Home' Ausmarine : Jan Feb 2017 Contents SHIPS OF THE ROYAL NAVY
The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships
of the Royal Navy from the 15th Century
to the Present
By JJ COLLEDGE and BEN WARLOW
At first sight this would seem to be a book for the
“anoraks” as the British so delightfully call their over-
enthusiastic train, ship or aircraft “spotters”. While it would
certainly be useful and valuable to such people, there is much
more to it than that.
Hard as it may be to believe, it lists some 13,000 vessels that were
owned or chartered by Britain’s Royal Navy over the past 600 years.
That is a very impressive total over an even more impressive history.
Presumably, only the French, Spanish and Dutch could match it in
terms of time but would be nowhere near it in vessel numbers. Even
the U.S . Navy would be unlikely to have possessed 13,000 vessels
through its 240 year history.
Obviously, good records have been maintained over the years but
there have been fires, floods and bombings that would have
eliminated some of them. This makes the job of accurately compiling
such a list all the more impressive. And, you may be sure that it is
accurate. Now in its fourth, fully-revised edition, it will have been
picked over thoroughly by the pedants of the anorak brigade.
An amazing and immensely valuable work of dedicated and
Available from Casemate Publishing, Oxford, UK.
BRITISH PRIVATEERING VOYAGES
OF THE EARLY EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
By TIM BEATTIE
This exciting, informative and generally delightful
book apparently was developed from the author’s
doctoral thesis on the same subject. What a
wonderful subject for a thesis!
The twenty-first century has started out as one of obscenely
extreme political correctness and a general wimpishness. Our culture
has moved away about as far as conceivably possible from the days of
merchant adventurers and of the oft-defamed privateers.
This is sad. Privateers were not the simple criminal pirates that
many of their detractors have painted them. Generally, they were
incredibly brave and enterprising businessmen. They were, strictly
speaking, operating completely legally. They risked all including,
frequently, their lives in an effort to get ahead. They had nothing,
really, except their own wits, navigational abilities, seamanship and
fighting skills to protect them. They were the purest and truest of all
entrepreneurs. They made invaluable contributions to the
development of our world. The precise antithesis of everything
valued by modern, over-educated, inner-urban left leaners.
The author focuses on the voyages and adventures of three of the
best known: William Dampier, Woodes Rogers and John Clipperton.
His deep research brings them to life and places their activities and
achievements in much better perspective than have most of their
Available from Boydell Press, Woodbridge, UK.
LASCARS AND INDIAN OCEAN
Shipboard Life, Unrest and Mutiny
By AARON JAFFER
The Boydell Press is doing the world a great
service by publishing important maritime
histories that are contributing significantly to promote an all-
important but, unfortunately, considerably neglected maritime
culture. They deserve praise and thanks from the maritime
industry for their contribution.
This fine book is fairly typical of the Boydell Press breed. It is well
and very extensively researched. As many of them are, it is based on
a doctoral thesis that has been “popularised”.
The subject is a very important one in British and sub-continental
history but, surprisingly one that has been largely neglected. Indeed,
while this book covers the eighty-year period from 1780, the next
eighty or so years was probably equally interesting. Perhaps there is
an opportunity for a sequel?
As is well known among “old hands” lascars were South Asian
seamen who served, sometimes reluctantly, aboard European, mostly
British, owned and officered ships. The author’s extensive research
brings to life the importance of the lascars to the contemporary
maritime industry and he particularly highlights the conflicts that
were an ongoing part of the arrangement.
A very valuable contribution to a very important subject.
Available from the Boydell Press, Woodbridge, UK.
SWALLOWED BY THE SEA
The story of Australia’s shipwrecks
By GRAEME HENDERSON
Perhaps more accurately sub-titled “Some of
Australia’s most notable shipwrecks”, this
beautiful book undoubtedly records the most
interesting of the hundreds of shipwrecks that dot the
Australian coast. The author is a passionate, knowledgeable
and very successful maritime archaeologist who was also the
long-term director of the Western Australian Maritime
Museum, Australia’s best.
Published by the National Library of Australia, the book
faithfully rewards the author’s passion with a first rate job of
photography, design, typesetting, printing and binding. A very
high quality effort throughout.
Each shipwreck is described in a single chapter vignette that
incorporates highly appropriate historical information and
illustrations with first-rate contemporary data and brilliant
photographs. The descriptions very successfully combine
atmosphere and facts in a very informative manner.
A most interesting and valuable history that will, it is hoped,
contribute somewhat to reducing Australia’s massive deficiency in
Available from NLA Publishing, Canberra, Australia.
DEFENDING BRITISH INDIA
The Foreign Policy of Governor-General
Lord Minto 1807-13
By AMITA DAS
To some degree the Napoleonic Wars were
“World Wars” in that they were fought well beyond the confines
of continental Europe. In the first decade or so of the nineteenth
century, the Indian Ocean and the Indian sub-continent itself
were a hotbed of Anglo-French warring.
This excellent study of that important period of ve ry intense
turmoil describes a masterful warrior diplomat who contributed so
much to keeping British India British under very
difficult circumstances. Minto’s geographic range of activities
extended from the Cape of Good Hope to Java and beyond in what is
Lord Minto was a most interesting man, of whom your reviewer,
he is ashamed to state, had never heard. He richly deserves the
excellent descriptions provided of him in this very valuable history.
An important but hitherto neglected slice of history brought to
life very interestingly and well.
Available from the Boydell Press, Woodbridge, UK.
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