!!> Read ➳ The Safeguard of the Sea: A Naval History of Britain, 660-1649 ➶ Author Nicholas A.M. Rodger – Writerscompany.co.uk


The Safeguard of the Sea: A Naval History of Britain, 660-1649 This is a fantastic piece of history I ll spare you the bad nautical jokes, but Rodger does a great job of demolishing a number of myths about the Britain and how it was shaped by the sea One might say they run aground on shoals of his erudition I lied It s not a book for everyone, but if you enjoy reading about victualing, norse ship names, and Tudor ship painting practices, than there s certainly no better book than this Rodger is fantastically learned, and the book ably shows how Britis This is a fantastic piece of history I ll spare you the bad nautical jokes, but Rodger does a great job of demolishing a number of myths about the Britain and how it was shaped by the sea One might say they run aground on shoals of his erudition I lied It s not a book for everyone, but if you enjoy reading about victualing, norse ship names, and Tudor ship painting practices, than there s certainly no better book than this Rodger is fantastically learned, and the book ably shows how British social, economic and political history was effected by the fortunes of its navy I ve read this book at least 4 times and I ve learned something new and fascinating every time The only problem is that Rodger ends his book on a cliffhanger, with the Royal Navy being driven from England by the parliamentarians, and I had to wait 8 years for the publication of Command of the Ocean to find out what happened next This is a great scholarly reference book for one of my research projects, but it is not for casual reading It s dense and detailed in its examination of the naval history of Britain from 660 to 1649, including operational, administrative, and social aspects A key theme of this book is the slow process by which the peopled of the British Isles learnt, relearnt, or did not learn at all how to use the sea for their own defense And this process for learning to use the sea was not a matter of g This is a great scholarly reference book for one of my research projects, but it is not for casual reading It s dense and detailed in its examination of the naval history of Britain from 660 to 1649, including operational, administrative, and social aspects A key theme of this book is the slow process by which the peopled of the British Isles learnt, relearnt, or did not learn at all how to use the sea for their own defense And this process for learning to use the sea was not a matter of growing understanding It was above all a process of growing capability The book was surprising to me because I hadn t realized how little of a navy they had for much of their history For much of the time, ships were just borrowed from the often merchant owners If they were damaged or destroyed in a battle, there was generally no compensation from the crown There often weren t trained personel just impressed persons and gentlemen to lead The book didn t thrill me since there was unsurprisingly too much detail about ship building, maintenance, etc That The book was surprising to me because I hadn t realized how little of a navy they had for much of their history For much of the time, ships were just borrowed from the often merchant owners If they were damaged or destroyed in a battle, there was generally no compensation from the crown There often weren t trained personel just impressed persons and gentlemen to lead The book didn t thrill me since there was unsurprisingly too much detail about ship building, maintenance, etc That was my flaw though, not the book s This is a magisterial work of naval history part of a two volume set The book begins with medieval England and ends with the English Civil War Rodger covers technological innovation, how the navy was raised, and places naval engagement in wider historical context In later chapters, the book addresses given periods in separate chapters on social history, administration, and operational history The structure allows the reader to get a coherent picture of not only the Navy Royal but also the l This is a magisterial work of naval history part of a two volume set The book begins with medieval England and ends with the English Civil War Rodger covers technological innovation, how the navy was raised, and places naval engagement in wider historical context In later chapters, the book addresses given periods in separate chapters on social history, administration, and operational history The structure allows the reader to get a coherent picture of not only the Navy Royal but also the life of the sailor The author focuses a lot of energy on administration, because it was a major source of power beginning with Henry VIII The Island nation was able to out organize itspowerful continental rivals Exhaustive At least, from when proper records start to show up The early centuries are, for obvious reasons, quite light on detail andof a broad brush summary of a big canvass. Another academic paper pusher giving the World something relevant in exchange for a better tax payer sponsored pension plan In this case, Rodger has gone through the pains of interviewing both sailors and officers from the 700s and their service So, in this case, Rodger brings never seen before information about something others have already pushed dull papers. Throughout The Chronicle Of Britain S History, One Factor Above All Others Has Determined The Fate Of Kings, The Security Of Trade, And The Integrity Of The Realm Without Its Navy, Britain Would Have Been A Weakling Among The Nations Of Europe, Could Never Have Built Or Maintained The Empire, And In All Likelihood Would Have Been Overrun By The Armies Of Napoleon And Hitler Now, For The First Time In Nearly A Century, A Prominent Naval Historian Has Undertaken A Comprehensive Account Of The History And Traditions Of This Most Essential Institution N A M Rodger Has Produced A Superb Work, Combining Scholarship With Narrative, That Demonstrates How The Political And Social History Of Britain Has Been Inextricably Intertwined With The Strength Or Weakness Of Her Seapower From The Early Military Campaigns Against The Vikings To The Defeat Of The Great Spanish Armada In The Reign Of Elizabeth I, This Volume Touches On Some Of The Most Colorful Characters In British History It Also Provides Fascinating Details On Naval Construction, Logistics, Health, Diet, And Weaponry A Splendid Book It Combines Impressively Detailed Research With Breadth Of Perception Rodger Has Prepared An Admirable Historical Record That Will Be Read And Reread In The Years Ahead Times London Superbly researched and densely detailed history of military use of naval vessels from the days of Alfred the Great up to the execution of Charles I As Rodger points out, it is not really a history of the British Navy as we understand that term Until the last half century covered by this book, there is no such thing The navy consisted of privateers, commandeered merchant vessels, etc.The first half the text which totals only 434 pages, the other two hundred pages consisting of appendices wi Superbly researched and densely detailed history of military use of naval vessels from the days of Alfred the Great up to the execution of Charles I As Rodger points out, it is not really a history of the British Navy as we understand that term