The Oxford Illustrated History of the Royal Navy

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J. R. Hill, Bryan Ranft
Oxford University Press, 2002 - History - 480 pages
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Britain is an island nation and throughout history its navy has been of great importance for its defence. As a consequence it has always had a special significance and has over the centuries entrenched itself in the national psyche, making itself manifest not only through the hero-worship of its principal characters such as Horatio Nelson and Sir Francis Drake but also finding expression through art, music, and literature. Like any great national institution, the navy is a complex webof interconnected histories - operational, strategic, political, economic, administrative, technological, and social. Now updated for its paperback edition, The Oxford Illustrated History of the Royal Navy, in a series of fourteen chapters, provides a thorough and engaging treatment of these histories, covering every aspect of naval history from the Anglo-Saxon period to the dawn of the new millennium. The book explores: Major action and campaigns - the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the Anglo-Dutch Wars, the Battle of Trafalgar, the Battle of Jutland, the Atlantic Campaign of 1939-45, the Falklands conflict, the Gulf War, and attacks on terrorist bases in Afghanistan in 2001. Developments in naval history and technology - navigational advances, surveying, constructional developments, disaster relief, the suppression of the slave trade, and the Strategic Defence Review of 1998. Key personalities - Drake and Nelson, Samuel Pepys, Francis Beaufort, Jackie Fisher, Lord Charles Beresford, Lord Jellicoe. Naval life - recruitment (press gangs, training, education, discipline), tactics, gunnery and armaments, amphibious operations, wages and conditions, victualling and supply. How and when did Britain's perception of the sea change from a thing of fear to a 'moat defence' (in the words of Shakespeare)? How did the navy's administrative systems develop during the Tudor period? During the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, its greatest period of expansion, how didthe navy develop strategically and operationally? How successfully did the navy defend the British Empire during the nineteenth century? What role did the navy play in Victorian Britain's thirst for exploring of the world? What technical developments have been important to the navy? What effect did two world wars have on the role of the Royal Navy? What does the modern navy look like now and what about the future? With a full chronology, which has been brought up to date to the end of 2001, an extensive list of further reading, 16 pages of colour plates, 23 maps, 6 special Action Station diagram 'box' features, and around 200 black-and-white integrated illustrations, this is an authoritative and highly readable account of a unique fighting service and its people.

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About the author (2002)


J. R. Hill served for over 40 years in the Royal Navy in sea and Whitehall appointments, ending his career in 1983 as Rear-Admiral. He has since been Under-Treasurer of the Middle Temple, retiring in 1994, and since 1980 has written nine books on maritime warfare, strategy, history, and arms control. He has lectured and given conference papers, worldwide, on similar subjects. He is editor of The Naval Review and was Chairman of the Society for Nautical Research from 1994 to 1999.

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