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Nelson: A Dream of Glory by [Sugden, John]

Nelson: A Dream of Glory Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Length: 976 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Amazon Review

Described as the definitive biography, volume 1 of John Sugden’s Nelson is the fruit of over a decade’s research and, at nearly 800 pages long, represents the most comprehensive and detailed account of Nelson’s early years. Modern English folk might well have been saddened when the news broke that Princess Diana died or when John Lennon was assassinated but it is difficult to imagine the depth of national grief and pride occasioned at the news of Nelson’s demise. At the time of his death in 1805 he was seen as the very epitome of the greatness of Britain, a founder of its security and worldwide influence. What makes Sugden’s biography so authoritative is that having familiarized himself with all other previous accounts his research draws upon thousands of previously unseen letters and documents which in turn has enabled him to strip away many enduring misconceptions and embellishments that have attached themselves to the Nelson story. At the same time Sugden is not simply covering old ground since his account traces the least familiar period of Nelson’s life from childhood to the brink of international fame in 1797.

Granted that Sugden’s scholarship is first-class it still remains to say that he manages to turn the wealth of facts at his disposal into a smooth-flowing, accessible narrative. We learn about Nelson’s apprenticeship and his development into a decisive, ambitious, courageous young admiral and the personal qualities that gained him the trust, love and loyalty of the men who followed him. Much of the book deals with the day to day detail of life on board ship and with the skirmishes and battles-- on both land and sea-- that built Nelson’s reputation. Sugden does a wonderful job of explaining the reasons for Nelson’s success—chiefly his early recognition that the skilled efficiency of British seamanship was superior to that of her enemies. That meant that individual ships, and the British fleet in general, could break with the established rules of engagement, take more chances and ultimately gain spectacular victories against much larger and stronger foes. If one were to be picky the one minor drawback with the book is that with the main focus upon the events in Nelson’s life it is hard to understand how the navy was organized and managed and difficult to see Nelson’s life in the broader context of the history of the British Navy. Fortunately NAM Rodger’s The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815 perfectly answers the call.

By the time the narrative comes to an end the relatively young admiral, with his reputation secure but still hungry for glory, is effectively blind in one eye, lacking a right arm and brooding on the dismal prospect of retirement. We have to wait for the completion of volume two for the full account of his last few great years at the forefront of the European war. --Larry Brown

Review

"A masterpiece... The flagship of the fleet, it leaves all others trailing in its wake" (Neil Hanson Sunday Times)

"A magnificently-researched and thoughtful work which locates Nelson in a global context" (Linda Colley)

"This work is massively authoritative" (Max Hastings Sunday Telegraph)

"One can say with confidence that this momumental tome is the finest yet written on England's great naval hero. Sugden's brilliant book is chock-full of fascinating details. And if the second volume turns out as well as this, his life of Nelson will be one of the historical masterpieces of our time" (Frank McLynn Daily Express)

"A massive, first-rate battleship of a book" (Colin White Observer)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3801 KB
  • Print Length: 976 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (18 Jan. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4VZ5C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #106,274 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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