Buy Used
£2.79
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by the book house
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: This item will be picked, packed and shipped by Amazon and is eligible for free delivery within the UK
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Prize of All the Oceans Paperback – 18 Sep 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Paperback, 18 Sep 2000
£4.20 £0.01

Man Booker International Prize 2017
A Horse Walks Into a Bar has won the Man Booker International Prize 2017. Learn more
click to open popover

Special offers and product promotions


Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.



Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New edition edition (18 Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006531784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006531784
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,125,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

Product description

From the Back Cover

The misadventures of Anson's voyage of 1740-44 make a dramatic story. Only one ship completed the mission, the rest were wrecked, scuttled or forced back shattered. Of the nineteen hundred officers and men who wailed form Spithead, almost fourteen hundred died, most from disease or starvation. Ravaged by scurvy and battered by relentless storms, by the times Anson reached the Chinese coast in November 1742 he was only left with one ship and a handful of men, some of whom had 'turned mad and idiots'. Despite this, he was determined to capture 'the Prize of All the Oceans', the legendary Spanish treasure ship making its annual voyage from Acapulco to Manila…The book's most lasting impression is of Anson's own fortitude against all the odds – a commander who watched helplessly while his crews died in their hundreds, who hauled ropes alongside his men and tended them when they were ill; but who never wavered in his determination to return home triumphant.

'Remarkable…never was there a tale which joined such horror and pity, disaster and triumph, such fortitude I adversity. Glyn Williams' narrative brings out all the drama of the story…an admirable retelling of a tragic and heroic tale. Nobody else could have done Anson justice as Williams has done, and no one will now need to do so again.
N A M RODGER 'TLS'

'Staggeringly good.. 'The Prize of All the Oceans' is the best book I've read in ages.'
ANDREW ROBERTS

About the Author

Glyn Williams has been Professor of History at Queen Mary and Westfield College since 1974. His main teaching interests are the history of exploration, the history of Europe overseas, and British imperial history. He has travelled and lectured in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies. He is Emeritus Professor of the University of London. He lives in Kent.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Enjoyable & evocative account of Anson's expedition to the South Seas in 1740-44. Brings home the perils of long distance naval voyages of the time. Of the 1900 men that set out, less than 500 returned;the rest died due to disease & starvation.The author has managed to conjure up the awful image of being on board during the worst of times. How they navigated when the known information was scanty and often inaccurate; how they coped with typhoid,dysentery & scurvy; how the rock-like presence of Anson himself kept the expedition together; and finally the capture of the Spanish treasure Ship & the return home. Well researched & very enjoyable.
Comment 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another cracker from Glyn Williams! If you had ever thought that Patrick O'Brian maybe used poetic licence wih the sheer extremity of his stories, read this and think again.
Poor Commodore Anson is sent off on an extremely ill-thought out mission to make inroads on the Spanish South American settlements and capture the annual treasure ship, laden with implausible amounts of silver. His mission is thoughtfully leaked to the Spanish, his military forces consist of a bunch of unfortunate Chelsea pensioners (some over 70 years of age) and he barely has a full complement of crew, even after pressing hordes of starved countrymen (it was a bad winter that year too - but in those days that meant people starved). Of the 1600 men who set off, barely 400 return alive - the majority killed off by disease (notably scurvy for which no-one has yet discovered a cure, and which is treated with a random variety of remedies - some involving sulphuric acid). But against all the odds - wrecks, mutinies, broken masts, mislaid islands (no-one has yet discovered a reliable chronometer either!) his handful of half mad crew take the fabled "Prize of All the Oceans" (manned by 500 healthy Spaniards) and make their fortunes (that much the greater, given the smaller numbers alive to share in the prize...).
Admittedly this is a story which has much to recommend it even without good writing. But Williams brings to it an excellent communicative writing style (you can tell that he has learnt how to hold an unwilling audience and how to stop attention flagging through his teaching!) and the absolute wealth of knowledge which is actually necessary to bring the story fully alive - since he treats of a very different world in terms simply of dstance of time, and the rarefied nature of maritime adventures. He even manages to make the contortions of the Prize system clear and interesting - and that really is high praise.
A wonderful read - and hugely informative.
2 Comments 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a complete narrative of Anson's voyage, this is an excellent and quite complete text, very readable and enjoyable. However, my major criticism of this book is the lack of analysis or critical review of the events. Perhaps this is because of the dearth of source material, though the records of this time are quite abundant. The context of the voyage is not explained as well nor as completely as it could have been. The 'why' of events and decisions, except for immediate events, is often omitted, leaving the reader with a yarn, but not a complete history. A more thorough historical analysis of Anson's voyage is still needed.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This book didn't initially appear very interesting, but from the outset I found it utterly absorbing. A classic tale of struggle with adversity, it is a record of Captain (later Admiral) Anson's circumnavigation of the globe. En route he orchestrates the theft of Spanish treasure in the Pacific, the 'Prize' referred to in the title. Sanctioned by the Crown, he returns a celebrity and one of the richest men in the country. So far so good, but most of the ships and crew that left in the fleet with him weren't so fortunate. The storms at Cape Horn were so vicious that most of the ships were lost and the conditions on board were so bad that the vast majority of crews perished before they got to the Pacific. Glyn Williams has done a great job bringing a great deal of accurate research together in an extremely enjoyable and readable account.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Admiral Anson's voyage round the world was one the key events in history. It was one of the most important explorations which began the linking of continents and peoples which was the root of the world as we know it today. At the time, however, it was a daring and dangerous adventure, far more risky than space exploration today. The book is an exciting and informative account of a confrontation of risk and of great rewards.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse