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Naval Books

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04 Feb 2014 18:55 - 04 Feb 2014 18:59 #171298 by KingPut
Naval Books was created by KingPut
I just finished a Ship of the Line by C,S, Forester published 1938. This is a fantastic book which tells the tales of the fictional British Naval Captain Horatio Hornblowerand takes place during the French Revolution. As with most history fiction there's probably enough accuracy to make the story plausible but enough fiction to make the story fun and enjoyable. The main difference between Ship of the Line and a historical story about a captain in the British navy during the French Revolution is the shear amount of adventures and encounters that Horatio Hornblower encounters. I know from my limited knowledge of naval history, that life aboard a British ship conducting blockade duty was mostly boring routine duty that wouldn't make a very good narrative for today's fast paced world.

It's been a number of years since I read a book in the Masters and Commander series by Patrick O'Brian but I think it might be a good to make a comparison between the Masters and Commander series and the Hornblower series. From what I remember Masters and Command, there was a lot time spend with Captain, Jack Aubrey conversations and dinners with physician Stephen Maturin. There was also more time spent on the more routine aspects of naval life. Captain, Horatio Hornblower dislikes social encounters of all types. He even avoids having social encounters with his officers and other captains. What replaces conversation in Ship of the Line is the internal mental conversation Hornblower has in his own head. The result is both fascinating and humorous. Hornblower is a complex guy that is constantly balancing out the formality of being a proper British Captain, the ambition and confidence and fear, loathing and self-doubt of Captain on the rise during the French Revolution. The other difference is that Ship of the Line is packed full of action. Forester completely leaves out most of the boring routine of sea travel. I'm a big fan of 18th and 19th century history so it's understandable that I would like this book but for the Science Fiction fans out there one should consider that Gene Roddenberry was influenced by the Hornblower character while creating the Star Trek characters James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard.

I'm sure there's a few other people out there who have read naval books like Ship of the Line so please chime in. After reading Ship of the Line, I'm probably going read Flying Colours or Happy Return (Beat to Quarters).
Last edit: 04 Feb 2014 18:59 by KingPut.
The following user(s) said Thank You: iguanaDitty, Sagrilarus

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04 Feb 2014 19:24 - 04 Feb 2014 19:28 #171300 by Black Barney
Replied by Black Barney on topic Re: Naval Books
probably just a coincidence but Horatio Hornblower was my favourite actor in Spartatuchus.

Anyway, I read a naval book recently but it was absolutely terrible. I don't know who they consulted but the targeting system, as one example, was total bullshit. The caliber of the shells in the armoury also seemed suspiciously off. I can't recall the author but this was the cover:



File Attachment:


hmmm…i seem to have forgotten how to post images :(
Last edit: 04 Feb 2014 19:28 by Black Barney.

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04 Feb 2014 19:34 #171302 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Re: Naval Books
About to start The War for All the Oceans (Adkins) with Sails of Glory likely in my near future.

S.

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05 Feb 2014 08:49 #171318 by the_jake_1973
Replied by the_jake_1973 on topic Re: Naval Books
I am an Age of Sail enthusiast and enjoy books set during that period or non-fiction of the same era.

Books to recommend:
The Armada by Garrett Mattingly
Every Man Will Do His Duty: An Anthology of Firsthand Accounts from the Age of Nelson by Dean King
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly
The rest of the Hornblower series.
The Master and Commander series.
The Alan Lewrie series by Dewey Lambdin

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05 Feb 2014 11:13 #171325 by Joebot
Replied by Joebot on topic Re: Naval Books
I love the Patrick O'Brian books (haven't read the Hornblower books). I'm actually about half-way through #9 in the series ("Treason's Harbor") right now. O'Brian has such a sly sense of humor, especially in regards to Jack and his sometimes boorish behavior.

O'Brian's naval jargon is initially dense and off-putting, but you just have to muscle your way through it. Eventually you absorb enough of the terminology. And most of the time, you don't really NEED to know the details of every rope, sail, and mast. I was explaining this to my wife -- it's like watching an old episode of "E.R." I don't know what a "chem 7" is, or why the doctor is ordering that particular test. But it also doesn't really matter. What matters is the tension and the conflict, and how the characters are reacting to it.

I may not know what a "studdingsail" is or a "toy royal gallant," but who cares? I understand that the Frenchies are coming, and Captain Aubrey's gonna throw down some shit. That's all I really need to know. The rest is just background color and world-building.

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05 Feb 2014 15:50 #171347 by repoman
Replied by repoman on topic Re: Naval Books
I read all or almost all of the Patrick O'Brian books. I enjoyed them a great deal which I suppose goes without saying because I read the whole series. But, having read them perhaps 10 or more years ago, nothing really stands out in my mind. I mean, I know Aubrey plays a violin, I know his doctor/best friend is a secret agent but the specific plots or stories of any particular book I cannot recall. Good reading and good adventure but I wouldn't call them great.

A book about maritime life that has stuck with me since the day I read it long ago is Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Dana Jr and published in 1840. A well to do rich kid is bored and figures he'll join a merchant ship to "see the world". His experiences of life aboard ship over the next two years give you a good idea of what a sailor's life was really like. Anytime I start to think my job is "hard" I think of Mr. Dana and those sailors. Well worth the read even if it isn't military history.

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