51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Extraordinary people bring out the extraordinary in others,
By A Customer
This review is from: Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle (Hardcover)
I found this book fascinating, absorbing, moving, and very hard to put down once started. The conflict is described from all three sides; British, French and Spanish. By using many letters and reports written by the sailors and officers, as well as other first hand accounts Adkins describes the battle, and its aftermath from the view of the men and women who fought and their relatives back home. He portrays their world so vividly you feel these people are your friends and family writing, not long dead strangers from an alien past. The preparations, tactics, and details of the 5 hour battle along with individual exploits are astonishing enough, but he also covers the background and lead up to Trafalgar, the hurricane that followed and the scenes of devastation on the Spanish coast, the victory celebrations, Nelson's funeral and why he became an adored and iconic hero, and the exhausting years maintaining the naval dominance until the end of the Napoleonic War. He finishes with the differing treatment of their sailors by the British, French and Spanish governments - there is always a sting in the tale of a 'glorious victory'.
I read this book to learn more about my great, great, great, great grandfather who fought at Trafalgar, and to find out why we should still be celebrating the battle after 200 years. Before I finished I had fulfilled both aims. This is a biography of a battle as fought by ordinary people not a history of politicians and emperors. I shall be reading it again.