Synopses & Reviews
A brutal, action-packed account of the sea battles of the Napoleonic War by the author of the bestselling Nelsons Trafalgar
Roy Adkins (with his wife Lesley) returns to the Napoleonic War in The War for All the Oceans, a gripping account of the naval struggle that lasted from 1798 to 1815, a period marked at the beginning by Napoleons seizing power and at the end by the War of 1812. In this vivid and visceral account, Adkins draws on eyewitness records to portray not only the battles but also the details of a sailors lifeshipwrecks, press-gangs, prostitutes, spies, and prisoners of war.
The War for All the Oceans is epic narrative history sure to appeal to fans of Patrick OBrian and C. S. Forester, as well as all readers of military and social history.
This is an historical narrative, beautifully composed and written, and brought to life through the letters and reminiscences of the participants themselves. This is how history should be written.
It is an account of the thwarting of Napoleon's ambitions by the British Navy in the seventeen years from 1798 to 1815; from the General's attempt to conquer Egypt and force a way to India, to the Emperor's sailing into Plymouth bay as a prisoner aboard the Bellerophon in August 1815.
The authors have compiled a history by letting the people directly involved recount their actions and emotions. The authors must be complimented on their excellent choices, interpretations and the essential linking histories.
Apart from a full description of the battle of the Nile, one learns of the so many lesser known actions that collectively won the conflict: the defence of Acre by Sidney Smith; and that of the so-called sloop, the Diamond Rock, literally a rock off the French held isle of Martinique the battle of San Domingo; Home Popham's South American venture on the River Plate at Montevideo; the American wars with the naval engagements on the Chesapeake and the land battle at New Orleans Cochrane as the Sea Wolf ranging almost at will along the French coast; the success and failure of the Basque Roads and of the Walcheren engagements; and the almost forgotten actions in the bombardment of Copenhagen and the capture of Banda Neira in the Dutch East Indies.
It is all a captivating history of naval actions, held dramatically together by and through the words and stories of the eyewitnesses. But it is not only concerned with naval engagements. The histories are linked together with the descriptions of the harsh life in the Navy: press gangs and prostitutes; trade and passengers; food and medical care; privateers and smugglers; espionage and naval intelligence; even the navy's interest in the submarines of Robert Fulton.
A portion of the book covers prisoners of war; the French nightmare on Dartmoor and the legendary escapes in France; from Bitche by Henchy O'Brien and from Valenciennes by Edward Boys, with the fascinating postscript of his return to Ostend, after the war, to find the woman who had befriended him and of whom he became the benefactor.
A large book, over 500 pages, it is possibly over referenced, but these are in 'end notes' and do not interrupt the text, though one might criticise the inclusion of 'selected reading' which simply reflects the excellent bibliography.
It may be long but it is a spell-binding narrative of the essentially human reaction to an enthralling period of naval history. A book not to be put down.
SW Soundings, June 2007
The bestselling authors of "Nelsons Trafalgar" return to the Napoleonic War in this epic narrative of the naval struggle that lasted from 1798 to 1815, a period marked at the beginning by Napoleons seizing power and at the end by the War of 1812. 16-page b&w photo insert.
As he did with his much lauded Nelson?s Trafalgar
, Roy Adkins (now writing with wife Lesley) again thrusts readers into the perils and thrills of early-nineteenth-century warfare. From its very first page, this is an adventure story?a superb account of the naval war that lasted from Napoleon?s seizure of power in 1798 to the War of 1812 with the United States. Providing a ringside seat to the decisive battles, as well as detailed and vivid portraits of sailors and commanders, press-gangs, prostitutes, and spies, The War for All the Oceans
is ?a rollicking, patriotic account of the Napoleonic wars that will go down well with Master and Commander
fans? (The Telegraph
About the Author
Roy and Lesley Adkins are husband-and-wife historians and archaeologists and the bestselling authors of Nelson's Trafalgar, Jack Tar, and The Keys of Egypt, among other
books. They live in Devon, England.Roy and Lesley Adkins are husband-and-wife historians and archaeologists and the bestselling authors of Nelson's Trafalgar, Jack Tar, and The Keys of Egypt, among other
books. They live in Devon, England.