Until the last half century covered by this book, there is no such thing The navy consisted of privateers, commandeered merchant vessels, etc.The first half the text which totals only 434 pages, the other two hundred pages consisting of appendices with lists of when ships were built, commanders, naval terms, and notes , covering up to the Tudor era is fairly dry and academic There is little else that can be done with this part of the history we simply don t have the details for Rodgers to be able tell tales of sea battles, commanders, and incidents at sea But once Rodgers gets to the Henry VII and primary source materials include these details, while never losing sight of the goal of a serious academic history, he starts telling a tale worthy of any adventure story The stories of Drake, Hawkins, and the characters on the Navy Board were great reading and set up the other parts of the book on other aspects of war at sea.Rodger rights his book as a series of chapters on these different aspects over specific periods of time Thus he gives us chapters on the different types of Ships 1066 1455, Operations 1266 1336, Administration 1216 1420, and Social History 1204 1455, the latter discussing where both the commanders and the sailors came from All of these subjects are essential to understanding how what would become the Royal Navy came to be.My only real criticism is that while the book contains a fair number of black and white plates mostly showing images of vessels as they were represented in their own times there is not much to show what the ships really looked like in any kind of proportional representation I ve build model ships, been to several naval museums with lots of models etc so have a good notion of what ships of the 18th century and later were like but could not get any real sense of what the ships, galleys etc of medieval England that Rodgers talks about were really like or even how big they were There is one half page set of silhouettes comparing four ships from the 15th 17th Centuries with the Victory which one can see in Portsmouth But this a small portion of the subject matter of the book and the comparison is limited to the largest of the ships from this era Henry Grace a Dieu 1514 , Sovereign of the Seas 1637 , Wasa 1628 , Grace Dieu 1418 There is nothing depicting the smaller vessels to any kind of scale and for most of the period of this book, these smaller vessels were what English Naval History was all about.Still this is a small quibble and I enjoyed this enormously, recommending it highly to anyone interested in English history specifically English, not British or European the naval forces of Scotland, Ireland, and the continent are mentioned only insofar as necessary to understand what is going on the English generally or naval history of any kind particularly in the age of sail A bitin depth than my usual history reading First of three volumes on the British navy, including technology, social settings and administrative framework as well as actual naval operations and each period is broken down into chapters focusing on the above.I could imagine the book being five stars for a genuine history fanatic But since the topic is the British navy only, this means that the casual reader ie, me gets a relatively large amount of detail on operations that are impor A bitin depth than my usual history reading First of three volumes on the British navy, including technology, social settings and administrative framework as well as actual naval operations and each period is broken down into chapters focusing on the above.I could imagine the book being five stars for a genuine history fanatic But since the topic is the British navy only, this means that the casual reader ie, me gets a relatively large amount of detail on operations that are important only to naval history, and not directly significant to the larger picture while the overall background of the war or reign is often brief Makes sense, and I usually knew enough to keep up, but I was straining my memory at times.Some random notes The best use of naval maneuvers prior through the middle ages was really as a sort of cavalry you could maneuver armies from point to point in ways that a land based army couldn t keep up with, and chances of interception or even a warning reaching your target were minimal Hence the success of the Vikings as raiders With a couple exceptions, English kings were utterly incompetent as naval strategists from 1066 to Elizabeth The best they did was realize ships could provide logistical support, but they constantly did idiotic things like landing troops in distant Aquitaine to fight the French, instead of threatening all of Normandy by landing at will Rodger s criticism of Edward I s castle building policy in Wales is so passionate it s phenomenally entertaining By 1588, the English navy had advanced so far that the Spanish battle plan for the Armada was quite literally to pray for a miracle They knew the English were better, and expected to be slaughtered unless God gave them being good Catholics and all a sudden change in the weather at the perfect time to let them close with the English ships It didn t happen, of course This is a fabulous read Rodger is an authoritative guide to the issues shaping the prehistory of the British navy and our commitment to becoming a naval power His title it surely ironic, since he comprehensively destroys the image of Britain as an island fortress In reality, as Rodgers catalogues, frequent raids and attempted invasions made our coasts a perpetual danger not a defence Naval power took a long time to emerge Medieval naval warfare was ineffectual Building a navy required hu This is a fabulous read Rodger is an authoritative guide to the issues shaping the prehistory of the British navy and our commitment to becoming a naval power His title it surely ironic, since he comprehensively destroys the image of Britain as an island fortress In reality, as Rodgers catalogues, frequent raids and attempted invasions made our coasts a perpetual danger not a defence Naval power took a long time to emerge Medieval naval warfare was ineffectual Building a navy required huge long term investment, financial, technical, human and institutional For sheer difficulty it was on a par with the modern space race Britain was slow to commit to this investment But our weakness exposed us to the danger of becoming the plaything of hostile neighbours We were also lagging well behind the Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch overseas empires Thus during Elizabethan times there emerged for the first time a serious national vision of maritime expansion, thanks to a strong alliance between members of the political elite and ambitious merchant adventurers This was the moment of naval and imperial take off We learned from our enemies and rivals often via immigrants The naval investment was made The national vision was embedded The rest, literally, is history Like Linda Colley, Rodger explores the paradox that Britain s rise to greatness was rooted in national weakness Post empire, still floundering, still lacking a role, it is a lesson we need to relearn


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About the Author: Nicholas A.M. Rodger

Nicholas Andrew Martin Rodger, FBA, is a historian of the British Royal Navy and Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.