Mediterranean Naval Battles That Changed the World (Hardback)
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Focusing on seven decisive naval engagements from the Greek defeat of the Persians at Salamis in the fifth century BC to the Siege of Malta during the Second World War, this book tells the story of the Mediterranean as a theatre of war at sea. Each of these fiercely fought battles were to change the balance of power and shape the course of history. Before telling the story of each battle in detail the history of the balance of naval power in the Mediterranean and the effect of the development of naval architecture and design on the outcomes is outlined: Lepanto was the last major battle fought between galleys; Navarino was the last major battle to be fought entirely by sailing ships; and Cape Matapan (where a young Duke of Edinburgh saw action) was the first operation to exploit the breaking of the Italian naval Enigma codes. The battles included are: Salamis (480 BC), Actium (31 BC), Lepanto (1571), the Nile (aka Aboukir Bay, 1798), Navarino (1827), Cape Matapan 1941 and the Siege of Malta 1940-42.
The author’s in depth research is astonishing, at times it’s like reading a PhD research paper, but if you want to know every aspect of a battle or campaign and not just the edited highlights, then this excellent book is well worth your time and investment.Warship World/NavyBooks
"The book is well put together, with frequent illustrations of both ship models and period artwork that render otherwise abstract ships with physicality and clarity."Bret C. Devereaux - Journal of Military History, January 2022
"Quentin Russell has given us a well-written and informative book that is accessible to any student of naval history...a fine survey of the major engagements that shaped a critical region and, in turn, the wider world."Sea History Magazine Winter 2021-2022
In sum, a pleasant read that is worthwhile to broaden the perspective of a navalist beyond the writings of purely maritime specialists, and also as a gentle reminder that glorious tactical naval actions almost always have a much bigger strategic context.The Naval Review
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Choosing seven decisive naval engagements from the Greek defeat of the Persians at Salamis in the fifth century BC to the Siege of Malta during the Second World War, historian Russell tells the story of the Mediterranean as a theatre of war at sea. Each of these fiercely-fought engagements changed the course of history. As well as focusing on each battle in detail, the history of the balance of naval power in the Mediterranean and the effect of the development of naval architecture and design on the outcomes is examined in this book. Lepanto was the last major battle fought between galleys; Navarino was the significant combat to be fought entirely by sailing ships; and Cape Matapan (where a young Duke of Edinburgh saw action) was the first operation to exploit the breaking of the Italian naval Enigma codes. The seven battles included are: Salamis (480 BC), Actium (31 BC), Lepanto (1571), the Nile (aka Aboukir Bay, 1798), Navarino (1827), Cape Matapan 1941 and the Siege of Malta 1940-42. A sweeping treatment indeed of the importance of the Mediterranean Sea through the ages.Julian Stockwin
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An excellent, well written read.The Armourer
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Featured inSouth West Soundings, South West Maritime History Society
"This book is well-written and designed for the general reader. Russell has chosen excellent examples of decisive naval engagements and employed appropriate sources in his narratives. The newly drawn maps are especially well-illustrated […] …a most enjoyable book.”The Naval Historical Foundation
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This book is well-written and designed for the general reader. Russell has chosen excellent examples of decisive naval engagements and employed appropriate sources in his narratives. The newly drawn maps are especially well-illustrated and detail the various actions; there are maps for all of the battles. This is a most enjoyable book.Charles C. Kolb, Ph.D, Naval Historical Foundation
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Quentin Russell heads for the Med to take a look at the defining naval battles through the ages.Militaria & History
From the times of the ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Persians, to the battles around Crete, Malta and North Africa in WWII, the Mediterranean has been one of the most hotly fought over Seas in the world. In this wide-ranging book the author takes a look at seven key naval battles through time, starting with the Greeks defeating the Persians at Salamis in 480BC to the Siege of Malta during 1940-1942. The most famous of those included is the Nile at Aboukir Bay in 1798.
First though, there’s a chapter on ancient history, before getting into the detail of Athens versus Persians. What’s good about this book is that it’s not just a dry description of each battle, it sets the scene as to why it was important and how the protagonists prepared for it. There are some photos, which reproduce okay on the plain paper, and custom maps showing the location and order of the fleets. However, it’s the entertaining and clear style that make this book a winner, showing just why the Med was so important to Western Europe.
Dr Russell’s book is highly recommended and it will certainly make TNS members aware of how so much of our modern world depends on Nelson at the Nile and the three major Mediterranean battles that preceded him.The Nelson Society - The Nelson Dispatch, Volume 14, Summer 2021
Dr Russell’s book is a well written and highly recommended account of the vagaries of six naval battles taking place over a span of 2000 years which make us realise how much our present world and lives owe to them.Military History Matters
An interesting read, and I now know the history behind the poem that begins:Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)
"The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead"
From the battle of Salamis (480 BC) to the battle of Cape Matapan (1941) and covering in between Actium (31 BC), Lepanto (1571), The Nile (Aboukir Bay (1798 ) and Navarino (1827), the author describes in detail the action of each engagement with the help of a map for each battle.
This book is basically is all about the importance of control of the Mediterranean sea from ancient times to the modern era.
The author also stresses the changes in the way these battles affected ship design and the tactics of naval warfare.
These seven battles altered the balance of power in the Mediterranean theatre and shaped the course of history. Interestingly the battle of Lepanto was the last time fleets of galleys fought against each other and Navarino was the last battle fought entirely between ships under sail.
A good read and if you want to know about the poem you will have to read the book !
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Review by Les BrownSmall Warships group
An interesting book which takes a slightly different approach to many containing descriptions of naval battles, but one which gives the reader a fuller appreciation of how a single naval battle could ‘change the world’.