From the Middle Ages through the glorious defeat of the Armada, the triumphs of Nelson and the battles of the First and Second World Wars, this entertaining history describes how the Royal Navy turned this country into the world's foremost sea power. Based on never-before-published material from the archives of the National Maritime Museum, including letters, journals and despatches, we see life in the navy as it was experienced by commanders and ordinary seamen alike.
More than just a story of battles, this book shows how changes in technology were key to the development of the navy's power, from broadside gunnery to copper-sheathed hulls, from paddle-steamers and iron Dreadnoughts to the invention of submarines and aircraft carriers. We see how the navy played a key role in exploration, from Drake's circumnavigation of the globe and Cook's voyages of discovery to Fraser's search for the North-west Passage. Filled with colourful characters - the infamous Captain Kidd, Captain Bligh, Samuel Pepys and Jackie Fisher, Blake, Beatty and Jellicoe - this is an exciting account of heroes and villains, innovators and adventurers, battles lost and won that vividly illustrates one of the most fascinating stories in British military history.