Non-Fiction Releases


This section lists upcoming and recently released non-fiction books about the Age of Sail. They will also appear in the Non-Fiction Listings

A History of the Royal Navy: The Seven Years WarMartin Robson has a new book available for pre-order in Hardcover, A History of the Royal Navy: The Seven Years War. It will be released worldwide on 30 September 2015.

The Seven Years War (1756-1763) was the first global conflict and became the key factor in creating the British Empire. This book looks at Britain's maritime strategic, operational and tactical success (and failures), through a wide-ranging history of the Royal Navy's role in the war. By the end of the war in 1763 Britain was by no means a hegemonic power, but it was the only state capable of sustained global power projection on a global scale. Key to Britain's success was political and strategic direction from London, through the war planning of Pitt the Elder and the successful implementation of his policies by a stellar cast of naval and military leaders at an operational and tactical level. Martin Robson highlights the work of some of the key protagonists in the Royal Navy, such as Admiral Hawke whose appreciation of the wider strategic context at Quiberon Bay in 1759 decided the fate of North America, but he also provides insights into the experience of life in the lower decks at this time. Robson ultimately shows that the creation, containment and expansion of the British Empire was made possible by the exercise of maritime power through the Royal Navy.

Sailors on the RocksPeter C. Smith has a new book available for pre-order in Hardcover, Sailors on the Rocks: Famous Royal Navy Shipwrecks. It will be released on 30 September 2015 in the UK and on 19 December 2015 in the US.

For three hundred years or more the Royal Navy really did "Rule the Waves", in the sense that during the numerous wars with our overseas enemies, British fleets and individual ships more often than not emerged victorious from combat. One French Admiral was to generously acknowledge that the Royal Navy possessed, "a tradition of victory." And yet, in every other way, the waves were never ruled by any maritime power. Great fleets might wax and wane, ships grow ever more complex and powerful, but the sea, the eternally cruel sea, was always to have the final say.

This book highlights a sample array of disasters, occurring when men-of-war faced the ultimate test of the elements and lost. Among such tragedies are the wrecking of the Coronation in 1691, the destruction of the Winchester in 1695 and the great storm of 1703, along with a host of shipwrecks on far-flung shores from New Zealand to Nova Scotia, and from Florida to South Africa. Some of the featured stories are already famous, like that of the Birkenhead. Others are lesser-known, like the sister cruisers Raleigh and Effingham, separated by many years. More recently, steam power replaced the uncertainties of sail, but even so losses continued, from little destroyers in both world wars (Narborough, Opal and Sturdy among them) through great battleships like Montagu. Even modern warships equipped with every modern navigational device come to grief; witness the strange affair of the frigate Nottingham, or the humiliating grounding of the nuclear 'wonder' submarine Astute on Skye in 2010. This unique book presents a fascinating insight into the malevolent power of the sea and storms over man's creation and dominion, chronicling some of the most dramatic shipwrecks ever to have occurred in our seas.

Tudor Warship Mary RoseDouglas McElvogue has a new book available for pre-order in Paperback, Tudor Warship Mary Rose. It will be released on 24 September 2015 worldwide.

The great warship the Mary Rose was built between 1509 and 1511 and served 34 years in Henry VIII's navy before catastrophically sinking in the Battle of the Solent on 19 July 1545. A fighting platform and sailing ship, she was the pride of the Tudor fleet. Yet her memory passed into undeserved oblivion - until the remains of this magnificent flagship were dramatically raised to the surface in 1982 after 437 years at the bottom of the Solent.

Part of the bestselling Conway Anatomy of The Ship series, Tudor Warship Mary Rose provides the finest possible graphical representation of the Mary Rose. Illustrated with a complete set of scale drawings, this book contains technical plans as well as explanatory views, all with fully descriptive keys. Douglas McElvogue uses archaeological techniques to trace the development and eventful career of Henry VIII's gunship, while placing it in the context of longer-term advances in ship construction.

Privateering: Patriots and Profits in the War of 1812Faye M. Kert has a new book available for pre-order in Hardcover, Privateering: Patriots and Profits in the War of 1812. It will be released on 10 September 2015 worldwide.

During the War of 1812, most clashes on the high seas involved privately owned merchant ships, not official naval vessels. Licensed by their home governments and considered key weapons of maritime warfare, these ships were authorized to attack and seize enemy traders. Once the prizes were legally condemned by a prize court, the privateers could sell off ships and cargo and pocket the proceeds. Because only a handful of ship-to-ship engagements occurred between the Royal Navy and the United States Navy, it was really the privateers who fought―and won―the war at sea.

In Privateering, Faye M. Kert introduces readers to U.S. and Atlantic Canadian privateers who sailed those skirmishing ships, describing both the rare captains who made money and the more common ones who lost it. Some privateers survived numerous engagements and returned to their pre-war lives; others perished under violent circumstances. Kert demonstrates how the romantic image of pirates and privateers came to obscure the dangerous and bloody reality of private armed warfare.

