The Safeguard of the Sea A Naval History of Britain 660


  • Paperback
  • 692 pages
  • The Safeguard of the Sea A Naval History of Britain 660 1649
  • Nicholas A.M. Rodger
  • English
  • 15 September 2015
  • 9780393319606

10 thoughts on “The Safeguard of the Sea A Naval History of Britain 660 1649

  1. Ross Ross says:

    This is a very large book with a great deal of detail and should appeal strictly to those with a lot of time on their hands and a burning interest in the history of the British NavyThe first part of the book up to 1509 when Henry VIII arrives is just bits and pieces of trivia so little is actually known After that point uite a bit is known and most of it is a tale of gross incompetence and corruptionThe British Navy which in this first of two volumes is really the English Navy was mainly run by Lords who bought their offices with the primary interest of stealing as much money as possibleWe have Parliament to thank for the detailed knowledge of the corruption due to investigations conducted and reports written to document the thievery The monarchs would simply ignore the reports since they had sold the offices to the thieving Lords fully understanding why the Lord was buying the office in the first place Only Elizabeth comes off fairly well in the Author's opinionI am not sure I will try to read Volume II covering the history from 1650 to the present day since Volume I was so discouraging a readProblem solved Volume II is not available


  2. Dan Dan says:

    This is a fantastic piece of history I'll spare you the bad nautical jokes but Rodger does a great job of demolishing a number of myths about the Britain and how it was shaped by the sea One might say they run aground on shoals of his erudition I lied It's not a book for everyone but if you enjoy reading about victualing norse ship names and Tudor ship painting practices than there's certainly no better book than this Rodger is fantastically learned and the book ably shows how British social economic and political history was effected by the fortunes of its navy I've read this book at least 4 times and I've learned something new and fascinating every time The only problem is that Rodger ends his book on a cliffhanger with the Royal Navy being driven from England by the parliamentarians and I had to wait 8 years for the publication of Command of the Ocean to find out what happened next


  3. Lauren Albert Lauren Albert says:

    The book was surprising to me because I hadn't realized how little of a navy they had for much of their history For much of the time ships were just borrowed from the often merchant owners If they were damaged or destroyed in a battle there was generally no compensation from the crown There often weren't trained personel just impressed persons and gentlemen to lead The book didn't thrill me since there was unsurprisingly too much detail about ship building maintenance etc That was my flaw though not the book's


  4. Justin Justin says:

    A superbly written analytical and historical account of the Royal Navy from its original foundations under King Alfred to the martyrdom of King Charles The period of operations and administrations that plot the events of each chapter shows how the Navy developed in both political ways and in its warfare as a tool of policy and how the King's government protected the shores of England Drawing on all the available sources from the fastness of the National Maritime Museum Professor Rodger became one of the world's experts on the the greatest naval force that ever existed Life on board was hard discipline tough and rations often scarcely adeuate but the Royal Navy was the very first organization the world to have a modern philosophy of promotion on merit Other revelations included how important the Navy was to king's like Henry V who used it comprehensively to assist his invasions of 15th century France But it was than a bunch of lawless privateers but also a ruthless crew of competent seamen and dynamic master captains schooled in the arts of war The first volume charts the transition from soldiers on board to a fully fledged Navy after the Armada was driven off Elizabethan Protestant England understood the significance of an island nation surrounded by water could only earn a living by Mercantilist trading supported by an aggressive Navy The Civil Wars of early 17th century revealed just how protestant it truly was and how big city ports combined with ruthless discipline would marshall all England to conuer the world's shipping lanes in the name of a parliamentary governance Ships became leaner longer and with a draft to cut through the water sail closer to the wind; while English gunnery was renowned early on for its devastating tactical effects England learnt from richer nations; how to build ships like the French fast and well constructed and how marines could be put on board to expand on another English specialism Expeditionary forces From the medieval period marines or soldiers were landed in Bordeaux to defend trade with the western fringes of Europe Auitaine was a place where wine would become so essential to a trading empire filling up the yards of the port of London with goods


  5. Greg Greg says:

    This is a magisterial work of naval history part of a two volume set The book begins with medieval England and ends with the English Civil War Rodger covers technological innovation how the navy was raised and places naval engagement in wider historical context In later chapters the book addresses given periods in separate chapters on social history administration and operational history The structure allows the reader to get a coherent picture of not only the Navy Royal but also the life of the sailor The author focuses a lot of energy on administration because it was a major source of power beginning with Henry VIII The Island nation was able to out organize its powerful continental rivals


  6. Jon Klug Jon Klug says:

    This is a great scholarly reference book for one of my research projects but it is not for casual reading It's dense and detailed in its examination of the naval history of Britain from 660 to 1649 including operational administrative and social aspects A key theme of this book is the slow process by which the peopled of the British Isles learnt relearnt or did not learn at all how to use the sea for their own defense And this process for learning to use the sea was not a matter of growing understanding It was above all a process of growing capability


