ships to their crews and various subjects such as punishment and entertainment available onshore and off by seamen. It is not the definitive word on the Royal Navy during this period, nor is it meant to be, since O'Neill spends much time relating the real history to the events chronicled in O'Brian's novels. May be regarded as an essential purchase by diehard fans of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
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87 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Joeyjojo on February 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is maddening. Yes, it is very cool, all the history you can take in. Nice pictures and what not.

My BIG CONCERN is that the author has no clue. He puts spoilers in every nook and cranny of the book. Here is a made up example that recounts my experience: While giving the book a pre-bedtime read, I come across an interesting illustration, the caption reads something along the lines of "The victorian sailor enjoyed drinking, too bad Jack Aubrey's favorite sailor dies from drinking in the book you are about to read." or "Spying in the Royal Navy was always a concern, for example, in the 100 days, Preserved Killick's mother turns out to be a spy for Spain."

No warning, momentus events and dark secrets get spilled at random.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By D. Blair on July 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you love the O'Brian books, tall ships, navel history/battles, you cannot do better. The writting is concise and informative. The history is crisp and puts you in the action. This is the kind of nautical art that you love and cannot afford to own, the best of its kind. Be warned however; if you have not finished reading all the Aubrey books, just enjoy the pictures in Patrick O'Brian's Navy, and read it later, for they mention some of the incidents in the books that you may prefer to find out on your own. This is truly a coffee-table book, rich and glorious. If you buy one for yourself, you are bound to buy more for your friends and relatives who love the Aubrey books, as did I. You will not regret it.
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