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Nelson: The Sword of Albion (John MacRae Books)by John Sugden
Synopses & Reviews
The most authoritative and captivating account ever written of legendary British naval commander Horatio Nelson's early career and rise to prominence
Among military and naval commanders, Horatio Nelson stands as one of the finest examples of inspirational leadership. The historian John Sugden charts the period of Nelson's career neglected by earlier writers-from childhood to his breathtaking victory against the Spanish fleet at Cape St. Vincent when he became an admiral, lost an arm, and won international fame. Like Alexander of Macedon, Nelson led from the front (not always a sensible custom). But he was a natural leader and a genuine hero, and his actions invariably raised his stock with his men, who trusted him as a commander willing to share their dangers.
Nelson combines groundbreaking scholarship with a vivid and compelling narrative style. Detailing every facet of Nelson's crowded life, the author offers the only full account of Nelson's early voyages and the first complete analysis of the formative incidents in his career. Throughout there are revealing and startling discoveries about Nelson's relationships with family, patrons, officers, and men-and with his women. Previous biographies have failed to penetrate the mythology encrusting one of the world's greatest naval heroes, and none has been based on a thorough examination of original sources.
Nelson will immediately become the benchmark against which all subsequent books about Nelson will be judged. It is a biography of the best sort: compelling, authoritative, and thrillingly alive.
"Picking up where Sugden's Nelson: A Dream of Glory, 1758 — 1797 left off, this superb warts-and-all biography details the awe-inspiring ups and downs of the final eight years of British Admiral Horatio Nelson's life. After the then-39-year-old Nelson lost an arm in the Royal Navy's 1797 defeat at Tenerife, he returned home to convalesce with his loving wife, Frances. Quickly reappointed to command, Nelson achieved a stunning victory over the French at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. Emerging as an international superhero, he was elevated to the peerage and inspired a torrent of songs, snuff boxes, jewelry, and other commemorative memorabilia. Nelson's hunger for adoration impelled him to manipulate the press, flaunt his decorations for posterity, and enter into a notorious affair with the bewitching wife of Britain's ambassador to Naples — but it also drove him to push ever forward militarily, even in the face of extreme opposition. After several successful campaigns, Nelson was killed in the critical victory over the French and Spanish at the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, one of the greatest British naval triumphs since the 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada. In addition to expertly depicting the intricacies of maritime warfare, Sugden's meticulously researched, highly readable work will no doubt be the definitive portrait of a brilliant, fearless, inspiring warrior beset by flaws and vulnerabilities. 33 illus. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The most authoritative and intimate portrait written of Horatio Nelson
In this epic biography of British historys most celebrated naval commander, acclaimed historian John Sugden separates fact from myth to offer a powerful portrait of the military hero of Trafalgar.
As was true of the Sugdens riveting account of Horatio Nelsons early years (Nelson: A Dream of Glory, 2005), this comprehensive life of Lord Nelson is built from largely overlooked primary documents, letters, and diaries that reach across two centuries to invite us to share Nelsons multifaceted life in the Napoleonic Wars.
The Sword of Albion offers the sweep and intimacy of first-rate historical fiction—revealing the interior lives, for example, of Lord Nelsons wife, Fanny and family and the caring and more passionate Emma, Lady Hamilton, who nursed the war-weary hero back to health in Naples and London after his brilliant victory over the Spanish fleet at Cape St. Vincent in 1797 and the stunning defeat at Tenerife that cost Nelson his right arm.
Todays reader comes to understand that every obstacle in Nelsons path was attacked head-on with an Achilles-like ferocity and resolve. Yet his life was no steady upward trajectory; it was instead plagued by injuries and debt for the commoner admiral in a royal navy and English society dominated by lineage and property. As Sugden points out, “His life was a mission with the essence of a tour de force, hurrying toward a bloody climax that would change the fate of empires.”
About the Author
John Sugden is the author of several biographies, including Nelson: A Dream of Glory, Tecumseh: A Life, and Sir Frances Drake. A historian and lecturer, Sugden has pursued his research for this work in archives in Europe, Britain, and North America over the past decade. He lives in Carnforth, England.
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