Lewis, Michael.


FIRST EDITION, 1960. 468 pp., 32 plates, 14 tables, a map & a graph. D.j., 22 x 15cm. V.G. This is generally acknowledged to be the author’s finest work, written after his time as Professor of History at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich. He brings his considerable knowledge to bear on the social aspects of naval life during the Napoleonic Wars. Divided into four main parts, the first examines the origins, social and geographical background of the Quarter Deck and Lower Deck – parentage and social class – and geographical distribution of home life. The second part covers entry into the Navy and the problems of recruitment. The author examines the manning of the Lower Deck, the volunteers, pressmen, and the quota system. In the third part he considers the Navy as a profession ; its prospects, conditions of service and rewards. He examines the hierarchy of the Royal Navy, rank and appointments, prize money, and freight. The final part looks at ‘The Price of Admiralty’: naval actions, accidents and disease. He examines the cost in terms of ships – British and foreign – the cost in terms of lives both from the violence of the enemy and from the perils of the sea. In addition there are three interesting appendices. (I) Enemy casualties in the six major battles of 1793-1815. (II) The Anglo-American Impressment controversy. And (III) Hodge’s estimates of British casualties in the wars of 1793-1815. The book is illustrated with interesting plates, instructive tables, a map and a graph.

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