  7. Ietrio Ietrio says:

    Another academic paper pusher giving the World something relevant in exchange for a better tax payer sponsored pension plan In this case Rodger has gone through the pains of interviewing both sailors and officers from the 700s and their service So in this case Rodger brings never seen before information about something others have already pushed dull papers


  8. Nathan Nathan says:

    Exhaustive At least from when proper records start to show up The early centuries are for obvious reasons uite light on detail and of a broad brush summary of a big canvass


  9. James Spencer James Spencer says:

    Superbly researched and densely detailed history of military use of naval vessels from the days of Alfred the Great up to the execution of Charles I As Rodger points out it is not really a history of the British Navy as we understand that term Until the last half century covered by this book there is no such thing The navy consisted of privateers commandeered merchant vessels etcThe first half the textwhich totals only 434 pages the other two hundred pages consisting of appendices with lists of when ships were built commanders naval terms and notes covering up to the Tudor era is fairly dry and academic There is little else that can be done with this part of the history we simply don't have the details for Rodgers to be able tell tales of sea battles commanders and incidents at sea But once Rodgers gets to the Henry VII and primary source materials include these details while never losing sight of the goal of a serious academic history he starts telling a tale worthy of any adventure story The stories of Drake Hawkins and the characters on the Navy Board were great reading and set up the other parts of the book on other aspects of war at seaRodger rights his book as a series of chapters on these different aspects over specific periods of time Thus he gives us chapters on the different types of Ships 1066 1455 Operations 1266 1336 Administration 1216 1420 and Social History 1204 1455 the latter discussing where both the commanders and the sailors came from All of these subjects are essential to understanding how what would become the Royal Navy came to beMy only real criticism is that while the book contains a fair number of black and white plates mostly showing images of vessels as they were represented in their own times there is not much to show what the ships really looked like in any kind of proportional representation I've build model ships been to several naval museums with lots of models etc so have a good notion of what ships of the 18th century and later were like but could not get any real sense of what the ships galleys etc of medieval England that Rodgers talks about were really like or even how big they were There is one half page set of silhouettes comparing four ships from the 15th 17th Centuries with the Victory which one can see in Portsmouth But this a small portion of the subject matter of the book and the comparison is limited to the largest of the ships from this era Henry Grace a Dieu 1514 Sovereign of the Seas 1637 Wasa 1628 Grace Dieu 1418 There is nothing depicting the smaller vessels to any kind of scale and for most of the period of this book these smaller vessels were what English Naval History was all aboutStill this is a small uibble and I enjoyed this enormously recommending it highly to anyone interested in English history specifically English not British or European; the naval forces of Scotland Ireland and the continent are mentioned only insofar as necessary to understand what is going on the English generally or naval history of any kind particularly in the age of sail


  10. Mark Mark says:

    A bit in depth than my usual history reading First of three? volumes on the British navy including technology social settings and administrative framework as well as actual naval operations and each period is broken down into chapters focusing on the aboveI could imagine the book being five stars for a genuine history fanatic But since the topic is the British navy only this means that the casual reader ie me gets a relatively large amount of detail on operations that are important only to naval history and not directly significant to the larger picture; while the overall background of the war or reign is often brief Makes sense and I usually knew enough to keep up but I was straining my memory at timesSome random notes The best use of naval maneuvers prior through the middle ages was really as a sort of cavalry you could maneuver armies from point to point in ways that a land based army couldn't keep up with and chances of interception or even a warning reaching your target were minimal Hence the success of the Vikings as raiders With a couple exceptions English kings were utterly incompetent as naval strategists from 1066 to Elizabeth The best they did was realize ships could provide logistical support but they constantly did idiotic things like landing troops in distant Auitaine to fight the French instead of threatening all of Normandy by landing at will Rodger's criticism of Edward I's castle building policy in Wales is so passionate it's phenomenally entertaining By 1588 the English navy had advanced so far that the Spanish battle plan for the Armada was uite literally to pray for a miracle They knew the English were better and expected to be slaughtered unless God gave them being good Catholics and all a sudden change in the weather at the perfect time to let them close with the English ships It didn't happen of course


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The Safeguard of the Sea A Naval History of Britain 660 1649 Throughout the chronicle of Britain's history one factor above all others has determined the fate of kings the security of trade and the integrity of the realm Without its navy Britain would have been a weakling among the nations of Europe could never have built or maintained the empire and in all likelihood would have been overrun by the armies of Napoleon and Hitler Now for the first time in nearly a century a prominent naval historian has undertaken a comprehensive account of the history and traditions of this most essential institution N A M Rodger has produced a superb work combining scholarship with narrative that demonstrates how the political and social history of Britain has been inextricably intertwined with the strength or weakness of her seapower From the early military campaigns against the Vikings to the defeat of the great Spanish Armada in the reign of Elizabeth I this volume touches on some of the most colorful characters in British history It also provides fascinating details on naval construction logistics health diet and weaponry A splendid book It combines impressively detailed research with breadth of perceptionRodger has prepared an admirable historical record that will be read and reread in the years ahead—Times London


About the Author: Nicholas A.M. Rodger

Nicholas Andrew Martin Rodger FBA is a historian of the British Royal Navy and Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College Oxford