Lavery, Brian.


1st.ed., 2010. 383 pp., 19 cold., and 40 b&w plates + 11 maps & diagrams. D.j., 24 x 16cm. FINE. A social history of the 'lower deck' of the Royal Navy and the life of the sailor in the days of sail from earliest times to the mid-19th century. Based on first-hand accounts, rare letters, and a study of official papers, the author allows the seamen to speak for themselves in an anecdote-led style, exploring along the way their life and daily routine ; their character and attitudes ; their skills in seamanship and their prowess in battle. Illustrated with 19 coloured plates and 40 black & white plates in addition to maps etc., the lot of the sailor is examined from the ships of the medieval period, to those of the early Victorian era when sail was about to give way to steam. In between he covers the English Civil War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars, the wars with France, the Seven Years' War, the American War of Independence, the Napoleonic Wars, and the Battle of Navarino in 1827 when a fleet under sail alone went into battle for the last time. Every aspect of the sailor's life is described from his involvement in mutinies and desertion, to his health and sexual practices.

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