Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

War at Sea in the Age of Sail Paperback – Aug 11 2005


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 44.75 CDN$ 5.58

Best Canadian Books of 2014
Margaret Atwood's stunning new collection of stories, Stone Mattress, is our #1 Canadian pick for 2014. See all

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought



Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Smithsonian Re (Aug. 11 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060838558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060838553
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 13.1 x 1.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,263,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Booklist

Every library requires a basic source on sailing ship warfare, a need solidly met by Lambert's profusely illustrated survey of the two centuries of naval dominance, ending about 1850, by the triple-masted, multidecked, heavily gunned ship of the line. Lambert, a naval historian in Britain, efficiently economizes his text, wasting few words to narrate the geopolitical framework for the expensive construction and maintenance of fleets, of strategies for their operation, and, ultimately, of their tactics in battle. Making the important point that few battles between the days of de Ruyter and those of Nelson were decisive, Lambert impresses upon the reader the appreciation strategists reached that naval warfare was characterized by attrition, rarely by the cataclysmic victory a la Trafalgar. And so most naval operations were those of convoy, pursuit, blockade--things rather less exciting than the climax of broadsides in battle, the moment depicted in most of the dozens of paintings reproduced in Lambert's book. Twenty maps and perspective schematics of key battles support this able introduction to the warfare of wooden ships. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Every library requires a basic source on sailing ship warfare, a need solidly met by Lambert's profusely illustrated survey of the two centuries of naval dominance. Lambert efficiently economizes his text. Twenty maps and perspective schematics of battles support this able introduction."--"Booklist" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Wan on Sept. 2 2000
Format: Hardcover
The War at Sea in the Age of Sail is part of the Cassell History of Warfare series, edited by John Keegan. Andrew Lambert, an expert in English naval history during the age of sail, takes on the formidable task. The age of sail is defined for the purposes of this work as being from 1650, [the start of the First Anglo-Dutch war, notable in being nearly exclusively a naval affair and one which blockade and control of merchant shipping was crucial], to 1850, when steam propulsion and iron plating began to appear. It has as its major strengths an excellent survey of the anglo-dutch wars, the organization of the British and French navies (the major navies of the day), and the great naval struggles between first Bourbon France and later Napoleonic France and Great Britain. It is well illustrated and a very attractive book. It would be ideal gift for the military history buff or the C.S Forester Hornblower, or Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin fan.
The weaknesses of the work are as follows. It is quite Anglocentric and much attention is given to English commanders. Arguably this is because many of the dominant figures of the era were English: Hood, Rodney, Howe, Cornwallis, Jervis, and most of all Nelson. The book is beautiful but the battle plans and maps are not that useful. They use a mixture of illustrations and tactical plans which end up being neither revealing nor artistic. They sort of look like what a small child would draw of a battle! The one exception is a well laid out map showing Villeneuve's attempt at a breakout and Nelson's pursuit from the Mediterranean to the West Indies and back to Spain.
Because of the limited space (~210 pages) many details are skipped over - we are told that Nelson played an important role at the battle of Cape St.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
By A Customer on Sept. 30 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book starts off by defining the scope of the coverage and laying down the general tenets of sea warfare. It covers the period from the Anglo-Dutch Wars up to the emergence of the steamship era as this period involved rather large naval engagements. What is surprising is the lack of coverage on the Tudor and Elizabethan era (the Spanish armada and the numerous engagements between the Portuguese and the Dutch). Weren't the Portuguese the first preeminent seafaring nation in the age of sail?
Some engagments are presented but tactical details are lacking as this is a broad coverage. If so, why bother to explain basic ship handling in the introductory sections as these are tactical matters? In addition, the text seems to have been written in a hurry and some examples of naval engagements do not tie in with the accompanying maps.
This series of books is really quite appealing in general scope and presentation but the contents in each volume vary like crazy.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31 2001
Format: Hardcover
With so many other good books covering the glorious age of fighting sail, this work was perhaps bound to suffer by comparison. The pro-English bias reduces its rating further, however. Of all the frigate actions of the War of 1812, for example, the author treats in detail only the brief duel between the Shannon and the Chesapeake, for no better reason than because it was an English victory over an American ship. The author also repeats all the old English excuses for losing so many actions with the Americans, excuses which Teddy Roosevelt demolished one hundred years ago in his own naval history of the War of 1812. Not worth the money.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Interesting survey of a rich topic Sept. 2 2000
By J. Wan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The War at Sea in the Age of Sail is part of the Cassell History of Warfare series, edited by John Keegan. Andrew Lambert, an expert in English naval history during the age of sail, takes on the formidable task. The age of sail is defined for the purposes of this work as being from 1650, [the start of the First Anglo-Dutch war, notable in being nearly exclusively a naval affair and one which blockade and control of merchant shipping was crucial], to 1850, when steam propulsion and iron plating began to appear. It has as its major strengths an excellent survey of the anglo-dutch wars, the organization of the British and French navies (the major navies of the day), and the great naval struggles between first Bourbon France and later Napoleonic France and Great Britain. It is well illustrated and a very attractive book. It would be ideal gift for the military history buff or the C.S Forester Hornblower, or Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin fan.
The weaknesses of the work are as follows. It is quite Anglocentric and much attention is given to English commanders. Arguably this is because many of the dominant figures of the era were English: Hood, Rodney, Howe, Cornwallis, Jervis, and most of all Nelson. The book is beautiful but the battle plans and maps are not that useful. They use a mixture of illustrations and tactical plans which end up being neither revealing nor artistic. They sort of look like what a small child would draw of a battle! The one exception is a well laid out map showing Villeneuve's attempt at a breakout and Nelson's pursuit from the Mediterranean to the West Indies and back to Spain.
Because of the limited space (~210 pages) many details are skipped over - we are told that Nelson played an important role at the battle of Cape St. Vincent, but there is no actual battle plan or description. The construction of naval ships is discussed in detail at the beginning of the age, but then little mention is made of later developments, prior to the advent of steam and iron. Such improvements in diagonal cross bracing for example are not mentionned. For these greater details, however, an excellent bibliography is supplied.
In short, a beautiful book, which surveys the era of the fighting sail. It is a bit Anglocentric, but forgivably so. Maps could be improved. An excellent gift choice for the military history buff or naval fiction fan, but not for the hard core experts.
The rest of the series should be interesting, especiallyt the forthcoming War at Sea in the Iron Clad Age, and War at Sea: 1914-1945.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A very well written overview Aug. 7 2006
By Tim Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Mr. Lambert does a very fine job of outlining the history of maritime conflict between 1650 and 1850. Granted, given the size of the book (both dimensions and pages), Mr. Lambert only has time to provide quick overviews of each of the several eras he breaks his history into; he usually provides an introduction and then gives some specific examples to illustrate his point.

