Rodger, N A M - The Wooden World An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy - ( Item 126827 )
Published in London by Folio Society. 2009. First Thus. Fine Hardback. No inscriptions or bookplates. Near Fine slipcase. Very slight marks to slipcase. 22pp. 2009. Numerous colour photographic reproductions. First published in 1986 this Folio Society edition follows the text of the 1998 Fontana Press paperback edition with corrections. Brutal captains, dishonest pursers and an inefficient Board doling out inedible rations to a drunken crew … this was once the traditional image of the 18th-century British Navy. Yet how could this regime have given rise to the greatest sea power in the world, glorious victor in a succession of conflicts including Quiberon Bay and the Battle of Havana? In this ground-breaking social history, Nicholas Rodger explodes the Victorian myth of the Georgian Navy as a 'floating hell'. Focusing mainly on the period of the Seven Years' War, he draws on ships' musters and pursers' accounts to reveal a highly organised fighting force that was also a society in miniature. Rodger shows that surprisingly few men deserted, that volunteers far exceeded impressed men, that captains were loath to flog and that the Navy Board responded promptly to complaints. For penniless recruits, the Navy offered a decent wage, a uniform and even a pension. It was also to a large extent a meritocracy, providing the opportunity for competent sailors to rise to become petty officers, with a few even reaching high command. Placing naval history within its wider context, Rodger shows how the Navy was a world apart, with its own traditions, dress and language, but also how these customs mirrored British society in general. His lively account introduces us to the everyday reality of life at sea, from a typical list of livestock on board (a goat, half a dozen sheep, four hogs and thirteen ducks) to the crew who complained that they had to 'creep on our hands and knees to our hammocks' since the ship was so small. For anyone interested in the navy of Nelson or the fiction of Patrick O'Brian, this is an absorbing and entertaining ship's-eye view. New foreword by the author. Bound in cloth, printed and blocked with a design by Mark Myers, based on 'Section Through a First-Rate, 1701'. Set in Minion Pro. 448 pages; frontispiece and 24 pages of colour and black & white plates. Size: 10x7 ins.
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