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The Fighting Temeraire: Legend of Trafalgar (Hearts of Oak Trilogy Vol.1) Hardcover – 1 Oct 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (1 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847249981
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847249982
  • Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 3.3 x 25.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 158,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Dr Sam Willis is a maritime historian and archaeologist and is a
fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is the author of the
best-selling Hearts of Oak Trilogy and the Fighting Ships Series. He
has consulted on maritime history for many clients including the BBC,Channel 4, NBC America and Christie's. Sam's work is coloured by his knowledge and
experience of seamanship. Sam's unique approach to maritime history and his vivid style of writing has led to him being described as 'A Nautical Tour de Force'.

Product Description

Review

'Absorbing and enjoyable biography …. He (Sam Willis) is a reliable and readable guide to the naval history embodied in the Temeraire. His book cleverly uses the microcosm of the life story of one ship to reflect the wider narrative of the decades-long struggle between Britain and France for mastery of the seas.' Sunday Times.



'The author has dealt with his subject on many enthralling levels from the horrific accounts of warfare at sea, through the mutiny at Bantry Bay to the ship's eventual decommissioning and use as a prison hulk' Irish Examiner.



'An absorbing and enjoyable biography' French News.

From the Inside Flap

H.M.S. Temeraire, one of Britain's most illustrious fighting ships, is known to millions through J.M.W. Turner's iconic painting, The Fighting Temeraire (1839), which portrays the battle-scarred veteran of Britain's wars with Napoleonic France being 'tugged to her last berth to be broken up'. Sam Willis tells the extraordinary story of the vessel behind the painting, and of the making of the painting itself. Turner's Temeraire was the second ship in the Royal Navy to carry the name. The first, a French warship captured and commandeered by the British in 1759, served with distinction during the Seven Years' War before being sold off in 1784. The second Temeraire, named in honour of her predecessor, was a prestigious three-decked, 98-gun warship that broke through the French and Spanish line directly astern of Nelson's flagship Victory at Trafalgar in 1805, saving the Vice-Admiral at a crucial moment in the battle. Uniting the art of war as practised by Nelson with the art of war as depicted by Turner, this tale of two ships ranges across an extensive period of British military and cultural history to create a detailed picture of Britain's maritime power at two of its most significant peaks in the age of sail: the climaxes of both the Seven Years War (1756-63) and the Napoleonic Wars (1798-1815). The Fighting Temeraire covers every aspect of life in the sailing navy, with particular emphasis on amphibious warfare, disease, victualling, blockade, mutiny and, of course, fleet battle, for it was at Trafalgar that the Temeraire really won her fame. Crammed with richly evocative detail, and narrated with the pace and gusto of a master storyteller, The Fighting Temeraire is an enthralling and deeply satisfying work of narrative history from one of Britain's most exciting young historians.


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By M. Baerends on 19 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
Having read Willis's "The Admiral Benbow" previously & having enjoyed a replica of Turner's painting in my appartment for some time now, my expectations when buying "the Fighting Temeraire" were really high. And indeed it is a good book. The story actually starts during the 7 years' war, when the British capture a French ship (a 2-decker) called Temeraire. The better-known 3-deck Temeraire of Trafalgar fame was built much later in Britain itself. The book follows the various campaigns this ship participated in (including a mutiny when the ship was sent to the Caribbean when the peace treaty of Amiens was already signed) & also discusses the typical 'second life' of wooden fighting ships of this era as floating hulks used to house French prisoners of war. The book then culminates in an eulogy of Turner's famous painting.
Overall, I think this is an excellent book. In my humble opinion, Admiral Benbow was slightly better but probably that judgement is coloured by the fact that I knew much less of Benbow's times than of Nelson's & hence learned more from the Benbow book. A nice 'extra' is the esthetically pleasing cover. Good buy.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. Berry on 8 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is obvious from page one. This book was written by an historian with a great love of the subject.
All the facts are given in such a way that they are easily absorbed even when they seem unbelieveable.

The ship is the star of course but the men who worked above her,on her and below are brought to life in terrific detail. Sam Willis certainly did his homework.

I am looking foreward to his second book in the Hearts of Oak trilogy Admiral Benbow and then his third The Glorious First of June. Come on Dr.Willis make it a quartet!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. Mangan on 14 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have not read a book on this subject since putting down Patrick O'Brian's 'Blue at the Mizzen' half-read (I didn't want the adventure to end). The Fighting Temeraire has re-ignited my passion for this stuff. Although it is not a novel as such, the narrative is so readable that it is still a great adventure from start to finish. Ten out of ten.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Arthur266 on 7 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book revealed to me just how much we owed to the ship and crew of the Temeraire. Just a great shame we broke her up, she should be a national symbol of all that is good about British culture and stoicism.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By AliG on 6 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a book that is so compelling to read you don't want to put it down! It is so stuffed with facts it is almost an encyclopaedia of British maritime activities in the 16 to 18 hundreds. If it were a jam it would have 140g of fruit per 100 grams of it! Packed with nautical nuances and insights....pure delight to anyone interested in how Britain became the sea lords of that era or anyone interested in the sea, Square Riggers and sailing in general.
Go on buy it. It's not cheap but it more than makes up for it's price. A gem!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By O. G. M. Morgan on 5 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I nearly said "admirable", but I thought it would look like a bad pun on "admiral". Sam Willis really has written a very good book. I admire his ability to switch between naval history and painting. He seems to navigate between two dramatically different genres with no effort at all. He analyses the history of the "Temeraire" name - as he points out, unlike many French words, it is absolutely meaningless in English. Then he gives us a cradle-to-grave account of the actually rather short career of HMS Temeraire (much shorter than the Victory's, even before HMS Victory was installed in Portsmouth). HMS Temeraire had a very alarming lifetime, missing the Nile, but definitely making up for that omission at Trafalgar, when she tackled two French warships at the same time.

The chapter on Turner's masterpiece is utterly outstanding.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Well, this one does. In fact there are three stories here , That of the "first" Temeraire, then the second, the "fighting" one and then of the painting by Turner which provided the adjective. Other reviewers have adequately precised the book so no need to rehash it. It is a very good read and and in a style that carries you along. Probably if it were a description of the ships alone it would be a so-called "slim" volume but there is a wealth of historical and social detail here that greatly adds to the interest and makes for a quite substantial book. The Book is well illustrated but does suffer from some detail disappearing into the gutter, a common but to my mind unforgivable fault in many modern books.
The final chapters are well worth studying. That on the painting and its various interpretations is very informative and aids the understanding of the picture, You may not agree with all the conclusions drawn but they should make you think. Dr Willis gets quite impassioned about the fate of past, present and future maritinalia (is that a word or have I made it up?) and makes the point that if it were not for a caring and interested public we probably wouldn't have any. His omission of the the Leda class frigate 'Trincomalee' from his list of historic vessels is a bit odd. Even odder is his statement on page 217 that the leader of the Nore Mutiny, Richard Parker, was shot. I cannot believe that was what he originally wrote but how did it get in and then slip past?
(Richard Parker was hanged.)
Plans of the Victory for reference, Trafalgar crew list, poems, a glossary and a fine bibliography add even more interest to a fine book.
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