From the Inside Flap
He joined the British Navy at age thirteen. After decades of apprenticeship, he rose to the rank of ship′s captain, then vice admiral, and finally commander in chief of England′s Mediterranean fleet. Beloved by fellow officers and seamen, he was renowned for his personal courage, strategic brilliance, and tactical excellenceall of which were in evidence as he forced Napoleon′s navy to confront the British fleet at Trafalgar and played a crucial role in the most celebrated victory in British naval history. His name was not Horatio Nelson. Trafalgar′s Lost Hero tells the thrilling life story of one of the greatest unsung heroes of all time. Overshadowed by the flamboyance and self–promotion of his closest friend and onetime romantic rival Nelson, Cuthbert Collingwood was a paragon of modesty whose audacious bravery surfaced only in the face of the enemy. It′s no accident that many of his adventures seem to spring from the pages of a Patrick O′Brian novel; Collingwood was one of the models for O′Brian′s hero, Jack Aubrey. This surprising treat for lovers of naval history and real–life adventure traces Collingwood′s exploits from his harsh coming of age at sea through his storied service in the American Revolution to the long and bitter struggle with Napoleon. Collingwood emerges as a wily and daring commander who was at his steely–eyed best when outgunned by the enemy. His coolness under fire is revealed in lively accounts of his rescuing Nelson from destruction and the entrapment of a 26–ship enemy fleet with a tiny, four–vessel squadron. At Trafalgar, he was seen calmly munching an apple as he led his squadron, guns blazing, into furious battle. It was Collingwood, himself devastated by the loss, who delivered the news of Nelson′s death to a nation stunned by the tragic price of victory. As accomplished as Collingwood was in the art of war, it was his personal skills that set him apart from his contemporaries. Bitterly opposed to flogging, he commanded the most highly disciplined crews in the Royal Navy. His evenhandedness and shrewd understanding of human nature were indispensable assets when he became the virtual viceroy of the Mediterranean. Incredibly, he was able to keep the peace among pashas and princes, deys and doges, from Cadiz to Constantinopleall while blockading the French fleet in the harbor of Toulon. Based on hundreds of personal letters, official documents, ships′ logs, diary entries, and contemporary newspaper accounts, Trafalgar′s Lost Hero brings a whole new perspective to the age of sail and revives the reputation of one of Britain′s greatest warriors, commanders, strategists, and statesmen.
From the Back Cover
"See how that noble fellow Collingwood takes his ship into action. How I envy him!" Horatio Nelson At the same instant that Admiral Nelson uttered these words of admiration for his close friend and hero who led the first British ships into action at Trafalgar, Cuthbert Collingwood asked a fellow officer, "What would Nelson give to be here?" Calm but courageous, stern but kind, modest, daring, uncannily shrewd, and a fearless warrior always concerned for the welfare of those he commanded, Collingwood would seem the model of a fictional heroand indeed he was. Trafalgar′s Lost Hero introduces you to the man whose real–life exploits have been attributed to the likes of Horatio Alger and Jack Aubrey. Never seeking the public acclaim craved by his closest friend and comrade Nelson, Collingwood was instrumental in forcing the combined French and Spanish fleets into the fateful battle, disabling the enemy′s flagship almost before the fight had begun, and taking command of the British fleet after Nelson′s death. To those who knew him, these remarkable accomplishments came as no surprise. They were to be expected from one of England′s greatest, albeit unsung, heroes. Bristling with action, packed with never–before–published accounts of major engagements from Collingwood′s secret letter book, and bringing a fresh perspective to Britain′s most celebrated naval victory, Trafalgar′s Lost Hero is truly a treat for lovers of naval history and real–life adventure, and a rousing story well told.