Review: ‘Syracuse 415–413 BC’, Nic Fields

Syracuse 415–413 BC: Destruction of the Athenian Imperial FleetSyracuse 415–413 BC: Destruction of the Athenian Imperial Fleet by Nic Fields
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the narrative here though I wish that Osprey standardised their anglicisation of Hellenic names from title to title. This book, however, provided fresh perspective on an angle of the Peloponnesian War and was quite informative throughout with plentiful quotes and commentary from primary sources. Continue reading “Review: ‘Syracuse 415–413 BC’, Nic Fields”

Review: ‘Ancient Greek Warship: 500–322 BC’, Nic Fields

Ancient Greek Warship: 500–322 BC
Ancient Greek Warship: 500–322 BC by Nic Fields
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While I find this a good introduction to Athenian ships, I find the book does a less good work on actually fulfilling its promise on discussing “Greek” ships. Overall, the ships’ military performance is not very well assessed with Corinth and Corcyra not mentioned except in a few short paragraphs. However, speaking historiographically, some other conclusions Mr Fields made sound more like conjecture than actual science, and I feel that quite a few other books are a better look at Athenian triremes (which is invariably the city and ship this book focusses on) and at least do not pretend to deal with other topics. Continue reading “Review: ‘Ancient Greek Warship: 500–322 BC’, Nic Fields”

Opinion: On the Prevalence of Nelson

Nelson. He always comes up as the first name, and I don’t think he should. Now, let me say that I am a great admirer of Nelson for the victories he won and for the mindset he carried on (of decisive close combat). ‘Nelson’s Patent Bridge for Boarding First Rates’ is a definitive example of a brilliant mind that adapted to situations in a quick and comprehensive manner. Victories at the Nile, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar are similarly choreographed — any naval lord would have been happy to win them. But it was not anyone who did — it was Horatio Nelson. Continue reading “Opinion: On the Prevalence of Nelson”

‘The Glorious First of June’, Sam Willis

Sam Willis is a naval historian and when I saw his book by the title ‘The Glorious First of June’ in the Waterstones in Sunderland, I felt that I wanted to buy the book. I felt that I wanted to read the book. For what is the Glorious First of June? I knew that it had been a decisive fleet encounter in the Napoleonic Wars, with the Royal Navy led into combat under the indomitable Lord Richard Howe. I did not know much of the French dispositions or men, but I had seen a short overview of the encounter in one of Mr Mahan’s books (‘Types of Naval Officers…’) where he had portrayed Richard Howe. Continue reading “‘The Glorious First of June’, Sam Willis”

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