In Nelson's Wake The Navy and the Napoleonic Wars James Davey

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
30 Oct 2015
ISBN:
9780300200652
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
440 pages: 235 x 156mm
Illustrations:
42 color illus. + maps

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The Napoleonic Wars saw Britain immersed in a conflict of unprecedented scale and intensity. With France dominant on the European mainland, the fate of the British population rested first and foremost on the Royal Navy and the thousands of individuals who served on warships around the world. Most famous of all was Horatio Nelson, who won a notable victory over the French at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. This victory did not, however, end the war at sea. Over the subsequent decade, the Royal Navy played a crucial role in the struggle against Napoleonic France, and helped ensure his final defeat.

In this compelling history, James Davey traces the numerous roles played by the Navy between 1803 and 1815. From battles and blockades to convoys and raids, he shows that British ships were a constant presence, thwarting Napoleon’s ambitions and helping to ensure a British victory. Dramatically narrating famous events alongside less well-known actions, Davey tells the story of the many individuals who followed in Nelson’s wake. From reckless officers and courageous sailors, to canny politicians and those who laboured in the Royal Dockyards, he shows how people from across Britain made a fundamental contribution to the war effort and, in doing so, helped shape British history.

James Davey is Curator of Naval History at the National Maritime Museum. He is the author of The Transformation of British Naval Strategy: Seapower and Supply in Northern Europe 1808–1812.

“[A] truly masterly piece of work."—Navy News


“James Davey, a curator at the National Maritime Museum, leads us into the world of Hornblower and Jack Aubrey, and he is a conscientious guide with an eye for arcane details”—Lawrence James, Times (London)


“James Davey’s book demonstrates that the French defeat at Trafalgar was not so comprehensive that it ended Napoleon’s seaborne ambition and insists that the war was not over in 1805… It was critical in these circumstances that Britain should maintain its naval strength, and Davey shows how effectively it did so.”—Alan Forrest, BBC History Magazine


"For all the tragic glory of Trafalgar it would take another ten years before Napoleon was finally defeated, years in which Nelson's successors waged a world wide war against France, Spain, the Ottoman Empire, Russia and the United States. James Davey's elegant analysis demonstrates the importance of the Royal Navy's last great war under sail, the skill with which it was fought, and the quintessential character that made the British sailor into a national hero."—Andrew Lambert, author of The Challenge: Britain Against America in the Naval War of 1812


"This important book fills a deep void. For well over a hundred years no-one has written a comprehensive naval history of Britain in the ten years after Trafalgar. In Nelson's Wake, however, is much more than an operational narrative, for it is set in a rich context of British strategy and politics, resources and organisation, revealed through mature and thorough scholarship. It is essential reading for all who wish to understand the hard-fought victory over Napoleonic France."—Roger Knight, author of Britain Again Napoleon: The Organisation of Victory, 1793–1815 


"For all the tragic glory of Trafalgar it would take another ten years before Napoleon was finally defeated. James Davey's elegant analysis demonstrates the importance of the Royal Navy's last great war under sail, the skill with which it was fought, and the quintessential character that made the British sailor into a national hero."—Andrew Lambert, author of The Challenge: Britain Against America in the Naval War of 1812