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Admiral Albert Hastings Markham (Hardback)

A Victorian Tale of Triumph, Tragedy and Exploration

Military > Biographies P&S History > British History > Victorian History

By Frank Jastrzembski
Imprint: Pen & Sword Maritime
Pages: 194
Illustrations: 50
ISBN: 9781526725929
Published: 6th December 2019


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Few men have lived such an extraordinary life as Admiral Albert Hastings Markham. Besides dedicating five decades of his career to the Royal Navy, Markham was a voracious reader, prolific writer, keen naturalist, and daring explorer. He battled Chinese pirates during the Second Opium War and Taiping Rebellion; chased down Australian blackbirding ships in the South Pacific; trekked to within 400 miles of the North Pole; hunted buffalo and visited Indian reservations in the United States; observed a bloody war in South America; canoed Canada’s remote Hayes River; and explored the icy waters of Baffin Bay and the Arctic Ocean archipelago of Novaya Zemlya. At the time of his death in 1918, The Globe declared that Markham’s passing removed from society ‘one of the most arresting figures of his time’.

While Markham’s life was filled with adventure, it was also marred by tragedy. Regrettably, Markham is best remembered for his role in the sinking of HMS Victoria in 1893. This one incident has tarnished his legacy until now. This book follows Markham on his nineteenth-century tales of adventure and misfortune and reassess the life of this forgotten admiral.

"…an account of the most fascinating career of a man who did not find his métier in his workaday life."

The Northern Mariner

Jastrzembski loves history and specializes in writing about nineteenth-century heroes and wars that few readers know about. He breathes new life into Admiral Markham in an account that is both entertaining and informative. The inclusion of Markham’s own words further enhances the experience and provides a closer glimpse into this man. Anyone with an interest in naval history, especially that of the Victorian Era, will find this a rewarding and highly readable volume.

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Pirates and Privateers

I did not know Markham and this new biography written more than 90 years after the last one serves excellently to make known a character with whom history was certainly not benevolent.

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

As featured by

The Naval Review

With maps, illustrations and photos, this is a highly entertaining book.

The Armourer, April 2020

This book is a great read, exemplifying that genre of peculiarly fascinating characters, the Victorian era Royal Navy officer in the person of Admiral Albert Hastings Markham. It is indeed ‘A Victorian Tale of Triumph, Tragedy and Exploration’: highly recommended.

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Australian Naval Institute

This is one of those biographies that reads more like an adventure story, and gives an interesting insight into the possibilities of a naval career during the period of the Royal Navy’s domination of the seas, even in a period without any major wars.

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History of War

The subject of this book, Admiral Albert Hastings Markham, was a truly remarkable man who participated in the adventure of exploration and discovery with an enthusiasm that would have put most of his peers to shame. His exploits in the Far East, the Pacific Islands, the Arctic and the American Frontier were the stuff of legends and yet, in his own terms, Markham’s later life was blighted by a general sense of unfulfilled ambition and a degree of rancor over the degree of his culpability for an accident at sea that claimed 358 lives. The author of this book has drawn on a remarkably rich bibliography, which includes Markham’s own writings, to produce a thoroughly entertaining account which is bound to leave the reader with the impression that Admiral Markham, despite his perceived failings, really does deserve a place in the pantheon of Victorian heroes.

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Phil Curme

This is an interesting story, well told.

GoodReads, Robert Neil Smith

You will learn far more than just about one man's life if you read this book, you get a window into the world of the 19th Century as seen through the eyes of one of its most peripatetic individuals. And I hope you enjoy his company as much as I did!

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The British Empire Blog

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone who has a genuine interest in the Victorian Royal Navy and the men who rose to lead it. It will also appeal to wargamers who enjoy refighting lesser known Colonial actions, as the earlier part of the book is full of scenario ideas. Finally, anyone with an interest in early Polar exploration will hopefully find the chapters that deal with Markham’s involvement as engrossing as I did.

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Wargaming Miscellany

A decent look at someone who make his life working at sea in the navy. A look at British as a sea power with at least one man's voyages and attempts on water.

NetGalley, Alexandra Roth

Featured ON THE BOOK SHELF with Neil Smith

Wargames Illustrated, November 2019
 Frank Jastrzembski

About Frank Jastrzembski

Frank Jastrzembski resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife Asha, and loves to travel. He is a proud alumnus of both John Carroll University and Cleveland State University. His passion is discovering and writing about forgotten events and individuals of the nineteenth century. A member of the Victorian Military Society, he was awarded the Browne Award for 2015. Visit www.frankjastrzembski.com to view a complete list of his publications.

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