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Stephen Biesty's Cross-Sections: Man-Of-War Hardcover – September 15, 1993


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Hardcover, September 15, 1993
$31.73 $2.45

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 980L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dorling Kindersley (September 15, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156458321X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564583215
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 10.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4 Up-In the tradition of Edwin Tunis's Oars, Sails and Steam (HarperCollins, 1977) and David Macaulay's Castle (1982) and Cathedral (1973, both Houghton), Platt and Biesty have created a unique, original, and highly visual description of life aboard an 18th-century British warship. Cross sections of Admiral Nelson's flagship HMS Victory are used to depict various aspects of seagoing life such as "Health at Sea," "Cooking and Eating," "Navigation and Discipline," "Battle Stations," etc. Biesty's pen-and-ink and watercolor drawings are accurate and highly detailed. Platt's accompanying text is clearly written and full of fascinating facts about the ship and the men who sailed her. Each spread of the oversized volume will encourage long, careful, and enthusiastic study by browsers and students alike. This first volume in a projected series on "incredible cross sections" will be popular in all libraries.
Don Reaber, Meadowdale High School, Lynnwood, WA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-7. The creators of Stephen Biesty's Incredible Cross-Sections have trained their writing and illustrative talents on an eighteenth-century British man-of-war. Moving from bow to stern, they dissect the wooden vessel into sections and then cut away each portion to analyze the structures and the activities performed within. In addition, each chapter discusses a different aspect of life at sea, from working to leisure time to cooking and eating to navigation and discipline. Readers studying the large cutaway diagrams will be fascinated by the detailed hustle-bustle typical of a ship carrying a crew of 800 sailors. But life was brutal on board, and Biesty doesn't flinch from some of its goriest aspects--a bucket of bloody amputated limbs beneath the surgeon's operating table, dismembered bodies plummeting into the sea during battle, and maggots in the sailors' biscuit rations. The intriguing text, presented in brief, anecdotal notes, is accompanied by smaller drawings, making this meticulously presented book a treasure of factual content and visual imagery. Ellen Mandel

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 24 customer reviews
A really fun book.
Amazon Customer
The movie director did an excellent job portraying life aboard the Man-of-War.
S. Tompkins
This is an oversized book, thin but full of detailed information.
bookjunkiereviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 6, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Although this is a "children's" book, it's wonderful for adults who love the books of Patrick O'Brian, C. S. Forester, Frederick Marryat, and other writers of the age of sail - but who don't know a thing about ships. I've read the entire Aubrey/Maturin series twice and dabbled in other naval fiction, but this book is the first (including some pricey reference books!) to *really* help me understand shipboard life, how the decks are laid out, where things are, how the pumps worked, and so on. Other books can explain the lingo and the rigging and so on in great (often too great for me) detail, but in my opinion this book is just as important a reference - even though it's aimed at kids. It doesn't just *tell* you how things were, it lets you *see* how they were.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By bookjunkiereviews on April 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
you should definitely try to get this book. I am a landlubber, who has just discovered the pleasures of Hornblower and Aubrey/Maturin (via Austen's Persuasion). Along with a number of more serious naval non-fiction reference works, notably THE WOODEN WORLD by N.A.M. Rodger (ISBN 0393314693; ASIN 0393314693)I found a copy of this wonderful book first at my public library and then in a sale at my local store.
This is an oversized book, thin but full of detailed information. A man-of-war, one of the mainstays of the Georgian fleet during the wars of the 1700s and early 1800s, is "cut away" section by section and deck by deck to illustrate life on board as well as the structure of the ship. The first works better than the latter, although I got a very good idea of how the ship's anchor works as well as how the ship crew handled guns and gunpowder (as well as the dangers of a loose gun). I wished that the authors had provided a bird-eye view of the ship from the top of the masts, and showed sailors working the sails. Apart from this and other minor quibbles, I think I learned more from this book faster than I had expected.
Yes, this is a children's book, but it is highly recommended by sites specializing in naval fiction of the Georgian and Regency era (think Napoleonic Wars, Revolutionary Wars, as well as sites devoted to O'Brian and Forester). Children will be delighted by various grosser aspects of life abroad (the very basic toilet and bathing facilities, the surgeon in action during battle, and of course the maggot-filled biscuits), not to mention trying to find a certain stowaway. Adults will revel in little details that explain things that have puzzled them.
I started out not knowing port from starboard, and very little else.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dorling Kindersley has in the past twenty years quickly established itself as an outstanding publisher of niche books--children's reference books, travel guides, atlases, and the such. What I find so remarkable about a number of their children's books is how enormously satisfying they are for adults as well, even adults who are fairly familiar with the subject matter. One of the better series of books in their impressive list are the Cross-Sections books by Stephen Biesty. As someone who is interested both in the history of ships and the Aubrey-Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brian, I find this one even more interesting than most.
Two things stand out about this book: its remarkably detailed drawings and the enormous amount of information that gets stuffed into the book's relatively short length. This book provides a pictorial rendering of one of the great ships of the line of the Napoleonic navy, similar to H.M.S. Victory. Virtually nothing gets left out, and the book can actually serve as a surprisingly comprehensive introduction to the Royal British Navy during the time of Nelson and Napoleon. It is somewhat misleading in that the ship depicted was the exception and not the norm, the British navy possessing only a handful of ships this size. Apart from that the book has no serious flaws, except for the unaffordable one in a visual guide that it is sometimes hard to locate information in its closely packed pages.
I would also recommend another Dorling Kindersley book, also unfortunately out of print, THE VISUAL DICTIONARY OF SHIPS AND SAILING. It does a bit better job than this one of defining many nautical terms. Each represents a marvelous addition to personal library of books on the age of the sailing ship.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book as a birthday gift for my husband (yes, I know it's a "kids book"). He collects books about naval history and ships, and I was gratified to see that this book quickly became one of his favorites (the kids love it too). It's an absolutely fascinating read; the illustrations are wonderfully detailed (and often somewhat disgusting, much to the delight of the kids). A really fun book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Boken#1 on August 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book I came across watching Steve Priske on youtube. It's full color cut away sections of the HMS Victory showing the composition of the ship is well worth buying. It may have been for children, but the full color illustrations and explanations of the ship operation make it a book worth having on your shelf. Especially if purchased at a reasonable price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nigel Tufnel on May 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a really impressive book. I wish I had it when I began Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander novels. Additionally, I've read this to my son for many bedtimes. (The cover page features a reprint of an ad looking for a young stowaway.)
For anyone interested in life at sea in a man-of-war I can't recommend this enough.
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