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As France emerged from revolution, a young general named Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt, hoping next to march overland to India. It would not happen. Britain swung her forces into action to battle for control of the world's sea-lanes and thus all international trade. The Battle of the Nile and then at Acre were the first sallies in what would be fifteen years of bitter fighting. It was a war won at sea, and by the time of Waterloo Britain had gained control and possessed the foundations of her vast empire. Brought vividly to life through the words and stories of the ordinary people caught up in the conflict, this is a sweeping history of the years of naval warfare that set the balance of power in Europe for the following century. Taking in gallant duels, bloody battles between huge fleets, amphibious assaults, daring coastal raids, and the subtleties of espionage and naval intelligence, this global conflict truly was THE WAR FOR ALL THE OCEANS.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780349119168
ISBN-10: 0349119163
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 127mm x 36mm)
Pages: 560
Imprint: Abacus
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 2-Aug-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Sumptuous storytelling recreates the first worldwide war.Known as "The Great War" until World War I, the Napoleonic Wars embroiled Britain and other nations in conflict with France for a decade (1804 - 15), as Napoleon Bonaparte sought to create an empire in Europe. In this vivid history, husband-and-wife historians Roy (Nelson's Trafalgar, 2005) and Lesley (Empires of the Plain, 2004) take us from the audacious, supposedly invincible Napoleon's disastrous effort to conquer Egypt to his complete military defeat at Waterloo and England's rise as supreme naval power. Besides recounting major sea battles (involving Spain, Denmark, Russia, Turkey and other nations), the authors illuminate aspects of life at war and on the home fronts, quoting from diaries, letters and journals. We see Britain wild over Horatio Nelson after his defeat of the French at Trafalgar ("Joy, joy, joy to you, brave, gallant, immortalized Nelson!" wrote Countess Spencer in London); sailors suffering from lack of food and water and the scourges of smallpox and yellow fever; the brutal recruiting (impressments) of seamen to build the British navy; and the imprisonment of more than 100,000 captured Frenchmen in cramped British hulks that became tourist attractions. In that low-tech era, information about the enemy was hard to come by, communication difficult (even within one's own fleet) and hysteria rampant: Many British wondered whether the relentless Napoleon (seen only in drawings) was a creature from hell. American inventor Robert Fulton figures in the story, working for the British under the code name "Mr. Francis" to devise torpedo bombs used against anchored French ships. While charting the bitter rivalry between Britain and France, the Adkins also show how British trade restrictions plunged the young United States into the War of 1812, which destroyed Washington, D.C., but ranked as a mere sideshow for England.This real-life action will delight fans of fictional heroes from the same war - Horatio Hornblower (C.S. Forester) and Richard Sharpe (Bernard Cornwell). (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Roy A. Adkins

Roy and Lesley Adkins are archaeologists and writers. They are members of the Institute of Field Archaeologists and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and run their own independent archaeological consultancy. They have both written several books.

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