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ChristineR
01-10-2006, 2:56 AM
"To Rule the Waves"
How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World
Author: Arthur Herman
ISBN 0 340 73419 1

I am over halfway through this book (up to Napolean and Nelson's time) and it is a fascinating insight in how the Royal Navy came about, including the involvement of merchant mariners in early wartime activities.

It is very readable, not dry at all. It begins in 1568 with Hawkins and Drake. And because I used to love watching the Sir Francis Drake TV series I find some great imagery going on in my head whilst reading blow by blow accounts of battles. :D At the same time one gets an excellent overview of what was happening all over the known world at the same time - pirates, privateering (same thing), the merchant traders (also often the same thing), Europe, Ireland, the discovery of the Americas and Australia. It is putting things into perspective, to realise that my 4th great grandfather was born in Ireland at the time when the French attempted to use it to get into Britain, resulting in the eventual loss of nearly 12000 Irish lives.

ChristineR
Australia