Building on two decades of research, Privateering places the story of private armed warfare within the overall context of the War of 1812. Kert highlights the economic, strategic, social, and political impact of privateering on both sides and explains why its toll on normal shipping helped convince the British that the war had grown too costly. Fascinating, unfamiliar, and full of surprises, this book will appeal to historians and general readers alike.

French Warships in the Age of Sail 1786 - 1862: Design Construction, Careers and FatesIn a sequel to his popular series on the design of British Warships, Rif Winfield, together with Stephen S Roberts, has a new book available for pre-order in Hardcover, French Warships in the Age of Sail 1786 - 1862: Design Construction, Careers and Fates. It will be released on 14 September 2015 in the UK and a few days later on the 18th in the US.

In 1786 the French Navy had just emerged from its most successful war of the eighteenth century, having frequently outfought or outmanoeuvred the Royal Navy in battle, and made a major contribution to American independence. The reputation of its ship design and fighting skills never stood higher, yet within a few years the effects of the French Revolution had devastated its efficiency, leading to defeat after defeat. Fine ships continued to be built, but even under Napoleon s dynamic influence the navy never recovered sufficiently to alter the balance of sea power. It was only after 1815 that the navy revived, espousing technical innovation and invention, to produce some of the most advanced ships of the age. This book is the first comprehensive listing of these ships in English, and follows the pattern set by the companion series on British warships in the age of sail in providing an impressive depth of information. It is organised by Rate, classification and class, with significant technical and building data, followed by a concise summary of the careers of each ship in every class. Thus for the first time it is possible to form a clear picture of the overall development of French warships in the latter half of the sailing era.

Medieval Maritime WarfareCharles D. Stanton has a new book available for pre-order in Hardcover and for kindle download, Medieval Maritime Warfare. It will be released worldwide on 30 June 2015.

Following the fall of Rome, the sea is increasingly the stage upon which the human struggle of western civilization is played out. In a world of few roads and great disorder, the sea is the medium on which power is projected and wealth sought. Yet this confused period in the history of maritime warfare has rarely been studied - it is little known and even less understood. Charles Stanton uses an innovative and involving approach to describe this fascinating but neglected facet of European medieval history. He depicts the development of maritime warfare from the end of the Roman Empire to the dawn of the Renaissance, detailing the wars waged in the Mediterranean by the Byzantines, Muslims, Normans, Crusaders, the Italian maritime republics, Angevins and Aragonese as well as those fought in northern waters by the Vikings, English, French and the Hanseatic League. This pioneering study will be compelling reading for everyone interested in medieval warfare and maritime history.

Nelson's Band of Brothers: Lives and MemorialsPeter Hore has a new book available for pre-order in Hardcover, Nelson's Band of Brothers: Lives and Memorials. It will be released on 30 may 2015 and in the US on 15 June 2015.

While there is a perennial interest in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars and in Nelson himself, there is no reference work that chronicles all the captains of his ships, their social origins, their characters and the achievements in their lives beyond their service under Nelson. This new book, researched and written by distinguished historians, descendants of some of Nelson's officers, and members of the 1805 Club, presents concise biographies of those officers who fought with Nelson in his three great battles, with superb colour illustration throughout.

Nelson first gave the name of band of brothers to the officers who had commanded ships of his fleet at the battle of the Nile (1798). This new volume will include 100 officers, ranging from lieutenants in command of gunboats at the battle of Copenhagen (1801) through captains of line-of- battle ships at the Nile and at Trafalgar (1805), to admirals in command of squadrons in his fleets. Of real significance are the specially commissioned photographs of all the monuments and memorials to Nelson s captains, descriptions with transcriptions of epitaphs, and clear directions to enable the readers to find them. Part travel book, part biography and moving testimony to Nelson's faithful captains, Nelson's Band of Brothers presents the opportunity to rediscover 100 local heroes.

The Myth of the Press GangJ. Ross Dancy recently released a new book available in Hardcover, The Myth of the Press Gang: Volunteers, Impressment and the Naval Manpower Problem in the Late Eighteenth Century.

The press gang is generally regarded as the means by which the British navy solved the problem of recruiting enough seamen in the late eighteenth century. This book, however, based on extensive original research conducted primarily in a large number of ships' muster books, demonstrates that this view is false. It argues that, in fact, the overwhelming majority of seamen in the navy were there of their own free will. Taking a long view across the late eighteenth century but concentrating on the period of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars of 1793-1815, the book provides great detail on the sort of men that were recruited and the means by which they were recruited, and includes a number of individuals' stories.

It shows how manpower was a major concern for the Admiralty; how the Admiralty put in place a range of recruitment methods including the quota system; how it worried about depleting merchant shipping of sufficient sailors; and how, although most seamen were volunteers, the press gang was resorted to, especially during the initial mobilisation at the beginning of wars and to find certain kinds of particularly skilled seamen. The book also makes comparisons with recruitment methods employed by the navies of other countries and by the British army.

© 2008-2015 David Hayes (Astrodene)