The Command of the Ocean describes with unprecedented authority and scholarship the rise of Britain to naval greatness, and the central place of the Navy and naval activity in the life of the nation and government. Based on the author's own research in half a dozen languages over nearly a decade, and synthesising a vast quantity of secondary material, it describes not just battles and cruises but how the Navy was manned, how it was supplied with timber, hemp and iron, how its men (and sometimes women) were fed, and above all how it was financed and directed. It was during the century and a half covered by this book that the successful organising of these last three victualling, money and management took the Navy to the heart of the British state. It is the great achievement of the book to show how completely integrated and mutually dependent Britain and the Navy then became. The Command of the Ocean is a landmark in naval and military history; but it also allows us to see the history of Britain as a whole in a new perspective. Anyone interested in British history at this crucial stage in it's development will find it both engrossing and enlightening.
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N. A. M. Rodger is professor of naval history at Exeter University and a fellow of the British Academy. He is the author of The Wooden World and the highly acclaimed volumes of his naval history of Britain, The Safeguard of the Sea and The Command of the Ocean. He lives in England.From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. The adjective "magisterial" is justified for this colossal second volume of a complete history of British sea power, which began with The Safeguard of the Sea (1998); the author of the classic 18th-century British naval history, The Wooden World, has surpassed himself here. The book opens with the establishment of the Commonwealth in 1649; for its duration there were two British navies, the Commonwealth Navy (which laid the foundations for a professional officer corps and fought the First Dutch War of 1652–1654) and a semipiratical Royalist Navy-in-Exile. After the Restoration, we quickly find the diarist Samuel Pepys exercising less literary but more permanent influence as secretary (or chief administrative officer) of the admiralty. The book offers colossal amounts of information (organized sometimes thematically, sometimes chronologically) right through to its endpoint of 1815, accompanied by a formidable set of notes and bibliography, as well as 24 pages of illustrations. The author not only avoids a hagiography of famous admirals but displays psychological insight in his portraits of, for example, the trio of Lord St. Vincent, his protégé Nelson and Nelson's indispensable second, Collingwood. Rodger also demonstrates a firm grasp of the relationship of technical subjects (the amount of tar caulking a ship needed) to British strategy (keeping the Baltic sources of tar accessible). Readers without an intense interest in the subject may be daunted; readers without some background knowledge in British social history may be somewhat at sea in the author's discussion of the officer corps and the recruitment of sailors (usually through the press-gang). Serious students of naval history, however, will find this absolutely indispensable; this is the place to find out whence the navy of Jack Aubrey and Horatio Hornblower came.
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0140288961