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French Warships in the Age of Sail 1626–1786 (ePub)

Design, Construction, Careers and Fates

Maritime > Naval Maritime > Seaforth Publishing

By Stephen S Roberts, Rif Winfield
Seaforth Publishing
File Size: 51.5 MB (.epub)
Pages: 438
ISBN: 9781473893535
Published: 25th October 2017


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Best Book award nomination

Nominated for the Maritime Foundation's 2018 Mountbatten Award for Best Book. View the full list of this year's nominations here.

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The origins of a permanent French sailing navy can be traced to the work of Cardinal Richelieu in the 1620s, but this naval force declined rapidly in the 1650s and a virtually new Marine Royale had to be re-created by Colbert from 1661. Thereafter, Louis XIV"s navy grew rapidly to become the largest and most powerful in the world, at the same time establishing a reputation for the quality of its ship design that lasted until the end of sail. The eighteenth century was to see defeat and decline, revival and victory, but by 1786 the French Navy had emerged from its most successful naval war having frequently outfought or outmanoeuvred the British Navy in battle, and in the process making a major contribution to American independence.

This book is the first comprehensive listing of these ships in English, and follows the pattern set by its companion volume on the 1786 - 1861 period in providing an impressive depth of information. It is organised by Rate, classification and class, with significant technical and building data, followed by highlights of the careers of each ship in every class. Thus for the first time it is possible to form a clear picture of the overall development of French warships throughout the whole of the sailing era.

Certain to become the standard English-language reference work, its publication is of the utmost importance to every naval historian and general reader interested in the navies of the sailing era.

Reviewed by Jane Plummer Pensacola, Florida

The Northern Mariner, Summer 2018

This is a companion volume to the authors’ previously published work on the French Navy 1786-1861 details are given of every warship ship employed by French Navy during the period 1626-1786. Details of armaments, crew, tonnage, battles and subsequent fates are included. The authors are to be congratulated on producing such a mammoth work of research covering a Navy just as important as its British counterpart in the age of sail. Complete with Acknowledgments, Bibliography, Index and lots more. Excellent and highly recommended.

World Ship Society

This book is a valuable research tool for all those interested in French naval vessels in the period between 1626-1786, regardless of their previous knowledge of maritime history. Winfield and Roberts have produced a superb addition to maritime history resources.

The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord, XVIII, No. 2 (Spring 2018) – reviewed by Jane Plummer Pensacola, Florida

This volume completes a project begun with the volume covering the period 1787–1861. The layout is identical, with the bulk of the text dedicated to detailed design, construction and operational histories of each ship, from first-rate line-of-battle ships to
humble transports, and the galley squadrons. This comprehensive compilation, built on decades of research by many authors, ensures students of naval history now have both sides of the Anglo-French order of battle across the Second Hundred Years War.

Taken singly and jointly these volumes provide a level of detail and analysis that will inform the development of scholarship, in all forms, on this subject for decades to come. With glossary, tables, appendices, and bibliography this is a major work of reference.

International Journal of Nautical Archaeology

In this new book, the authors, naval historians, Rif Winfield, and Stephen S. Roberts, provide the first comprehensive listing of these ships in English, that follows the pattern set by its companion volume, on the 1786 – 1861 period, in providing an impressive depth of information.

Model Boats, February 2018 - reviewed by John Deamer

It is an indispensable volume for any researcher, maritime historian, modeler or serious student of the naval ships of the French nation.

Ships in Scale, Winter 2017 - reviewed by Roger Marsh

A real treasure trove for all interested in marine history

ModellWerft, January 2018

About Stephen S Roberts

Stephen S Roberts has been studying the French navy since 1964, and wrote his PhD thesis on ‘The Introduction of Steam Technology in the French Navy, 1818-1852’. He served afloat for almost five years as an officer in US Navy destroyers, but he returned to Paris several times thereafter to collect material that is now in this book. In 1987 he edited for publication a classic dissertation by Theodore Ropp, The Development of a Modern Navy: French Naval Policy 1871-1904, and in 1991 prepared a detailed reference volume, Register of Ships of the US Navy, 1775-1990, Major Combatants, a thorough updating of a 1969 volume by K Jack Bauer. In 2013 he returned to his first love, producing between then and 2017 with Rif Winfield French Warships in the Age of Sail 1626-1786 and French Warships in the Age of Sail 1786-1861. He designed the present volume to form a trilogy with these covering almost three centuries of French warships and taking the story into the age of steam.

About Rif Winfield

Rif Winfield has made a lifetime’s study of the sailing warship. He holds a degree in International Politics, and is a Fellow of the Society for Nautical Research. Besides a number of journal articles, he is the author of The 50-Gun Ship (published in 1997) and First Rate: The Greatest Warships of the Age of Sail (in 2010), and was responsible for bringing to fruition in 2004 The Sail and Steam Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy 1815–1889 (a project begun by the late David Lyon prior to his death in 2000). He is also the author of the comprehensive four-volume series on British Warships in the Age of Sail (covering chronologically all British warships between 1603 and 1863) and – with his co-author Stephen Roberts – a similar two volumes on French Warships in the Age of Sail, in the same series as the current work.

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