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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting biography of Nelson's most colourful rival.
It is perhaps inevitable that in each period of history only the principal protagonists, and often only the victor, will be remembered afterwards. From Harold and William at Hastings, through Marlborough at Blenheim, Wolfe and Montcalm at Quebec, Washington at Yorktown, Nelson at Trafalgar, Wellington and Napoleon at Waterloo, to Montgomery and Rommel at El Alamein: for...
Published on 3 Feb. 2001 by M. H. Evans

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3.0 out of 5 stars Sidney Smith less interesting than Horatio Nelson.
Well researched and well written, the biography was slightly disappointing after Tom Pocock's excellent biography of Horatio Nelson. But then, Nelson was a more interesting character.
Published 12 months ago by L. J. B.


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting biography of Nelson's most colourful rival., 3 Feb. 2001
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M. H. Evans (Cambs, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It is perhaps inevitable that in each period of history only the principal protagonists, and often only the victor, will be remembered afterwards. From Harold and William at Hastings, through Marlborough at Blenheim, Wolfe and Montcalm at Quebec, Washington at Yorktown, Nelson at Trafalgar, Wellington and Napoleon at Waterloo, to Montgomery and Rommel at El Alamein: for the most part the names of subordinate generals, admirals and other gifted or influential personalities who had a part to play in victory or defeat are now known only to historians who have specialized in the period. Yet many of these people deserve to be known in their own right.
Tom Pocock's expertise on the life and battles of Admiral Nelson has been indisputable. In this book he reveals another talented and colourful character who was also the idol of London society - "the first lion of the day" - after a daring escape from close captivity in a Revolutionary prison in Paris. Pocock's biography is very well written, and proceeds at a cracking pace that reflects the constant stream of Sidney Smith's adventures. At times one forgets that it is a well researched biography (there are 11 pages of reference notes as well as a bibliography) for it could almost be taken for a novel. Like his rival Nelson, who has eclipsed him as a popular hero, Sidney Smith was sometimes conceited, always bold, and generally had luck on his side to carry him through his daring schemes. These included assisting King Gustavus of Sweden in his naval campaign against Russia, for which Sidney Smith received a Swedish knighthood, the destruction of the Toulon naval base just before the town fell to French revolutionaries, and the defence of Acre which together with Nelson's victory at Aboukir thwarted Napoleon's attempt to control the Middle East. These actions, as well as many other dashing adventures as a spy in France, a diplomat in Turkey and finally as a retired RN Admiral living in post-Napoleonic Parisian society, are described in detail in this very readable biography of a man whose history is undeservedly overshadowed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sidney Smith less interesting than Horatio Nelson., 21 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: A Thirst for Glory: The Life of Admiral Sir Sidney Smith (Kindle Edition)
Well researched and well written, the biography was slightly disappointing after Tom Pocock's excellent biography of Horatio Nelson. But then, Nelson was a more interesting character.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an amazing person, 17 Aug. 2012
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I have read a few biographies of other leading Royal Navy seamen from the Napoleonic Wars and realise that Nelson was one of many incredible people in the navy. His exploits were as amazing as any fictional hero.
It's a great pity that Sir Sidney Smith is not better known, but his temperament did not suit the age. He would have been a well know national hero had he lived in the 20th century.
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