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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Temeraire
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...
Published on 19 Oct. 2011 by M. Baerends

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor printing
this was a replacement for another copy of the same book both of which were badly printed, the type being grey and many illustrations wooly and blurred
Published on 24 Aug. 2012 by darosh


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Temeraire, 19 Oct. 2011
By 
M. Baerends - See all my reviews
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars History Comes To Life., 8 Feb. 2010
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Mr. B. Berry (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 14 Aug. 2011
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Mr. B. Mangan "Wellington Thirds" (Somerset, UK) - See all my reviews
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening, 7 Sept. 2013
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Put it down, 6 Nov. 2010
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Outstanding Book, 5 Dec. 2013
By 
O. G. M. Morgan (Hants, England) - See all my reviews
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Every picture tells a story, 14 Mar. 2014
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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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding historical read, 10 Feb. 2010
This book puts the whole of the Napoleonic Wars period into perspective. A first class read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Fighting Temeraire, 30 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Fighting Temeraire: The Battle of Trafalgar and the Ship That Inspired J. M. W. Turner's Most Beloved Painting (Paperback)
Although, the second British ship of this name (the first had been captured from the French in 1759) HMS Temeraire enjoys a fine and heroic reputation not only from J M W Turner's evocative painting, but as the ship which followed HMS Victory into the hell that was Trafalgar. She fought for two hours with two enemy ships lashed to her sides until her decks ran '...wet with English blood'. Dr Willis describes Temeraire (launched at Chatham in 1798) on blockade with the Channel Fleet, in action at Trafalgar, the Baltic and off the Iberian Peninsula; and concludes with call for the preservation of iconic warships. Dr Willis consults on maritime painting for Christies; has written several books about sailing warships, and is a long-serving member of the Navy Records Society
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 7 Jan. 2012
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Hugely readable, massively interesting book that very effectively conveys some sense of what it must have been like to live and sail in these magnificent ships, well worth a read.
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