Sons of the Waves
British maritime history in the age of sail is full of the deeds of officers like Nelson but has given little voice to plain, 'illiterate' seamen. Now Stephen Taylor draws on published and unpublished memoirs, letters, and naval records, including court-martials and petitions, to present these men in their own words. In this exhilarating account, ordinary seamen are far from the hapless sufferers of the press gangs. Proud and spirited, learned in their own fashion, with robust opinions and the courage to challenge overweening authority, they stand out from their less adventurous compatriots. Taylor demonstrates how the sailor was the engine of British prosperity and expansion up to the Industrial Revolution.