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The Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Age (Hardback)

Senior Service, 1800–1815

Napoleonic Royal Navy P&S History Naval Military 19th Century

By Mark Jessop
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526720375
Published: 4th November 2019

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In 1801 the newly forged United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland commenced life at war with France and her allies and remained so until 1815. After 1812 she had to shoulder the extra burden of a war against the United States of America. With conflict on multiple fronts, hardships continued to be inflicted at home. Trade was made precarious. People became bone-weary of hostilities and the threat of invasion ran high.

Napoléon Bonaparte was no ordinary opponent, and the United States navy showed the world the worth of her ships, but what stood in their way was the Royal Navy. Despite notable losses, after the victory of Trafalgar in 1805 she dominated the seas. Although not the only means, her warships were the nation’s first line of defence that helped keep British shores safe.

As the era ended it was obvious the navy had to change. Steam began to alter perspectives with new opportunities. From the vantage point of later decades it could be seen what the Royal Navy had once been and still was. A naval superpower. Britain’s oldest continual military force. The senior service.

As featured by

The Naval Review

Though only having nine chapters, we were really impressed with the eye for detail and the ability to dig out details that bring the events of the time to life.

This book is well researched and sourced, having 24 pages of index and 13 pages of references. There are also sixteen pages of illustrations and maps, some of which we were not too familiar with.

Overall, we feel this is a great addition to our library and we now have the urge to delve into the back catalogue to get a copy of Jessop’s previous book covering 1793- 1800.

The Trafalgar Times, January 2020

The author starts each chapter with a short fictional scene that graphically sets the stage for the thoroughly researched historic detail. The story is told from the point of view of British seamen and civilians. – Highly Recommended.

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Firetrench

As the nineteenth century began the newly-forged United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland commenced life at war with France and her allies and remained so until 1815. After 1812 she had to shoulder the extra burden of a war against the United States of America. With conflict on multiple fronts, hardships continued to be inflicted at home. Trade was precarious. People were weary of hostilities and the threat of invasion still ran high. But the Royal Navy was Britain’s sure shield and after the victory of Trafalgar in 1805 she dominated the seas. Her warships spread out all over the world were the nation’s first line of defence. The Royal Navy is Britain’s oldest continual military force and rightly deserves the respect that is accorded as The Senior Service.

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Julian Stockwin Blog

It takes us into areas that aren’t always covered, and makes it stand out from the crowd of Napoleonic Naval studies. The focus on Plymouth demonstrates the impact the wars could have back in Britain, especially in the major ports, while the chose of characters means we spend most of our time either on the lower decks, or getting the civilian view of the wars.

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History of War

We warmly recommend this book to ‘beginner’ and ‘old-hand’ alike. The beginner because it makes the information so accessible and real. The old-hand because it enriches the wealth of information with a flavour of the times.

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Clash of Steel

An entertaining and absorbing read.

Navy News

The coverage of this excellent book is just fifteen years, during which the Royal Navy did indeed rule the waves. Mark Jessop looks at the reasons why Britain was so dominant in terms of naval military might, and looks at how the various conflicts led to a realisation that the Navy had to change.

Books Monthly

Jessop’s thought-provoking study of how unremitting warfare affected people and society and spurred the development of new technologies and practices at sea is a homage to the pioneering works of Jeremy Black, Linda Colley, and Edward Thompson and a worthy continuance of Power’s idea of sparking the interest of the reading public through fiction. Anyone considering how to differentiate their exhibition or a publication from those of others will do well to look at this work, while the general reader will find it difficult to put the book down. Anyone who is seeking a Christmas present could do well to start here.

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Australian Naval Institute

"The author has given an interesting introduction to this subject which should be read in conjunction with Marcus before moving on to Lavery."

Friends of the Waterloo Committee

A fascinating subject, well served by an erudite and imaginative author. Great stuff!

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A Question Of Scale, Seb Palmer

Featured 'ON THE BOOK SHELF' by Neil Smith

Wargames Illustrated, October 2019

This book is quite an interesting take on the subject in that the author delivers information through fictitious dialogues and individuals in order to place the story in context. It generally works, and coupled with more traditional historical narratives delivers an entertaining book. By using this method, the author avoids a strict chronological approach but rather follows each aspect of his subject across the whole period of 15 years. It is an interesting approach to delivering history which one might think would be vexatious but it is not. It is a good read if only as a counterpoint to the more traditional histories and for that reason I liked it.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy
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