The War for All the Oceans: From Nelson at the Nile to Napoleon at Waterloo

The War for All the Oceans: From Nelson at the Nile to Napoleon at Waterloo

Hardback

By (author) Roy Adkins, By (author) Lesley Adkins

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  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
  • Format: Hardback | 560 pages
  • Dimensions: 153mm x 234mm
  • Publication date: 21 September 2006
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0316728373
  • ISBN 13: 9780316728379
  • Illustrations note: Section: 16, b/w
  • Sales rank: 1,112,621

Product description

The period 1798 to 1815 - the Napoleonic Wars - has just about everything that you could wish for in a book on naval history - large fleet actions such as the Battle of the Nile and Copenhagen; many duels between pairs or small groups of ships, such as the Shannon and Chesapeake; combined operations like the disastrous Walcheren expedition; and attempts to destroy enemy ships with new inventions like torpedoes and rockets. Most naval histories stop at Nelson, but this book shows that what came afterwards is just as fascinating. Naval history is not just about broadsides and bloodshed, but the lives and experiences of real people, and for the first time extensive eyewitness accounts vividly portray aspects of life other than actual battles, including shipwrecks, press-gangs, prostitutes, spies and prisoners-of-war. At various times during this 17-year period, the British Navy took on almost every other nation that had a rival fleet: the French, Spanish, Dutch, Danes and Americans. Shipping routes all over the world were guarded to ensure that trade with Britain was not interrupted, and as Napoleon lost his empire, the British Empire formed solid foundations - all because Britain came to control the oceans.

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Author information

Roy and Lesley Adkins are archaeologists and writers. They are members of the Institute of Field Archaeologists and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and run their own independent archaeological consultancy from their base in South- West England. They have both written several books.

Editorial reviews

Sumptuous storytelling recreates the first worldwide war.Known as "The Great War" until World War I, the Napoleonic Wars embroiled Britain and other nations in conflict with France for a decade (1804 - 15), as Napoleon Bonaparte sought to create an empire in Europe. In this vivid history, husband-and-wife historians Roy (Nelson's Trafalgar, 2005) and Lesley (Empires of the Plain, 2004) take us from the audacious, supposedly invincible Napoleon's disastrous effort to conquer Egypt to his complete military defeat at Waterloo and England's rise as supreme naval power. Besides recounting major sea battles (involving Spain, Denmark, Russia, Turkey and other nations), the authors illuminate aspects of life at war and on the home fronts, quoting from diaries, letters and journals. We see Britain wild over Horatio Nelson after his defeat of the French at Trafalgar ("Joy, joy, joy to you, brave, gallant, immortalized Nelson!" wrote Countess Spencer in London); sailors suffering from lack of food and water and the scourges of smallpox and yellow fever; the brutal recruiting (impressments) of seamen to build the British navy; and the imprisonment of more than 100,000 captured Frenchmen in cramped British hulks that became tourist attractions. In that low-tech era, information about the enemy was hard to come by, communication difficult (even within one's own fleet) and hysteria rampant: Many British wondered whether the relentless Napoleon (seen only in drawings) was a creature from hell. American inventor Robert Fulton figures in the story, working for the British under the code name "Mr. Francis" to devise torpedo bombs used against anchored French ships. While charting the bitter rivalry between Britain and France, the Adkins also show how British trade restrictions plunged the young United States into the War of 1812, which destroyed Washington, D.C., but ranked as a mere sideshow for England.This real-life action will delight fans of fictional heroes from the same war - Horatio Hornblower (C.S. Forester) and Richard Sharpe (Bernard Cornwell). (Kirkus Reviews)