Life In Nelson's Navy
This is a well-researched and highly readable account of naval life, both ashore and at sea, from a respected and admired historian and writer of whom it was written: An author who really knows Nelsons navy (Ramages Prize - The Observer) and An expert knowledge of naval history (Ramage at Trafalgar - The Guardian). The author gives an account of the Admiralty and its workings, promotion systems, naval politics, press gangs and how fifty acres of oak trees had to be cleared to build one ship of the line. He stresses the harsh conditions of ordinary seamen, the almost totalitarian powers and responsibilities of commanding officers, punishments and the day to day tasks that had to be performed. Many pre-suppositions may be exposed by Dudley Popes researches and the reader will find the book both highly informative, but not in a dry way, and certainly pleasurable to read.
Author biography:Dudley Pope Dudley Bernard Egerton Pope was born in 1925 into an ancient Cornish seafaring family. He joined the Merchant Navy at the age of sixteen and spent much of his early life at sea. He was torpedoed during the Second World War and resulting spinal injuries plagued him for the rest of his life.
Towards the end of the war Pope turned to journalism, becoming the Naval and Defence Correspondent for the 'London Evening News'. At this time he also researched naval history and in time became an authority on the Napoleonic era and Nelson's exploits, resulting in several well received volumes, especially on the Battles of Copenhagen and Trafalgar.
Encouraged by Hornblower creator CS Forester, he also began writing fiction using his own experiences in the Navy and his extensive historical research as a basis. In 1965, he wrote 'Ramage', the first of his highly successful series of novels following the exploits of the heroic 'Lord Nicholas Ramage' during the Napoleonic Wars. Another renowned series is centred on 'Ned Yorke', a buccaneer in the seventeenth century Caribbean and then with a descendant following the 'Yorke' family naval tradition when involved in realistic secret operations during the Second World War.
Dudley Pope lived aboard boats whenever possible, along with his wife and daughter, and this was where he wrote the majority of his novels. Most of his adult life was spent in the Caribbean and in addition to using the locale for fictional settings he also wrote authoritatively on naval history of the region, including a biography of the buccaneer Sir Henry Morgan. He died in 1997 aged seventy one.
'The first and still favourite rival to Hornblower' - Daily Mirror