Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle

Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle


By (author) Roy A. Adkins

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  • Publisher: Abacus
  • Format: Paperback | 416 pages
  • Dimensions: 126mm x 196mm x 30mm | 358g
  • Publication date: 5 May 2005
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0349116326
  • ISBN 13: 9780349116327
  • Illustrations note: Section: 16, b/w
  • Sales rank: 76,616

Product description

This is the true story of the Battle of Trafalgar, Britain's most significant sea battle, as seen through the smoke-hazed gunports of the fighting ships. In an atmosphere of choking fumes from cannon and musket fire, amid noise so intense it was almost tangible, the crews of the British, French and Spanish ships did their best to carry out their allotted tasks. For over five hours they were in constant danger from a terrifying array of iron and lead missiles fired from enemy guns, as well as the deadly wooden splinters smashed from the ships' hulls by the cannon-balls. While the men manoeuvred the ships and kept the cannons firing, the women helped the surgeons tend the sick or helped the boys - the 'powder monkeys' - in the hazardous job of carrying gunpowder cartridges from the central magazine to the gun decks. Trafalgar set the seal on British naval supremacy, which became the mainspring for the growth of the British Empire, and in the short term not only prevented Napoleon from invading Britain, but also enabled Britain and its Continental allies to mount the campaign that would eventually defeat the French Emperor: without Trafalgar there would be no Waterloo.

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Author information

Roy Adkins is an historian and archaeologist. He is also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Review quote

The blazing TRAFALGAR is at least the equal of STALINGRAD in blood, pace and detail, but it also boasts a welcome twist to the genre with a lacing of black humour INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY Masterful in explaining why Nelson's men were so much more efficient ... Adkins has written a compelling account MAIL ON SUNDAY Well-written and makes good use of first-hand accounts LITERARY REVIEW [Adkins's] painstaking digging, sifting, arranging and questioning take him everywhere on Nelson's fleet ... His account of the battle is a gripping album of snapshots from the quarterdecks and gun decks of the ships themselves ... A most eclectic but engagi SPECTATOR