View Full Version : Defiant and Dismasted at Trafalgar The life and times of Admiral Sir William Hargood

Captain Kiwi
04-05-2017, 14:23
Book Title:
Defiant and Dismasted at Trafalgar The life and times of Admiral Sir William Hargood Author:
Mary Mcgrigor ISBN:
1-84415-034-8 Category:
Biography Format:
Hardback Summary:
Imagine having a career at sea in the late 18th to mid-19th century your career then culminating with seeing action in the greatest naval action in history. This is the background to the above book.
Having taken up the call to participate in Sails of Glory as is usual with me I had to find out as much about Napoleonic Naval warfare as I could not just the battles but the environment in which sailors both crew and officers lived and breathed. Not being nautically minded (I get sea sick in the bath) I had no idea what seafaring consisted off. So it was important to get the right book. I looked at several some to technical for a “newby”.
I kept being drawn back to the book in question. I was instantly drawn into the story telling because that’s what it felt like not just a biography although there are diary entries included, this book was not page after page of entries these were cleverly inserted when required. Instead the author used personnel accounts and historical documentation as the foundation for the book.
The descriptions of daily life the highs the lows, the advantages/benefits of having a good captain. By that I mean a Captain who understands the need to be fair, to consider the welfare of all but also be able to use discipline as a tool not a weapon.
The descriptions of combat are boys own stuff you are there either on the quarter deck or manning the guns. The chapters on Trafalgar in particular were very informative with regards to naval life under pressure (smell the cordite) and being the Captain of the Belleisle Hargood was in the thick of it.
The book details his colourful and busy life both private and Naval including useful explanations regarding items such as the differing status of Captains i.e. “Post Captains”, the promotion procedures his rise to Admiral.
Sometimes biographies can be mind numbing or annoying with footnotes on every page you will find not one in this book only at the end do you find a section on notes .
Move over Hornblower and Aubrey this guy is the real McCoy.
New to table top naval action or just interested in the period this book at 192 pages is packed with plenty of information and anecdotes to keep any reader wanting more.

An outstanding read 5 stars
Andy Johnson (Sea Legs)

04-11-2017, 07:56
Looks like a book to add to my list of reading Andy.
Thanks for posting it.