In Nelson's Wake

The Navy and the Napoleonic Wars

James Davey

View Inside Price: $18.00


October 24, 2017
440 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
42 color illus. + maps
ISBN: 9780300228830
Paper

Also Available in:
Cloth

Battles, blockades, convoys, raids: how the indefatigable British Royal Navy ensured Napoleon’s ultimate defeat

Horatio Nelson’s celebrated victory over the French at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 presented Britain with an unprecedented command of the seas. Yet the Royal Navy’s role in the struggle against Napoleonic France was far from over. This groundbreaking book asserts that, contrary to the accepted notion that the Battle of Trafalgar essentially completed the Navy’s task, the war at sea actually intensified over the next decade, ceasing only with Napoleon’s final surrender.
 
In this dramatic account of naval contributions between 1803 and 1815, James Davey offers original and exciting insights into the Napoleonic wars and Britain’s maritime history. Encompassing Trafalgar, the Peninsular War, the War of 1812, the final campaign against Napoleon, and many lesser known but likewise crucial moments, the book sheds light on the experiences of individuals high and low, from admiral and captain to sailor and cabin boy. The cast of characters also includes others from across Britain—dockyard workers, politicians, civilians—who made fundamental contributions to the war effort, and in so doing, both saved the nation and shaped Britain’s history.

James Davey is curator of naval history at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. He lives in Greenwich, London.

"For all the tragic glory of Trafalgar it would take another ten years before Napoleon was finally defeated, years in which Nelson's successors waged a world wide war against France, Spain, the Ottoman Empire, Russia and the United States. James Davey's elegant analysis demonstrates the importance of the Royal Navy's last great war under sail, the skill with which it was fought, and the quintessential character that made the British sailor into a national hero."—Andrew Lambert, author of The Challenge: Britain Against America in the Naval War of 1812

"This important book fills a deep void. For well over a hundred years no-one has written a comprehensive naval history of Britain in the ten years after Trafalgar. In Nelson's Wake, however, is much more than an operational narrative, for it is set in a rich context of British strategy and politics, resources and organisation, revealed through mature and thorough scholarship. It is essential reading for all who wish to understand the hard-fought victory over Napoleonic France."—Roger Knight, author of Britain Again Napoleon: The Organisation of Victory, 1793–1815 

"For all the tragic glory of Trafalgar it would take another ten years before Napoleon was finally defeated. James Davey's elegant analysis demonstrates the importance of the Royal Navy's last great war under sail, the skill with which it was fought, and the quintessential character that made the British sailor into a national hero."—Andrew Lambert, author of The Challenge: Britain Against America in the Naval War of 1812

“Students of maritime will surely profit from reading this impressive book. For those coming fresh to the period, a timeline summarizes important events… Davey’s deep knowledge of the secondary literature, and great familiarity with a wide range of primary sources, both printed and in manuscript, is put to good use. His arguments open up new perspectives on the navy and its role as an offensive force in a war fought mainly on land.“—Stephen Conway, International Journal of Military History

“Davey must be commended for his work, which will hopefully encourage further academic study into the conduct of naval warfare after 1805.”—J. Ross Dancy, H-Net Reviews