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The World Of Jack Aubrey Hardcover – October 14, 2003

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About the Author

David Miller, a former British Armed Forces officer, has spent his entire professional life in military service or as an advisor on military matters.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press (October 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762416521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762416523
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #927,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am a newcomer to the world of Aubrey and Maturin, and like a novice I have found myself somewhat overwhelmed by the overwhelming amount of nautical and naval detail contained in the book. I sought this book out because I thought it might help make that world a bit clearer. To a very large extent, this handsome though slender volume did the trick. The book provides a to-the-point introduction to the world of naval combat during the Napoleonic age, and I definitely have a clearer idea of the kinds of ships that were around at that time. I read through the book once, and I anticipate going to it again as I work my way through the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin volumes (I'm currently nearing the end of H.M.S. SURPRISE, the third book).
Despite having learned from the book, I was somewhat disappointed that it didn't cover more. I can think of two chapters that I would very much have profited from. The first would have been a chapter dealing with the "stuff" of a ship. This volume does this slightly in talking of the sailing rig of a typical boat, but I would have liked more detail. What weight was the rope used on these boats and was it hemp? Where did they store extra rope. How did they deal with the water needs of the ship's inhabitants, how much was allotted to a sailor each day, and how often did they need to resupply water and food? The second chapter that I would have liked to see would have been one on the mechanics of sailing. I am not a sailor, and have never been on a sailboat (despite living in Chicago alongside Lake Michigan). I would have benefited enormously from a chapter explaining how a ship of the British navy moved about on the water. Navigating ships is a major feature of the novels, and I would very much have loved more explanation of how this is done.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By B.P. on February 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Specific in subject, this book illustrates the past naval environment in which the novels of Partick O'Brian are set. Focusing on just the elements that relate to the Aubrey/Maturin story. In the first couple chapters it describes a variety of historical ships used basically in the wars between 1793 and 1815. How they where classified in rates, highlighting a few key happenings in the life of each vessel. Then necessities of sailing are elaborated upon as well as naval weapons and uniforms in the later part of the book. The short and final few chapters deal with Other Naval Powers in opposition to the Royal Navy as well as Privateers and Pirates. Significant ships, countries, events and the Letter of Marque are mainly what occupy the text here.
The book exhibits many wonderful color pictures. For quick reference there are charts, a diagram labeling the sails of a ship, and ship profile info squared off separately from the text throughout the pages. Probably what is greatly valuable is the Glossary of Nautical Terms. The information provided is the basics, but it still remains quite educational for the novice. The entire book makes a nice direct guide to the old maritime world surrounding our Captain Jack Aubrey character.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Wang on December 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This slim volume is very attractively put together. The layout is pleasing, and the many photos and historical paintings are easily the best part of the book. Past that, though, the quality drops off.

The text is reasonably well written, but doesn't always flow well. Often you'll turn the page and be surprised that the chapter is over. Or you'll read fairly detailed information on one subject, yet find gaps in others. For instance, there is a detailed chart of the actual weight of cannon shot depending on the nationality of its manufacture. This is interesting, but seems oddly out of place. In many places the book feels like a hastily organized jumble of facts. A bit more effort, and the services of a decent editor, would have improved this book.

Another improvement that could have been made by an editor is the removal of numerous typos and glitches. On one page, two illustrations have their captions transposed. In many other places obvious typos are present. If I can catch them by reading the book once, they shouldn't be there.

Perhaps the worst flaw of this book is its incompleteness. It's missing a serious discussion of how ships were sailed, information on battle tactics, and recurring locales from the novels. Worse, the book uses terms that it never explains. For instance, the caption of one illustration mentions that the bowsprit gammoning is ommitted for clarity. But gammoning is not in the glossary. (As it turns out, if you google for "bowsprit gammoning" you'll find an amazing online reference, geared towards model ship builders, with more detail than you can shake a stick at) The book is filled with such omissions. I'm pretty familiar with nautical terminology, but I'd worry for someone who got this book as their only reference.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dr J on November 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a small coffee table book (less than a hundred pages) that is intended as an introduction to Patick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey novels. It is chock-full of diagrams, drawings, tables, pictures and so on. It covers a wealth of topics, such as types and ratings of vessels, sails and sailing, weapons. Uniforms, naval powers other than Great Britain, and privateers. It also includes a glossary at the end. There is a lot of information packed into those 90 or so pages and the reader can learn a lot. However, there is one great drawback to this book: it is written in a style that is sometimes hard to follow and assumes the reader already has a certain command of naval vocabulary. One example (page 43) will suffice:

"The lower mast passed down through holes in the deck known as partners and was stepped on the kelson. Masts were held in position by forestays which extended forward on the centerline of the vessel, while there were two sets of backstays extending aft to be secured to the sides by channel plates. The masts were stayed athwartships by shrouds."

Huh? If you can follow that, great, but in a book designed as an introduction, it's a bit much. One has to keep flipping to the glossary to figure out what's going on. However, not all the problematic words are in the glossary, kelson for example is absent (Kelson does appear in Sea of Words-see my review of that excellent book). This style diminishes the value of the book somewhat. If you find a copy, read it, but make sure you have Sea of Words at hand.
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