The book does mainly deal with the history of the Royal Navy but, for most of the period in question, the Royal Navy was the only navy of consequence. The French, Russian, Spanish and Dutch navies are also dealt with in the narrative.

The book is richly illustrated and the paper is of fine quality. It is a small book (5"x8") but the quality of illustrations and paper make up for the price. Mr. Lambert includes a very good section of further reading; it includes references to every one of the topics that he covers.

If you are looking for a short introduction of this subject for this time period, I don't think you can do any harm in buying and reading this book. It is well written, finely illustrated. Buy it!
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Good work Oct. 5 2004
By Jason Kleps - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
O.K., the author is British, he loves his country, and this is reflected in the text. I, too, felt the urge to sniff about this "England and St. George!" attitude.

Let's be honest, though, the Brits, after their rivalries with the Dutch had subsided, had the best navy in the world. The record clearly indicates that they were quite comfortable on a ship. No matter how much you want to 'balance' British dominance on the high seas with, say, the effectiveness of French privateering, or the U.S. victory on Lake Erie (a victory of which i am proud, since the lake is 25 miles away from my home), or the triumph of the U.S.S. Constitution over her British rival, the truth is that nobody could touch the British navy. So don't complain that the author merely recounts (with pride, and dare I say, glee) British triumphs while dismissing the successes of other navies because - let's be honest - from 1700-1900, there was the British Navy and then there was the rest of us ... and nobody could touch 'em.

Moral of the story:'Unbalanced' history is not necessarily incompatible with historical veracity.
A very good pictorial naval history Jan. 25 2010
By Michael K. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My father was an Iowa farm boy whose family moved to San Diego (more congenial winters) and though he became a career army officer, he developed a lifelong taste for sea stories. When I was in junior high, I discovered his shelf of Hornblower novels and worked my way straight through them. I didn't understand most of the jargon, of course, so I was often unsure exactly what was happening. That sparked my own interest in naval history, strategy, and battle tactics, which continues unabated. And I have a much better grasp these days of what's going on when O'Brian or Stockwin describes a maneuver. Books like this one are a lifesaver for fans of naval historicals, but few are so well organized and well written. (Cassell has been publishing a better-than-average series, "The Cassell History of Warfare," edited by John Keegan, and Lambert himself is Professor of Naval History at King's College, so it's reasonable to have high expectations of this volume.) Lambert begins by setting the stage -- the role of sea power in the development of an island nation, the use of deterrence and the extension of naval power onto land, the place of increased industrialization in designing and creating the physical navy. Then he lays out the theory and function of ship design -- the different sizes of vessel and details of their designs for very specific functions, the necessity of which landlubbers often are not even aware of. Then he embarks on a chronological exploration of the Golden Age of sail, from the Anglo-Dutch wars (naval power as a tool of international commercial rivalry), through the Seven Years War, the American War (as it's often known to the British), and the Napoleonic wars, to the advent of steam. The French navy had its day in the sun, as did Russia to a lesser degree (Peter the Great's Baltic fleet of Venetian-style galleys was an odd deviation from the general course of naval history), but Britain came to the fore with the beginnings of truly global conflicts in the early 18th century. And for most of the following century, Britannia really did rule the waves. In fact, some reviewers have carped on the Anglo-centrism of this book, but it seems justified by history. Lambert walks a well-judged line between academic and popular history; there are no footnotes, but he assumes intelligence and a certain amount of fundamental knowledge on the part of the reader. There's an abundance of illustrations, mostly of a useful size, including period paintings and engravings, detailed diagrams of key naval engagements (some of them a bit difficult to read because of over-colorization), and a few photos of surviving ships and equipment. A not terribly expensive, slightly oversized volume that any student of naval history or fan of Jack Aubrey should consider.
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing and Biased May 31 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
With so many other good books covering the glorious age of fighting sail, this work was perhaps bound to suffer by comparison. The pro-English bias reduces its rating further, however. Of all the frigate actions of the War of 1812, for example, the author treats in detail only the brief duel between the Shannon and the Chesapeake, for no better reason than because it was an English victory over an American ship. The author also repeats all the old English excuses for losing so many actions with the Americans, excuses which Teddy Roosevelt demolished one hundred years ago in his own naval history of the War of 1812. Not worth the money.

Look for similar items by category


Feedback