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Review for Nelson's Navy in 100 Objects

Author/Director : Gareth Glover

Format : Book

This is not an easy book to review, there is much to enjoy, some to criticise but the quality is uneven from item to item. The enjoyment comes from the easy style of Gareth Glover’s presentation of the information. The breadth of his selection, from what is a very wide field, is interesting, ranging as it does from a Purser’s button to Naval bases in the Americas. There are many fascinating items which are rarely focused on. One example is the swatch of cloth for Royal Marine uniforms sent by a supplier for approval by the Admiralty.
Having enjoyed the book as much as I did it seems a little disingenuous to criticise two elements. The first is that there are not 100 objects e.g. identical photos of HMS Trincomalee are used for objects 25 and 30 The second more serious criticism is that the writing in a number of cases does not focus on the objects illustrated. In both instances of the Trincomalee little is about that ship but is mostly general points about her class and type. In the item about ships’ biscuit very little is about the biscuit. Many readers would like to know the recipe, was it oats or wheat based? How much was a sailor’s ration? Is it true it was too hard to eat without being smashed and soaked into a stew or a kind of potage? None of this is in the text.
The book as a whole is beautifully presented with many more than a hundred illustrations. In spite of the caveats given above we would recommend it to a wide range of readers.

Published by : Frontline Books, 2021
ISBN : 978 1 52673 132 6

Review last updated : 2021-08-02 11:36:53

See also : other "Napoleonic Wars" reviews