Non-Fiction Releases

This section lists upcoming and recently released non-fiction books about the Age of Sail. They will also appear in the Non-Fiction Listings

Broke of the Shannon and the War of 1812 (HC)

Broke of the Shannon and the War of 1812Tim Voelcker's new book, Broke of the Shannon and the War of 1812, is now available in hardcover in the UK. It is also available for pre-order in the US where it will be released on 15 October 2013.

Captain Broke's victory in 1813 over Captain Lawrence of USS Chesapeake, which was to have far reaching influence on the future of North America, did much to restore the morale of the Royal Navy, shattered by three successive defeats in single-ship duels with US frigates, and stunned the American nation which had come to expect success. 2013 sees the bicentenary of the battle and this new book seeks to reverse the neglect shown by most modern historians of one of Britain's finest frigate captains, who by his skill, determination and leadership won one of the bloodiest naval duels the world has seen. Even now both Britain and the USA claim to have won the war but only Canada, the third country heavily involved, can fully claim to have done so, for the peace that followed established her as an independent nation. Leading historians from all three countries have joined to give their sometimes conflicting views on different aspects in a way to interest and entertain general readers, as well as challenge academics. It is a tale of political and military blunders, courage and cowardice in battle, a bloody ship-to-ship fight, and technical innovation in the hitherto crude methods of naval gunnery. It also tells the human story of Broke's determination to achieve victory so he could return to his wife and children after seven lonely years at sea. The near-fatal wound Broke received in hand-to-hand fighting as he boarded the Chesapeake meant that he never served again at sea, but his work on naval gunnery, paid for out of his own pocket, transformed Admiralty thinking and led to the establishment of the British naval school of gunnery, HMS Excellent. This Bicentenary year of his victory is timely for an up-to-date, wide-ranging work incorporating the latest thinking; this is the book.

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Empire of the Deep (HC/K)

Empire of the DeepA new book by Ben Wilson, Empire of the Deep: The Rise and Fall of the British Navy, is due for release on 25 July 2013. It is now available for pre-order in hardcover and for kindle in the UK but just for kindle in the US.

The story of our navy is nothing less than the story of Britain, our culture and our empire. Much more than a parade of admirals and their battles, this is the story of how an insignificant island nation conquered the world's oceans to become its greatest trading empire. Few other nations have fallen so deeply in love with a branch of the armed forces as the British did with its Navy.

Yet, as Ben Wilson shows, there was nothing inevitable about this rise to maritime domination, nor was it ever an easy path. For much of our history Britain was a third-rate maritime power on the periphery of Europe. Empire of the Deep also reveals how our naval history has shaped us in more subtle and surprising ways - our language, culture, politics and national character all owe a great debt to this conquest of the seas. This is a gripping, fresh take on our national story.

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The Spanish Armada (HC/K)

The Spanish ArmadaA new book by Robert Hutchinson, The Spanish Armada, was released last month in hardcover and for Kindle.

After the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558, Protestant England was beset by the hostile Catholic powers of Europe - not least Spain. In October 1585 King Philip II of Spain declared his intention to destroy Protestant England and began preparing invasion plans, leading to an intense intelligence war between the two countries, culminating in the dramatic sea battles of 1588.

Robert Hutchinson's tautly written book is the first to examine this battle for intelligence, and uses everything from contemporary eye-witness accounts to papers held by the national archives in Spain and the UK to recount the dramatic battle that raged up the English Channel. Contrary to popular theory, the Armada was not defeated by superior English forces - in fact, Elizabeth I's parsimony meant that her ships had no munitions left by the time the Armada had fought its way up to the south coast of England. In reality it was a combination of inclement weather and bad luck that landed the killer blow on the Spanish forces, and of the 125 Spanish ships that set sail against England, only 60 limped home - the rest sunk or wrecked with barely a shot fired.

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