This is a particularly interesting book because it covers the core period of British Empire. Trafalgar had underlined the dominance of the Royal Navy established earlier during the Seven Years War with France. It also marked the dash for Empire.
NAME: Able Seamen, The Lower Deck of the Royal navy 1850-1939
CLASSIFICATION: Book reviews
AUTHOR: Brian Lavery
BINDING: Hard back
SUBJECT: RN, Royal Navy, training, organization, 1850-1939
DESCRIPTION: This is a particularly interesting book because it covers the core period of British Empire. Trafalgar had underlined the dominance of the Royal Navy established earlier during the Seven Years War with France. It also marked the dash for Empire. By the end of the Nineteenth Century, the British Empire covered the world map with vast tracts of red and contained more than a quarter of the entire world population, some claiming that the height of Empire saw almost half the world population within its compass. The Royal Navy was vital to maintaining the lines of communications for what was an oceanic empire. The Royal Navy maintained a huge fleet of vessels from battleships to riverine craft and required a large body of seamen. The real end of the Empire was the withdrawal from the Gold Standard, finished off by US desires to become the premier world power, taking advantage of the weakening effects of two World Wars when British gold had travelled from the Bank of England to the US coffers to buy war materials while the US sat on the sidelines until victory was assured. The last glorious throw of Empire was to come in 1939 when it stood for freedom and democracy against the national socialists of Germany and Russia. With the author having written an excellent book covering the RN training programme of 1939-1945, this book covering the period 1850-1939 provides a complementary history spanning the development from a wooden sailing navy to a steel steam-powered navy, with the addition of naval aviation and submarines. There is illustration through the body of the book, including some full colour images. The research is thorough and the presentation engaging and readable. An important study that will grace the libraries of naval enthusiasts around the world and an important insight in a world now gone forever.