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Excellent Naval Biography
on 16 July 2002
This book was first published in 1978 but has now been re-released to the benefit of all who enjoy a fast-paced historical account. After reading this book I am amazed that it has taken nearly twenty years to be re-released. What a great story Mr. Thomas tells of Thomas, Lord Cochrane, later the 10th Earl of Dundonald. From his birth through to his death covering all his exploits in numerous sea battles and actions, so many in fact that you find it hard to believe that he survived.
The book covers Cochrane's battles during the Napoleonic Wars during which, on many occasions, he sent his ship in action against overwhelming odds. It was during this period that he was recognized, as one of Britain's most daring and successful captains. It was also during this period that he made many enemies, although he pressed hard in every action and took many risks, he always considered the well being of the men under his command. This later led to his single-handed campaign against corruption in the Admiralty.
Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 Cochrane commenced an extraordinary career as a mercenary admiral. He subsequently commanded the navies of Chile and Brazil and launched campaigns against their protagonists, Spain and Portugal. After finishing his 'little wars' in South America he took command of elements of the Greek navy in their war against the Turks. In all these campaigns Cochrane again showed that he was one of the best naval commanders of his time.
The narrative flowed along smoothly and although I have no great knowledge of maritime history I had no problems in following this story. In over 350 pages of text along with a number of black & white plates and a few maps Mr. Thomas tells a wonderful and exciting story. This is the type of book, which I am sure any person who has a love for history or who enjoys the novels of C. S. Forester and Patrick O'Brien will just love. A must for any serious student of naval tactics or Napoleonic warfare.