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Trafalgar and the Spanish Navy The Spanish Experience of Sea Power [Hardcover]

John D Harbron
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Conway Maritime Press (30 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851774776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851774770
  • Product Dimensions: 26.8 x 19.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,437,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Ancient Tradition 25 April 2011
By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Spain and Portugal were true innovators in exploring the seas and building overseas empires, but various factors combined to make the struggle between France and England/Great Britain the "headline" topic. This book is a valuable specific against this tendency. The title should not mislead you; the battle off Cape Trafalgar is a small part of the book whose real aim is to describe the rebirth of the Spanish fleet under the Bourbons. This encompasses not only the initial improvements after the extinction of the Habsburg line but the recovery from Cape Passaro. The author engages in a lot of special pleading which even if this does not always persuade it introduces a lot of interesting data. One is also introduced to a number of historical participants that do not always appear in depth in other books in English.

Unlike France with its relatively concentrated overseas possessions Spain was a truly oceanic empire. Its ships were built to keep the seas for many months on an end. Not for Spain the fast-sailing warships of France although their proponents periodically took control of policy. Examining the Spanish navy as an artefact of its own imperial needs and traditions rather than as an inferior model of the Royal Navy is a most useful exercise. I never quite got the Spanish navy until I visited Malaga and saw the replica Santísima Trinidad; it looked like a very large red box. This was a fighting unit built for endurance not speed; a true super-heavyweight. A useful book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars spanish navy 14 Nov 2013
Format:Hardcover
This book goes someway to dispel the common belief that the Spanish navy was of no importance in the 18th.century following its defeat as the Spanish Armada many years previously and up to the battle of Trsfalgar.
Published on the 400th.anniversity of the armada the book gives a good account of the Spanish navys recovery with well designed and equipped ships(many built in Cuba)to become the third largest navy in the world.
There is a good account of Trafalgar and the Spanish captains plus an account of captured Spanish ships serving in the Royall Navy.
Well written researched and illustrated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Ancient Tradition 30 Aug 2011
By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Spain and Portugal were true innovators in exploring the seas and building overseas empires, but various factors combined to make the struggle between France and England/Great Britain the "headline" topic. This book is a valuable specific against this tendency. The title should not mislead you; the battle off Cape Trafalgar is a small part of the book whose real aim is to describe the rebirth of the Spanish fleet under the Bourbons. This encompasses not only the initial improvements after the extinction of the Habsburg line but the recovery from Cape Passaro. The author engages in a lot of special pleading which even if this does not always persuade it introduces a lot of interesting data. One is also introduced to a number of historical participants that do not always appear in depth in other books in English.

Unlike France with its relatively concentrated overseas possessions Spain was a truly oceanic empire. Its ships were built to keep the seas for many months on an end. Not for Spain the fast-sailing warships of France although their proponents periodically took control of policy. Examining the Spanish navy as an artefact of its own imperial needs and traditions rather than as an inferior model of the Royal Navy is a most useful exercise. I never quite got the Spanish navy until I visited Malaga and saw the replica Santísima Trinidad; it looked like a very large red box. This was a fighting unit built for endurance not speed; a true super-heavyweight. A useful book.
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Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the spanish Navy.... 10 April 2012
By Dr Dave
Format:Hardcover
Oh dear. I bought this book hoping that the title what what it said. Alas, the poor author has difficulties with the tiresome straight jacket of reality and a novice would be lead to the conclusion that the Spanish Navy was a fearsome instrument of war.

He berrates Cptn Cook for the retribution meted out to those who killed him - he forgets that Cook was dead at this point and fails to point out that this has nothing to do with Trafalgar!

He mentions in passing the loss of two Spanish 112 gun vessels on different pages, but can't bring himself to mention that they were lost in the same action to... each other! The reality of mistking your friend for your foe!

Heartily dissapointed by this book that I regard as either fiction or a badly told joke!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent topic, but not followed through 27 July 2001
By Eric Husher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
While the author has made the point that there were many fine officers in the Spanish Navy, and that there were many excellent ships, the facts indicate that this combination was never capitalised upon, and the result was invariably disasterous. The best of leaders can only do so much with what they are given, and in the case of Spain, this meant far too few seamen, far too much influence by the Army, far too little training for crews, and some of the worst treatment imaginable. There is no point in building enormous warships if they cannot be effectively manned! Further, it is well-documented that ships of the line of the Spanish navy, although enormous in size, were laughably undergunned compared to their contemporaries. This is not made clear in this book. That said, it would also be of enormous benefit to view some of the plans and profiles of these ships, so as to compare them with their British and French contemporaries. Dozens of books have been written about HMS Victory and other Royal Navy ship types, but almost nothing about the ships of the other navies of the time, and even less in English! It is a great pity the author chose to use so many primitive contemporary Spanish paintings for illustration rather than something either commissioned for the book (expensive, no doubt!), or obtained with a bit more research into what is available.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good break from Anglocentric Naval Historians 9 Jun 2005
By Charlie A - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Author John Harbron's book is a nice relief from the all long line of Anglocentric Naval historians that like to downplay the accomplishments of the Spanish and, to a lesser extent, French navies in the 1700s. The Spanish Royal Navy did a fine job in the 18th century given the fact that they were outgunned and outmanned and could rarely coordinate effectively with their French naval counterparts in their battles against the British Royal Navy. The results speak for themselves. During the 18th century Spain was able to successfully maintain her vast American empire vitually intact despite contant British Royal Navy attacks. It was only when revolutionary movements in her American empire that Spain lost most of her territories and not because of British actions.

John Hebron's book articulate accomplishments of great Spanish commanders like Blas De Lezo and Bernardo Galvez who had a consistant record of defeating British foes. Facts that are rarely mentioned or glossed over in English language history texts.
5.0 out of 5 stars Age of Sail-Another Side of the Story 7 Jan 2014
By Nightmoss - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Required reading for anyone who wants another perspective on the Age of Sail that is not Anglocentric. Still digesting the wealth of information contained in this book. Compliments to the used book supplier as well. Packaging and shipment was very good. Thanks!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars INTERESTING AND INFORMATIVE 23 Jan 2014
By Bryce Buckley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
IT TALKED ABOUT THE SPANISH NAVY GIVING INFORMATION AND DETAIL NOT READILY DISCUSSED TALKING ABOUT HOW THE SPANISH LITERALLY REBUILT THEIR NAVY MAKING IT A THREAT THAT GAVE THE ROYAL NAVY A GREAT DEAL OF CONCERN.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A More Accurate View of of the Age of Sail 15 Dec 2007
By Charlie A - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
John Harbron's book is a refreshing re-balance of naval history during the Age of Sail that counters the all too often Anglo-centric and borderline jingoist view of naval from authors like N.A.M Rodger. Despite what has been written about the Spanish Navy in the English speaking world, the facts stand out for themselves. Given that Armada was outnumbered and out gunned by the Royal Navy since about the 1650s, the fact of the matter is that the Armada did a fine job despite frequent attacks by Britain and it's privateers. The Spanish Empire held intact well ito the 1900s due in large part to it's great navy. Spain's navy produced great Admirals like Blas De Lezo, who was instrumental in helping acheive victory against the full might of the British during the War of Jenkin's Ear(1739-1748) when the British so wrongfully thought they had the Spanish Empire on the ropes.
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