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Fighting Ships 1750-1850 Hardcover – 25 Oct 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; 1st Ed. (U.K.) edition (25 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847241719
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847241719
  • Product Dimensions: 35 x 2.6 x 43 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 320,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Dr Sam Willis is one of the world's leading authorities on the sailing navy and was awarded a PhD in Naval History for his thesis on Command and Tactics in the 18th-century Navy. He is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Exeter's Centre for Maritime Historical Studies and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Sam was presenter of the BBC series Shipwrecks and has consulted on maritime painting for Christie's and the BBC, spending 18 months as a Square Rig Able Seaman, sailing the tall ships used in the Hornblower television series and Channel 4's award-winning film Shackleton. He is the author of several critically acclaimed books including the bestselling 'Hearts of Oak' Trilogy. www.sam-willis.com.

N. A. M. Rodger is Professor of Naval History at the University of Exeter. He is the author of numerous books including The Wooden World, The Admiralty, The Safeguard of the Sea and Command of the Ocean.


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a massive and elegant work that is part art history, part naval history. Before you buy it--look at the dimensions (I had not done that). 90% of the 225 pages consists of art (the rest is narrative). You expect to see old paintings of naval battles, and you certainly get lots of those, all in full color. You also get lots of portraits of admirals, captains, etc, paintings and drawings of life below decks, contemporary maps of battles and harbors, architectural drawings of ship plans, paintings of navy yards and ships under construction.

The book illustrates a wide variety of naval activities--from the loss of the Royal George to shipwrecks to recovery efforts. The title is a bit of a misnomer--not everything here involves fighting ships. There is, for example, a painting of the Terror (a former bomb vessel) trapped in the ice of Hudson's bay in 1837. A delightful book indeed!
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Format: Hardcover
Immensely readable,lively,interesting and beautifully produced. A magnificent book to keep for the sheer pleasure of turning the pages to see one superb illustration after another, with text that is equally accessible for the novice and the expert. Historically well researched and full of intriguing details, this is a book that will appeal to anyone interested in ships or warfare at sea. Fantastically good value.
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By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most of the superlatives which I wanted to lavish on this massive, beautiful, and highly informative volume have already been used by other reviewers, but I do want to add my tuppence and say how delighted I was by this book.

It's an extremely large book, which contains an interesting set of essays by naval historian Sam Willis about the last century of the "wooden walls" and a collection of delightful large size illustrations, mostly contemporary, which range from maps and plans to portraits of ships, battles, and some of the dramatis personae of the battles of the era.

It's easy for us to think of the ship of the line as a beautiful relic of a bygone era, but, like the dreadnaught battleships of a century later, these ships were both a remarkable feat of engineering and far and away the most powerful weapon of war which had ever existed up to that point in recorded history. To build, maintain and operate fleets of these vessels required both science and skill, and very considerable resources by the standards of the time - and indeed, appointment and promotion systems to find their captains and officers which were vastly more meritocratic than the societies of the time allowed in almost any other sphere.

(More meritocratic, indeed than the navies of the period are often given credit for in popular fiction, but that's another story.)

Most of the illustrations are contemporary documents, or paintings by artists of the period such as Pocock and Stanfield, (for example it includes Turner's "Fighting Temeraire") although there are also some excellent illustrations by more modern artists such as Geoff Hunt.

The text is much more nuanced than some accounts of the period.
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2 Comments 14 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book of pictures of naval ships from 1750 to 1850.

The format is alternating pages of text and pictures. The text supporting the following picture. The text is informative and splendidly readable but forget about that, thats not really important.

This book weighs a freaking shedload. Its massive. Its awesomely gigantically massive. About 16" tall and its cover is made out of depleted uranium or something. It nearly breaks my coffee table.

The Pictures are mostly contempory to the period and sketches or paintings.Each one is pourable over for hours, turn the page and theres another one. Only better.

If you love fighting sale, then grab this book for a bargin price. There simply is no reason for you not to own it. Each minuite you lack it,will dull your life.
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Format: Hardcover
A great companion book, made especially useful by its physical dimensions. I have seen many of the pictures before in other smaller histories but they come to life here because of the sheer scale of each plate, the double-page Trafalgar depiction is especially good. Not an in-depth study of the topic but a fabulous overview and one that will surely provide the reader with a stimulus for further research and reading. I'm very glad to have this beautiful book in my library.
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Format: Hardcover
The illustrations are out of this world. The only thing is, we did not know that the book was as large as it is.
It is a huge heavy book. 2 foot by 1 foot. In the book description we thought it was an ordinary book.
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By Thomas Pots TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a classic coffee table book - it's hardback, it's in glossy colour, and it's an easy and interesting read. It's also absolutely the biggest book you'll ever get for £13.75!

The book is presented hardbound in plain black, with just gold lettering on the spine. The dust jacket shows the paintings "The Victory" and "Cutting Out The Chevrette". Inside, the whole thing is printed on thick, high quality medium gloss paper, in full colour throughout. The huge page space is used to great effect, as the paintings are practically posters. The text is in quite large fonts, and provides brief commentaries about the pictures and their historical context. The book is arranged in chronological order, so the pictures and the text flow nicely through the years.

Thankfully, it gives several pages to Nelson. The painting on p131-132, of the Battle of Trafalgar, is particularly good. The authors, Willis and Rodger, are both professors of naval history. Their enthusiasm for their subject is on every page, in their choice of pictures and their colourful and informative writing.

The chapters begin with all-black pages containing introductory text. Be sure not to touch these pages with your fingers, as you will end up with highly visible finger marks all over them. The problem is that the book is printed on matt paper, which marks easily. It would have been better to leave a white page margin or, for a full-bleed print (which this book uses), use glossy paper. Glossy paper is expensive, so the trade-off has made the book more affordable.

The writing is concise and informative, but the punctuation leaves something to be desired.
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