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Customer Review

86 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jack Tar; a man, women and child of many faces, 7 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Jack Tar: Life in Nelson's Navy (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful follow up to the Adkins' 2 previous books 'Trafalgar: Biography of a Battle' and 'War for all the Oceans', and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. In this volume the sailors take the limelight and history takes a step back to create the setting for their lives. And what lives they were!

I am always surprised how many sailors of all ranks were able to write journals and diaries about their time at sea, how literate they were, how perceptive and honest their observations were, and more surprisingly how those manuscripts have survived. The Adkins have carefully drawn from these and many other contemporary sources and woven them into their text to create a vivid picture of life in the British Navy at the time of Nelson and the war with France. A good selection of maps, and illustrations helps fuel the imagination, and, as ever, they have succeeded in presenting the flavour of the time, bring the people and events to life in such a way it is easy to suspend disbelief and fancy you are watching real time events

Electric fluid, birds of ill omen, ship wreck, coffee made from burnt bread, one armed cooks,rats in your pies, weevils in your biscuits, goats falling down the hatches, holystones, wash day, pay day, strong liquor, marriage certificates, wives, children, mistresses and dogs on board, volunteers and press gangs, hernias, amputations and disease, cockroaches like animated varnish on the walls, dancing, prize money, pensions and begging, betrayal, decency, heroism, births and deaths. They are all here, and more.

Anyone researching the life of an ancestor in Nelson's navy will find it an engrossing picture of their experiences, or if you just get jaded by the complacency of modern life, have watched one too many reality TV programs and read one too many dull blogs about the middle classes relocating to the country, immerse yourself in the true hardships these men and women suffered and emerge refreshed with your sense of perspective restored.

This is a good book in which to lose oneself on a winter's night in front of a warm fire while the storms rage outside.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Dec 2009 20:36:27 GMT
James Pryal says:
how can we know the references mentioned are real?

In reply to an earlier post on 27 May 2010 07:57:38 BDT
Bookworm says:
By following them up in a library.

Posted on 29 Oct 2010 20:22:43 BDT
On the strength of this review I will buy this book as a christmas gift for someone who has a great interest in Nelson and the navy of the time. Thank you
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Location: North Wales

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