Synopses & Reviews
"I beg my dear will not be uneasy at my staying out so long," wrote Admiral Boscawen to his wife in 1756. "To be sure I lose the fruits of the earth, but then I am gathering the flowers of the sea." Filled with 3,700 entries and covering a span of over 5,000 years, The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea
offers readers the opportunity to gather also the many flowers of the world's bountiful waters. From the days when man first ventured on the waters in his primitive canoe to the modern age of the nuclear submarine, the hydrofoil, and the ultra large crude oil carriers of half a million tons, this comprehensive Companion
brings together the immense field of marine terminology in one easily accessible volume.
International in scope, the Companion ranges from the ships and the men who opened up the world with their voyages into the unknown, through the struggle of nations as they developed and recognized that power and prosperity depended on the excercise of sea power, to those who wrote about and painted the sea scene. And within this wide compass lie all sorts of maritime specialties such as the changing designs of ships to meet particular needs, the huge growth of yachting as modern men and women continue to find more and more delight, relaxation, and challenge in the wide spaces of the sea, and the modern developments in navigation which so greatly simplify the art of finding one's way at sea. Also covered is the rich language of the sea, developed over centuries into a well-recognized and accepted vernacular that binds together seamen of many countries making them a breed whose colorful language quickly identifies their trade. Terms such as mizen-mast (the mast of a square-rigged sailing ship or of a three-masted schooner), bucko'mate (the mate of a sail ship who drove his crew by the power of his fists), and six water grog (a punishment in the British Navy often inflicted on seamen found guilty of neglect or drunkeness in which their daily tot of rum was diluted with six parts of water instead of the normal three) are just a few examples of the sea's unique and diverse language. Definitions, and the derivation where known, are given for most words and terms used everyday at sea, and those which have fallen into disuse through technological development are also included, as they appear so frequently in the literature of the sea. Included as well are helpful appendices on naval ranks, international signal codes, rules of the sea (important lights, daymarks, and fog signals), buoys and buoyage, and equivalents of some common units of measure, making this is an invaluable reference tool for both land and sea.
Illustrated throughout, The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea is the definitive reference of the seafaring history of the world. From biographies of those who left their mark upon the sea to accounts of naval battles and histories of famous ships to lore, language, and customs of the sea, this outstanding volume will provide hours of pleasure for all those with a love of the sea and all things nautical.
"[T]his book is an invaluable reference for anyone who is interested in maritime and naval affairs and history....[I]t lives up to the billing given it by one British critic: '[a] totally absorbing work covering almost every possible subject to do with maritime matters.'"--Proceedings, April 1995
"Marvelous....Comprehends between two covers the secrets of the sea and the treasures of the men who sail on it."--Times
"Expertly edited....Tells you all you ever wanted to know about the sea."--Sunday Telegraph
"Peter Kemp and his distinguished crew of contributors and illustrators have done us proud....It's a beguiling book."--Daily Telegraph
"Deserves a place by every bunk."--The Listener
"A totally absorbing work...covering almost every possible subject to do with maritime matter."--Financial Times
"For anybody with an interest in the sea."--Guardian
Everything nautical under one cover. This companion includes biographies of famous seamen, descriptions of famous and not-famous naval battles, stories of great ships and great races, entries on seafaring literature, surveys of marine designers and engineers, language and lore, principles of shipbuilding, navigation, and much more. Exhaustive. Many photos and drawings.
About the Author
has written widely on naval, military, and yachting subjects. He was previously the Head of the Naval Historical Branch, British Ministry of Defense and editor of sporting and yachting at The Times