Boys at Sea

Boys at Sea : Sodomy, Indecency, and Courts Martial in Nelson's Navy

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Boys at Sea is a study of homoerotic life in the Royal Navy during the age of sail. It deals not only with sex among ordinary crewmen, but reveals that the most consistent feature of prosecutions for sodomy and indecency involved officers forcing their attentions on ships' boys. The book traces every feature of sexuality at sea, and provides a probing look at a dark and terrifying aspect of the lives of youngsters who served in Britain's warships.

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  • Hardback | 262 pages
  • 144.78 x 218.44 x 25.4mm | 408.23g
  • Palgrave MacMillan
  • BasingstokeUnited Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0230522289
  • 9780230522282
  • 1,641,691

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Review quote

'Burg's is the most detailed exploration yet published of homoerotic activity in the Nelson-era Royal Navy. Boys at Sea, based on the often-lurid trial transcripts of the day, is unflinching in its candid analysis of this controversial subject.' - Christopher McKee, author of Sober Men and True: Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy, 1900-1945 'Professor Burg provides us with a fine study of shipboard sexual offenses in the British Navy in the age of sail based on Courts Martial records. His knowledge of ship board conditions and in particular the role of young and vulnerable boys is exemplary and his account of how prosecution of buggery was shaped by war and changing attitudes offers a window into sexuality in time and place that is a great addition to our understanding of the social construction of sex and society. Rumor, innuendo and suspicion have been replaced by solid evidence in this important book.' - Arthur N. Gilbert, Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver, USA 'If sodomy was a fact of naval life, it has finally been placed in context by this careful, scholarly analysis.' - Andrew Lambert, Times Literary Supplement

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About B. R. Burg

B. R. BURG is Professor of History at Arizona State University, UK. He is the author of numerous books and articles on seafarers and sexuality in the age of sail.

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