Naval History

17.07.2017
18TH CENTURY SHIPBUILDING — REMARKS ON THE NAVIES OF THE ENGLISH AND THE DUTCH

This is an excellent and even outstanding book - real classics and a real boon for the enthusiasts of the naval history. The volume was intended to provide readers with the finely detailed analysis of the ship construction technologies of three of Europe's foremost maritime powers ever written. The book by Blaire Olivier and David Roberts contains very useful info on French, English and Dutch shipbuilding industries.

Apart from the main content with the general technical information on the subject, this publication includes a very useful Glossary of the terminology that is commonly used in the shipbuilding - it contains some ten percent of the second Ollivier manuscript, but actually presents numerous terms of the ship construction technology listed in alphabetical order; note that it does not address any of the foreign practices; on the other hand, it will provide readers with a huge amount of detailed information covering the French Navy.

In short, this is another must-have publication expected to be very useful and of course interesting for all readers. The text is very easy to read, and the author has supplemented it with almost hundred of the carefully selected colorful and informative illustrations and thirteen plates. We would really recommend this title to the historians and even to the general readers. 

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16.07.2017
DUTCH SHIPS IN TROPICAL WATERS: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE DUTCH EAST INDIA COMPANY SHIPPING NETWORK IN ASIA 1595—1660

During the last years of the XVI century, the Dutch East-India Company became a very strong economic and political force in Asian region to become a world-leading private company by mid-seventeenth century. Robert Parthesius, professional archaeologist and marine historian, who is the author of present definitive publication has explored one of the most important instruments in the trade of the company, namely its vessels.

He has performed a complete reconstruction of the shipping activities conducted by the subject company using a truly unique database charting all movements of even smaller ships that used to be ignored in the past. The publication demonstrates that the broad range of sizes and types of ships were in fact what did give the above mentioned Company its ability to sail and continue to trade in a profitable manner for years; the book also combines the best of the naval history and relevant maritime archaeological researches to change people's understanding of the dynamics behind maybe the most successful and critically important businesses of that period.

A perfect monograph prepared to present the case of how exactly the VOC developed its network in Far East region. A very useful title covering all aspects of subject development.

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16.07.2017
DICTIONARY OF DISASTERS AT SEA DURING THE AGE OF STEAM

A very useful and actually must-have dictionary for any naval history enthusiast. The content of the dictionary has been laid out in the encyclopedic manner, and the ships have been covered in the alphabetical order. Note that the dictionary does not contain any ship drawings or photographic images, this book is rather intended to provide naval historian as well as other interested people with clear facts about the vessels covered in it.

Each of the entries in the book starts with a resume of the important technical details about the ship followed with a brief information related to the loss of the subject ship. In some of the cases, this narrative has been limited to few lines that comprise all available information. However, in case of the more famous vessels these narrative portions may run even to several pages. Taking into account that the present volume was initially published by Lloyd's of London, the vessels that have been listed in the book are mainly those insured by Lloyd's.

That is the reason why the book does not include some of the famous vessels - they were either insured with some another agency or simply not insured at all. Though some readers might find this fact a bit confusing, it shall be noted that it is next to impossible to cover literally all vessels lost throughout the naval history in a single volume of any size.

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15.07.2017
CALIFORNIA MARITIME ARCHAEOLOGY

This thorough and very important study is offering completely new perspectives on the marine hunter-gatherers on the basis of the information and data collected during several decades of the cutting-edge researches conducted in southern California region.

The list of issues covered within this publication includes such the important ones as early seafaring, human-environmental interactions, colonial encounters and others. This truly provocative volume is intended to energize the healthy debates about the maritime societies in the above mentioned region. This work is addressing many critical issues in the recently conducted studies, including maritime intensification. The authors of this book have also tried to demonstrate that the original colonization of the San Clemente Island took place much earlier than anyone thought.

