Originally published on the The Old Salt Blog
Over the next several weeks, we will be reviewing a series of books about what life was like in Nelson’s navy. The first is Jack Tar: Life in Nelson’s Navy by Roy & Leslie Adkins, subtitled “the extraordinary lives of ordinary seamen in Nelson’s navy.” A fascinating and well written book.
One of the criticism of many books addressing Nelson’s time are that they either romanticize or are overly harsh is their descriptions of conditions aboard the ships of the Royal Navy. Jack Tar does neither. It provides a wealth of detail and description, which neither glorifies nor vilifies the complexity and contradiction of life aboard a man of war. The image that emerges is full and nuanced, sketching the mix of culture and rank in the teeming and cramped society that was a King’s ship.