'With his great gift for making complex events exceptionally clear, and an authentically salty understanding of the workings of wind, sea, sail and rig, this is a brilliant and subtly nuanced account' Sunday Times.
'Those who would attempt to explain a great battle at sea in the age of sail need salt water in the veins and a skilled pen. In this marvellous book Dr Sam Willis proves that he has both' BBC History Magazine.
'One of the things that makes Willis such a joy to read is the blazing clarity of his explanations. By the time you've finished his book you'll appreciate every nuance of naval tactics' Mail on Sunday.
'His portrayal [...] serves as a model for future studies' International Journal of Maritime History.
'Willis's matchless grasp of historical detail brings it vividly to life' Mail on Sunday.
'Willis brings a welcome pace and energy to what might otherwise have been a dry account of a rarely remembered sea battle' Glasgow Sunday Herald.
From the Inside Flap
France, early summer, 1794. The French Revolution has been hijacked by the extreme Jacobins and is in the grip of the Terror. While the guillotine relentlessly takes the heads of the innocents, two vast French and British fleets meet in the mid-Atlantic. The French, in ships painted blood-red and bearing banners proclaiming 'La Republique ou la mort!' are escorting an American grain convoy to Brest to feed a starving population; the British, under the command of Lord Howe, a radical innovator and tactical genius, are bent on destroying it. The ensuing clash would swiftly become known as the hardest-fought battle of the Age of Sail. Both sides claimed victory. For the French, it represented a strategic success since the convoy and its precious cargo made it safely through. But this outcome came at a heavy material cost. In purely numerical terms 'the Glorious First of June' was the greatest British naval victory over her oldest enemy for more than a century: 4,200 French sailors were killed and 3,300 wounded - ten per cent of their entire maritime workforce. In The Glorious First of June, Sam Willis not only tells, with immediacy and masterly clarity, the gripping story of an epic and complex battle, he places it within the context of the Terror, the survival of the French Revolution and the development of both British and French sea-power in this critical period before the rise of Nelson and Napoleon. Using countless new sources, the human experience and cost of the battle in both Britain and France is described in fascinating detail. The Glorious First of June is the last in the Hearts of Oak trilogy and, like The Fighting Temeraire and The Admiral Benbow, is a thrilling account of the Great Age of Sail by one of our most exciting young historians.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.