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on 8 November 2002
I've currently got a library's worth of books on Lord Nelson and his navy (now that's an anorak if I ever heard one) but if Tom Pocock published one book a month on the subject I'd still buy it. Why? well simply because he, along with two other distinguished names, has the breadth of knowledge and also the knack of making it accessible to the masses in an easily digestible form. If you are looking for a definitive, acurate and detailed account of Admiral Nelson's life then this is one book you should add to your collection.
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on 22 August 2013
Well written to provide a very interesting historical account of Horatio Nelson's life and times, and Nelson's very important place in international history. The insights into the characters of his friends and colleagues are as sensitively and perceptively described as for Nelson himself, together with the social attitudes of the time. What a different world it was - except for the North Norfolk weather - and one can well understand why Nelson's Column was erected. Interestingly though, his last wishes were not accommodated. A thoroughly good, entertaining and educational, read.
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on 20 September 2004
I have to say that I am new to the subject of History, bored off my chair (pue actually) as a youngster. Had I had a master story teller like the writer of this excellent book, perhaps things might have been different and I would not be scrambling to catch up.
This book has awakened an interest in the History of the Napolionic wars and Nelson in particular that cannot be put back into the closet. I simply could not put the book down once I started. Absolutely superb. If you only read one book on Nelson, then this is it!.
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VINE VOICEon 4 January 2014
For those who, like me, know nothing of Nelson beyond the obvious points about arms, Trafalgar and Lady Hamilton this brief, but comprehensive run through his career is a useful eye-opener. Episodes of his service from the Arctic to Central America form part of a narrative that seems predestined to end in either death or glory or, as happened, both. One word of warning though, he doesn't come across as having been very pleasant and Emma Hamilton was clearly even worse. It all depends whether you can cope with your heroes having feet of clay or not.
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on 5 July 2000
Mr Pocock had to have dug deeply to beable to bring to life the special human quality that Lord Nelson had that sets him ahead of most military leaders, especialy Naval commanders and admirals of the time in which Lord Nelson lived. I felt I was meeting Lord Nelson personaly! Thank you Mr Pocock! Please write more about Lord Nelson!
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VINE VOICEon 24 May 2014
This biography of Nelson was a Whitbread Biography Award runner up in 1987. It is very well written and comprehensively covers all aspects of the life of this national hero. He was a man of great contrasts: a hero on the national scale who saved the country from the very real threat of French invasion, yet retained the respect, admiration and love of the common sailor; of relatively humble origins compared to other naval officers, the son of a Norfolk clergyman, he was the friend of the highest in society including William Pitt and King George III; while intervening in individual cases of injustice in favour of the common sailor, he was also a reactionary supporter of the monarchy both in Britain and in Naples, who had no sympathy for rising liberal ideas promoted by Thomas Paine and others (though he spoke in favour of an old comrade tried and hanged for planning regicide); while brought up in a morally conventional ethos, he flouted society's conventions by his affair with Lady Emma Hamilton, outrageously living in a menage a trois with her and her much older husband, Sir William, and treating his wife Fanny very shabbily.

This book took me a while to get through; I began it after a recent return visit to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Parts of it dragged for me and I have always found reading descriptions of military engagements fairly dull, though the description of Trafalgar here is gripping as one leads up to the inevitable outcome. It is undoubtedly a work of great scholarship and a definitive biography.
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on 19 November 2013
I was persuaded to buy this having read all the other reviews and I have not been disappointed.
Mr Pocock's subject was obviously well-researched and his fluent, narrative style make the book a compelling read, even though we all know how the story ends. I'm sure there are much longer, more in-depth biographies of Nelson but this captures the essence of the man, the inevitable flawed genius, and presents him in a sympathetic manner.
It was also interesting to read about the camaraderie of Royal Navy officers and see the occasional glimpses of Nelson's life and times.
An excellent and highly enjoyable book.
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on 26 November 2013
An excellent read, the historical content is just amazing, very informative true to life story of Horatio Nelson, who in my opinion is the greatest man England ever produced a great pity he didn't run for parliament. Tom Pocock has obviously done his homework and plenty of it, to be able to write in such detail the life story of such a great man. Well done Tom Pocock.
If you are interested in English history go for it.
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on 14 November 2013
The true story of Nelson in his own words and the words of his companions. An insight to his early life sometimes unpleasant sometime cruel and ending with his great and glorious victory at Trafalge.r
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on 23 December 2013
I've read about three quarters of this book so far and it's keeping my interest throughout. Obviously, reading about a man who has lead a swash buckling life is likely to be interesting but I've also found it very enlightening learning about his faults and weaknesses as well. I can thoroughly recommended it to anyone.
It's a shame the hero of the story gets killed at the end !!
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