Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815

Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815

by N. A. M. Rodger

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An Economist Best Book of 2004: "Destined to remain the reference on the subject for the coming generations."—U.S. Naval Institute

The Command of the Ocean describes with unprecedented authority and scholarship the rise of Britain to naval greatness, and the central place of the Navy and naval activity in the life of the nation and government. Based on the author's own research in a dozen languages over more than a decade, it describes not just battles, voyages, and cruises but also how the Navy was manned, supplied, fed, and, above all, how it was financed and directed.

N. A. M. Rodger provides convincing reassessments of such famous figures as Pepys, Hawke, Howe, and St. Vincent. The very particular and distinct qualities of Nelson and Collingwood are illuminatingly contrasted, and the world of officers and men who make up the originals of Jack Aubrey and Horatio Hornblower is brilliantly brought to life. Rodger's comparative view of other navies—French, Dutch, Spanish, and American—allows him to make a fresh assessment of the qualities of the British.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393328479
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 05/19/2006
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 976
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

N. A. M. Rodger is professor of naval history at Exeter University and a fellow of the British Academy. He is the author of The Wooden World and the highly acclaimed volumes of his naval history of Britain, The Safeguard of the Sea and The Command of the Ocean. He lives in England.

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The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Shrike58 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The alternative title for this work could be "The Impact of Politics and Social Change on the Royal Navy," as Rodger argues that without the need to secure religious liberty and Parliment's ultimate adoption of the fleet it is unlikely that the will would have been found to develope the service most symbolic of Britain, with additional profound results for the building of the British state and the evolution of British society. Which is to say that Protectorate and Restoration England, as authoritarian polities, were not unusual in creating efficient naval power on the fly, but it would seem to take a society-wide commitment to sustain such naval power. This you can learn from reading the conclusions, the rest of the work is a exhaustively detailed examination of the contingincies encountered on the way to the zenith of British naval power.
RobertP on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Easy to read survey of the height of British sea power. The scholarship is extraordinary, and thankfully it is combined with an ability to write in the English tongue. It goes far to explain not only the power of the 18th and 19th Century Royal Navy, but also the strengths and the rise of Great Britain.
CNDeCurtis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An excellent read that does not bore the reader to tears as many history books are want to do. The author did his research, as expected from a professional researcher/historian, and writes with authority about one of the most important naval chapters of our world. As a fan of fictional history, this non-fiction book helps fill in details of series by O'Brian, Forrester, and Kent. Well done.
RandallCBlackerby More than 1 year ago
Naval Historian N.A.M Rodger continues his comprehensive history of the Royal Navy introduced with the first volume, The Safeguard of the Sea. The second book in this study The Command of the Ocean continues beyond the formative years of English sea power, covering the Cromwellian period through the end of the Napoleonic era. Like the structure of The Safeguard of the Sea, each chapter examines a particular aspect of the British Navy within a given time period, such as Ships, Operations, etc. Rodger shows how the navy evolved as a both a tool and facilitator of Empire, as well as Britain’s chief means of defense. During the period covered, the wooden sailing warship becomes a highly specialized fighting machine, with the line-of-battleship and frigate reaching high states of refinement The author also details improvements in logistics, supply, dockyard facilities, and other matters critical to maintaining sea power. From Lord Admiral to common tar, the issues of manpower such as discipline and promotion are also examined. The navy’s operational role in both war and peace expands during this period, involving wars with Holland, Spain, France and America. The Mediterranean becomes critical to British naval policy as well. The navy also expands its role in exploration with the voyages of Cook and Anson. It’s role in the defense of Britain spans the often disastrous engagements with the Dutch in the late 1600’s and cumulates in Nelson’s stunning 1805 victory at Trafalgar. As he has in past works, Rodger effectively combines scholarly research with a highly readable text. While the book may not appeal to all general readers due to its specialized subject matter, anyone with an enthusiasm for British or maritime history will find this an excellent read. The series may prove the definitive naval history of Britain for some time to come. I look forward to the third book in this series!