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No better than ok
on 28 October 2012
I sat down to read this with real anticipation. Maybe my expectations were too high. Somehow he has taken a really fascinating figure and time and made it rather dull. He does not have the gift of properly explaining the period in which the action is set. The war with America just happens. There is no context. He doesn't really explain the systems of promotion and patronage in the Navy or explain why they existed and to what purpose. And his writing can be poor. I enjoyed for example 'As Pellew himself had reflected over years of pacing various quarterdecks . . . ' I don't know how the author knew his reflections took place on the quarterdeck. He doesn't limit himself to one quarterdeck of course but to 'various'. But apparently not his cabin or anywhere else. He is all too fond of cliched writing like this.
Maybe I am quibling I suppose. It is an interesting story. But to see how this kind of thing should be done take a look at Cochrane by Donald Thomas.