In short and according to the numerous review by the professionals and enthusiasts who have already tried this book, it offers readers an excellent and thoroughly compiled synthesis which brilliantly summarizes many years of intensive research in this field and placing San Clemente Island in a very heart of the ongoing debates about the problems of peopling of Americas, as well as the nature and antiquity of the marine adaptations, cultural complexity and other important aspects.

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15.07.2017
BRITISH & AMERICAN CLIPPERS

Throughout the whole history of maritime enterprise and achievement, few ships have ever excited so much interest as the clippers, even though they existed for quite short historical period. In both the America and Great Britain there was a great surge of interest and enthusiasm in the design, construction and performance of the clippers which were of a type unique in the annals of the sea.

Never before had shipbuilders been in such a hurry to construct large ocean-going ships to sail at maximum speed, and this was particularly true of America. Here the clippers were for the most part intended to transport eager prospectors to the "land of gold" in California, and this necessitated a battle with the elements in the storm-swept oceans around Cape Horn. The gold rush frenzy, as far as the ship building was concerned, lasted in the US from 1849 to 1854, although the performance of the clippers continued to be studied avidly.

Unfortunately, the years of the American Civil War terminated all this. In Great Britain the picture was slightly different, because fold was discovered in Australia three years later than in California, and clippers sailing from Britain did not have to contend straight against the fierce westerlies off Cape Horn on their outward passage.

So the clipper ship era overlapped in the 1850s, and thereafter the China tea trade produced a fine selection of clippers, a sprinkling of which were of the "extreme" category. However, this second clipper ship boom was brought to a sudden close in 1869 by the opening of the Suez Canal, which forced down freight rates for sailing vessels to ruinously low levels, and consequently, the construction of clippers ceased.

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15.07.2017
BETWEEN FRANCE AND NEW FRANCE — LIFE ABOARD THE TALL SAILING SHIPS

An excellent title providing all readers with quite absorbing look at the life on aboard the sailing ships of the past times, namely those plying the North Atlantic area during the French colonial era. Gilles Proux, the author of this brilliant volume, has mainly been focusing on the first half of the XVIII century and the historical period including the Seven Years' War, analyzing four main aspects of the crossing, namely the maritime shipping traffic and the outfitting of the ships, people of these times together with their occupations, the Atlantic course and ship navigation, and life aboard the vessels.

Combined together, they all making a truly fascinating picture of the sea life. When preparing this publication, the author has used the official correspondence between the Canadian authorities and the Minister of marine, plus the valuable historical documents that have been seized on the ships, personal diaries of the seamen and official log-books, in order to get all required details on the shipboard experience.

In addition to that, numerous photographic images have been included in the volume to better illustrate that exciting period in the history of Canada. The content of this perfectly compiled volume will be very highly rated by all people interesting in the subject.

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10.07.2017
A MIND AT SEA — HENRY FRY AND THE GLORIOUS ERA OF QUEBEC'S SAILING SHIPS

By 1855, Canada ranked among the greatest ship-owning and shipbuilding nations of the world. A vast dispersed flotilla of 7196 Canadian-constructed wooden ships sailed the oceans of both hemispheres. Quebec was the business centre of it all, one of the world's most important maritime trade, and that was where that Henry Fry settled about a century passed after the British forces ended France's failed North American empire.

Two very decisive battles took place on the Plains of Abraham; Quebec city was overwhelmingly French-speaking, and the city would become so again. But for a few years in the middle of the nineteenth century, two of every five residents of the port city used the everyday language of English, and even more did so in business Shipbuilding and owning, and timber commerce — largely conducted by men like Henry through their British contacts — dominated the economic life of Lower Canada, while the city was its capital. At those times, shipping agents and brokers did not care too much about their business ethics.

Many of them were quite well known for continuously charging really usurious fees in advancing money to the shipbuilders. They overloaded unseaworthy ships with timber to enlarge their profits and this was directly endangering the lives of the seafarers. Henry Fry was one of the notable exceptions. Beings very honest and generous, he did his best fighting against human rights abuses, "He was an outstanding figure in the maritime history of Canada", wrote Basil Greenhill....

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