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A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian Paperback – Oct 1 2000
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“To any disoriented lubber who needs to take a quick bearing on Aubrey's world of staysails and sternposts, it will be a useful compass.” ―The Economist
“Dean King's lexicon will charm cultists.” ―The Philadelphia Inquirer
“An outstandingly useful passkey to the wooden world of Britain's Royal Navy in the great age of sail.” ―Sea History
“A gem of a book.” ―Minneapolis Star Tribune
About the Author
John B. Hattenborf is a professor of maritime history at the United States Naval War College. J. Worth Estes, Ph.D., is a professor of pharmacology at Boston University and a specialist in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century maritime medicine.
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Top Customer Reviews
I've had this book at my elbow constantly since HMS Surprise (3rd in the series). You'll wonder how you ever got along without it!
O'Brian's vast vocabulary and vast knowledge of seagoing nomenclature as well as late 18th and early 19th century social mores is impressive. This book allows one to appreciate the level of scholarship applied by O'Brian. However, this is much more than a simple glossary. It includes short biographies of leading personages of the day, histories of important battles, diagrams of ships and rigging and geographical references.
While one can probably get along without this book; assuming one has access to a good dictionary, encyclopedia and other reference books, this tome certainly eases the task.
If you ever find yourself in the privilaged position of being able to recommend Patrick O'Brian's magnificant novels to anyone who is so benighted as to have not yet heard of them, don't leave them in the lurch - funish them with a copy of this most excellent tome, to help them on their way! After all, you will remember the number of times you felt compelled to run to your meagre collection of reference sources to find out what O'Brian writes about with such unswerving authority. Even if you cannot gain from it youself, you know that this is _the_ book to have.
I cannot write too highly of it (and I am an able to write too highly of many things when the spirit takes me :). But, To give a copy of "Master and Commander" to a new initiate of Mr O'Brian without also furishing them with a copy of this book is, quite frankly, to condemn your fellow potential Aubreyites to the same fate as yourself - Heck, even I didn't know what a Dutch Galliot looked like until I bought this book!
Not only does it translate obscure Naval terms, it also explains obsolete Georgian phraseology; describes major naval battles; eminent naval personalities & statesmen; Latin & French phrases common during the period; explanations of classical references; medical & natural history terminology - in short, all that you need as a companion to naval literature.
I got this book after reading all the Aubrey/Maturin series - if only I'd had this at the time, I could have saved myself hours of searching through multiple reference books.
A MUST for all naval history buffs.
Most recent customer reviews
Wow, all I can say is wow. One of the finest glossaries of nautical and late 18th-early 19th century social terms that I have ever come across. Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2006 by Travis Weir
When I started to read "Master and Commander", I was completely lost in the "sea of words", the nautical vocabulary. Read morePublished on June 12 2004 by Leslie A. Harris
A good book to have along for the ride, when all those never-seen-before terms come up. And that doesn't include just the marine ones. Read morePublished on May 11 2004 by Amazon Customer
I'd actually read all of the books before finding this gem, and now I can look forward to enjoying the O'Brian books all over again. Read morePublished on Jan. 1 2004 by Amazon Customer
For someone starting out in the Aubrey/Maturin (or any other sea stories, for that matter), this is an excellent companion. Read morePublished on Nov. 9 2003 by Michael
The reason for that review title is to alleviate the inevitable brain hemorrage that will result if you attempt to read Patrick O'brian's novels without a thorough 18th Century... Read morePublished on Dec 8 2002 by D. A Butler
I found the book, which does not appear to have been authorized or endorsed by O'Brian or his publishers, to be generally terrific, highly readable, and a way to help quench the... Read morePublished on Aug. 16 2002 by Frank Catalina
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