This finely researched book is a portrait of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars; but it is particularly a portrait of the Navy's people, of the officers and men who formed that formidable fighting force made popular by novels of C.S. Forester and Patrick O'Brian. These men were assembled from all classes in society and came from all parts ...Read MoreThis finely researched book is a portrait of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars; but it is particularly a portrait of the Navy's people, of the officers and men who formed that formidable fighting force made popular by novels of C.S. Forester and Patrick O'Brian. These men were assembled from all classes in society and came from all parts of the British Isles and so the social history of the Navy demonstrates a complete cross-section of contemporary life, and the divisions aboard ship, between quarter deck and lower deck for instance, reflected divisions on land. But parentage and social background form only a small fragment of the story. The author follows their lives from the cradle to the grave and paints a detailed picture of both the expectations and the reality of life at sea. He describes how men came to go to sea and explains the volunteer, the press and the quota; the story of officer-entry is dealt with, along with the whole complex business of shipboard and naval hierarchy. Pay, prize money and other inducements are explained along with insight into the unhappier predicament of half-pay. In the twenty-two years of war the cost in lives was heavy and every sailor was confronted by the persistent and daily dangers of the sea itself, the enemy and disease. If he was lucky enough to survive then an officer retired ashore on half-pay, not rich but proud of his service; a sailor from the lower deck might find a snug berth in one of the naval hospitals. He would have little but then he never expected much. First published in 1960, Lewis' book is a masterful account of how the men of the Nelsonic navy, at sea in those far-distant storm-beaten ships', organized their insular social world.Read Less
Fair in fair dust jacket. Ex Library book with usual stamps and stickers. Small tea stains to the page edges. (Hence Acceptable) Good reading copy. Jacket Condition: Good. Acceptable: a readable copy. All pages and the cover are intact (dust cover may be missing). Pages can include considerable notes (in pen or highlighter) but notes cannot obscure the text. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day.
pp. 467. 8vo. Black and white photographs, illustrations and tables. Bound in blue cloth with gilt decoration to front board, gilt lettering to spine and blue dye top page edges. Slight spine slant, some scuffing to front and rear boards, light age toning; very good.
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