“Nelson’s Trafalgar: The Battle That Changed the World by Roy A. Adkins
I had never heard of this battle before reading this book (my colonial Canadian education failed me!). It was a very interesting, and super detailed look at the importance of the battle, the hour-by-hour rundown of the battle including many maps, and then lots of afterword about how the battle was important.
The first 196 pages are incredible actually. He is great at explaining the action of the battle, with great footnotes. He goes off on tangents at times but I loved those because you got to learn about ship life, and even where ship slang came from. The tangents reminded me of all the interesting chapters about life on a whaling ship in Moby Dick. I sorta disliked the book, but really enjoyed learning about whaling ships.
Now let’s talk about page 197-326, these were a slog. He has one whole long chapter of excerpts of sailor’s letters to their moms and dad. It just got really boring, really fast. This book could’ve been condensed a lot. I don’t think the author was trying to pad the page count, I truly feel he is passionate about Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar, but the editor should’ve stepped in and condensed the last half of the book.
It had lots of diagrams and maps, but could’ve used an extra diagram or two showing parts of a sailing ship. During the battle, in the excerpts from officer letters, many times they refer to all sorts of ship parts and it’s hard to keep them straight at times.
All-in-all, this is an important book, about an important battle for the nascent British empire but it fizzled out at the end, and became a bore. I’ve read lots, and lots of history books, so I’m not bored by history, but by the end I was just praying for this book to finish.
Rating: ★★★ Book #102 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge #BookReview #Books #BritishEmpire #war #history #NavalWarfare”,