Corbett, Julian S.


1st.ed., 1910. Xvi + 475 pp., guarded frontis + 12 other charts & diagrams (7 fldg.). Contemporary blue full calf ; later red calf title-pieces to spine ; rich gilt tooling & raised bands ; gilt double-line border & Admiralty foul anchor crest to front board ; a.e.g., marbled e.p’s. 22 x 15cm. Binding slightly rubbed ; some foxing ; o/w V.G.+. Prize Label for Second Admiralty Prize in Gunnery, awarded to Cadet C. P. Powell at the Royal Naval College, Keyham. (A Royal Naval Engineering College founded at Keyham, near Plymouth, in 1880. The Keyham site closed in 1958). Corbett’s masterly and original study of the battle of Trafalgar remains one of the finest works on the subject and the definitive English account of the campaign. It was used extensively by the Admiralty Committee set up in 1913 to examine Nelson’s tactics of 1805 (See Item 8 above) and, amazingly, it was the first full-scale English study on the subject, appearing more than a century after the event. Corbett complements the excellent French study of Desbrière published in 1907, and it was immediately recognized as a major contribution to a more accurate understanding of the whole campaign of 1803-1805. In addition to the 26 detailed chapters, Corbett provides 6 important appendices. These include : The Trafalgar Signal, 1816. Lord Nelson’s Memorandum. Lists & Plans showing the Manner of Engaging the Enemy at Trafalgar. Schedules of Signals Recorded at Trafalgar. Etc. Sir Julian Corbett was one of the most able naval historians of his day and stood alongside Laughton and Mahan. Here he carefully examines French and Spanish material and newly disinterred British signal logs, enabling the author to explain the whole campaign in a perspective not distorted by looking at the subject from Nelson’s standpoint alone. This work went into a second edition in 1919 but in an inferior format. It is essential reading for any serious study of the Trafalgar Campaign which reached its climax in a battle which secured Britain’s security – at the cost of Nelson’s life – for more than a century. Attractive in a fine and contemporary Admiralty full-calf prize binding.

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