J. Ross Dancy recently released a new book available in Hardcover, The Myth of the Press Gang: Volunteers, Impressment and the Naval Manpower Problem in the Late Eighteenth Century.
The press gang is generally regarded as the means by which the British navy solved the problem of recruiting enough seamen in the late eighteenth century. This book, however, based on extensive original research conducted primarily in a large number of ships’ muster books, demonstrates that this view is false. It argues that, in fact, the overwhelming majority of seamen in the navy were there of their own free will. Taking a long view across the late eighteenth century but concentrating on the period of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars of 1793-1815, the book provides great detail on the sort of men that were recruited and the means by which they were recruited, and includes a number of individuals’ stories.
It shows how manpower was a major concern for the Admiralty; how the Admiralty put in place a range of recruitment methods including the quota system; how it worried about depleting merchant shipping of sufficient sailors; and how, although most seamen were volunteers, the press gang was resorted to, especially during the initial mobilisation at the beginning of wars and to find certain kinds of particularly skilled seamen. The book also makes comparisons with recruitment methods employed by the navies of other countries and by the British army.
via The Myth of the Press Gang (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction.
Author Julian Stockwin’s new novel, Tyger, will be released in hardcover in the UK on 8 October 2015 and in the US on 1 December 2015. It is now available for pre-order.
The greatest naval trial in the Georgian period is underway at Portsmouth with the court martial of Sir Home Popham, Captain Sir Thomas Kydd’s commanding officer in the doomed occupation of Buenos Aires. Kydd has some sympathy for Popham’s unauthorised action but his support for his former commander leaves him athwart some very influential people in the Admiralty.
With his frigate L’Aurore unfit for sea, Kydd is given a commission that some hope will destroy his career. Tyger has recently mutinied but instead of having her company dispersed around the fleet as is customary, the ship is pressed into immediate service in the North Sea. Kydd faces a crew still under some malign influence.
Enemies aboard and on the high seas are just the start of the problem. Soon he will have to take his untested and untrustworthy crew into the Baltic and there they will get entangled with Napoleon’s invasion of Prussia. The stakes are desperate, the task seemingly impossible and the French implacable. But the only way for Kydd to avoid disgrace is to gamble his reputation and crew on a crazy mission to snatch a Prussian division out of the jaws of Napoleon’s advancing army. Will he return home once more a hero, or himself face a court martial?
via Tyger (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction.
David Perry recently released a sequel to Not Self but Country. The Crucible of Tradition: A Sea of Heroes and Traitors is now available worldwide in paperback and for kindle download.
You read about John Paul Jones’ famous battle with HMS Serapis in Not Self but Country; now read The Crucible of Tradition and empathize with his internal struggles and external battles after the victory. Treason, treachery, and infidelity plague him at every turn.
Get reacquainted with Captain John Barry. Discover his humble peasant beginnings in Ireland. Experience the warm kinship in his loving family in the oppressive poverty of the eighteenth century. Accompany him on his rise to prominence and his personal struggle through two marriages.
Meticulously researched, this novel, the second in the series, will introduce you to the men who secured America’s independence while others framed her government. You will walk the streets of colonial America in scenes that were pulled from period maps and newspapers. Fight, grieve, and exult alongside the men and women who were the actual flesh and blood heroes of their day.
via The Crucible of Tradition (PB/K) – Historic Naval Fiction.
Perry Comer recently released the next installment of the Donland series, Donland’s Ransom. It is available worldwide for Kindle download.
It is 1779 and the war is going badly for England. Pirates have kidnapped the Crown prince of Portugal. Donland must rescue the prince before the French or Spanish get to him and persuade him to join forces with them. The ransom to be paid is five hundred pounds sterling in gold coin.
Donland is warned, ” The man who requested you has placed you in a difficult position. You are to deliver the gold and provide assistance to him. It is the latter than should concern you, for if his mission fails you will bear the brunt of that failure.”
The French fleet of Comte D’Estaing is growing stronger with reinforcements. The Caribbean is becoming a French lake. From Saint Lucia to Grenada and onward to the Port of Spain, Donland and the crew of the Hornet outwit and out sail their pursuers.
via Donland’s Ransom (K) – Historic Naval Fiction.
Brian Lavery has a new book available for pre-order in Hardcover, Nelson’s Victory: 250 Years of War and Peace. It will be released in the US on 15 April 2015 and in the UK on 30 April 2015.
May 2015 sees the 250th anniversary of the launch of HMS Victory, the ship that is so closely associated with Nelson and his great victory at Trafalgar and which, still extant, has today become the embodiment of the great Age of Sail. Many books have been written about Victory but none like this, which tells the full story of the ship since she first took to the waters in May 1765. It contains many surprises that she was almost wrecked on her launch; that diplomacy conducted onboard her played a crucial role in provoking Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812; and that in 1914 Kaiser Wilhelm set the First World War in motion at a desk made from her timbers. The book also tells the story of Horatio Nelson, who was born a few weeks before his most famous ship was ordered, and whose career paralleled hers in many ways.
It does not ignore the battle of Trafalgar, and indeed it offers new insights into the campaign which led up to it. But it says much more about the other lives of the ship, which at different times was a flagship, a fighting ship, a prison hospital ship, a training ship for officers and boys, a floating courtroom, a signal school in the early days of radio, tourist attraction and national icon. It looks at her through many eyes, including Queen Victoria, admirals, midshipmen and ordinary seamen, and Beatrix Potter who visited as a girl. It is simply a must-have work for historians and enthusiasts, and a compelling new narrative for the general reader.
via Nelson’s Victory: 250 Years of War and Peace (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction.
Jack M. D. Owen recently released David Porter, Philadelphia & The Barbary Pirates: Lieutenant David Porter on the Shores of Tripoli. It is available worldwide for Kindle download.
One Halloween the US Navy would like to forget, played a terrible trick on Lieutenant David Porter, in 1803.
He, along with 306 other shipmates aboard the 38-gun frigate USS Philadelphia, including Captain William Bainbridge, were caught by pirates at Tripoli. It took guile and courage to free them from their 18-month slavery in the grip of a murderous, despotic Bashaw, and a renegade Scot-turned-Turk pirate. Plus the politicking of a President, Emperor and Pope.
It also introduced the United States Marine Corps onto the world stage of battle and bravery. A handful of leathernecks with a raggle-taggle army of camel-drivers and mercenaries, under determined leadership, routed the best the Barbary Coast Pirates could muster.
They helped free their comrades, after they marched across a desert, quelled mutinies, and meted out frontier justice.
via David Porter, Philadelphia & The Barbary Pirates (K) – Historic Naval Fiction.