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Thread: Far Distant Ships

  1. #1
    Admiral of the Fleet.
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    Default Far Distant Ships

    Book Title:
    Far Distant Ships
    Author:
    Quintin Barry
    ISBN:
    978-1-911512-14-1
    Category:
    History
    Format:
    Hardback
    Summary:
    I was pleasantly surprised by the book's contents after reading the dust cover. I expected a formulaic list of the actions during the blockade of Brest between the dates 1793 until 1815. Instead we are entertained to not only the actions, but the reasoning of the Admiralty over many years leading up to the period in question.
    The machinations by various factions both in the Commons and Lords, and their attempted manipulation of the Sea lords and the Admirals placed under them.
    We also get potted biographies of the main Commanders, and their Captains plus the friction arising amongst them. Then we also see how the arrangement of ships and squadrons fitted into the British and French Grand Strategy.
    All in all a very enlightening and strangely entertaining book packed with excerpts from personal letters and official correspondence.
    Probably not a book for a new comer to the period, but I would certainly recommend it to the serious gamer.

    Rob.

  2. #2
    Able Seaman
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    Rob,

    I actually just finished reading this myself a few weeks ago. Agree with your review, very interesting and insightful read. I woul have appreciated a little more detail in the last chapter that dealt.withthe logistics of victualling ships on the blockade, but surethere are more resources for that. I felt that some chapters may have focused too much on a single source (at least in his citations), but in it's entirety a great book that brings together many sources in a coherent narrative.

    Regards,
    James

  3. #3
    Admiral of the Fleet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimBlkHwk View Post
    Rob,

    I woul have appreciated a little more detail in the last chapter that dealt.with the logistics of victualling ships on the blockade, but sure there are more resources for that. I felt that some chapters may have focused too much on a single source (at least in his citations),
    Regards,
    James
    Hi James.
    I agree entirely with your critique. I did not mention the victualling because my interests were mainly in the cut and thrust of the protagonists both French and between our commanders and their compatriots both in the fleet and at the Admiralty. His sources were a bit lean in some areas and this could be examined from other angles too if we had the time to do it. I'm afraid that at my age time is not a resource of which I have a lot remaining. I will have to pass on that one, but well flagged up sir. Your criticism is a much valid addition to my review.
    Thanks.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  4. #4
    Able Seaman
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    Rob,

    Agreed again. I would certainly recommend this book, just being more nitpicky than anything. As you said, I think the author sets up a lot of topics well that could be explored more in depth. He does a nice job of describing various debates, such as distant versus close blockade, Howe's intentions prior to the Glorious First of June, and Calder's Action in the run-up to Trafalgar, that one could dig into. Also interesting framing these events within the larger strategic issues of the war.

    Best,
    James

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