Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Catastrophe at Spithead

Hilary L Rubinstein

Seaforth Publishing, 2020

Hardback(£25, $37)  288 pages

Order:  https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Catastrophe-at-Spithead-Hardback/p/17111

 

18249.jpg.5eaf13e90ecfc5c5f1c9e1838a7c814c.jpg

General Description

 

This book is a very detailed investigation into the tragedy of the Royal George's sudden sinking on 29th August 1782. It broadly does this by using four primary sections. The first covers the personal history of some of the major players and primarily Rear Admiral Kempenfelt with Captain Waghorn. Secondly it runs through the events of the 29th August and surrounding days in some detail. Thirdly it moves to the resulting Court Martial before finishing with the efforts used to raise the ship and a brief 'what happened to them after'.

 

I was quite impressed. The author has an excellent control of many varied resources and uses them efficiently and, as far as I can tell, in an unbiased fashion. She deftly avoids deciding on one interpretation of events and sometimes even cautions against the validity of evidence before she presents it (thus recognising that dead men gild no lilies and that peoples recollections can change quite drastically with hindsight especially when livelihood and reputation can be involved). In one impressive section she lists what one of the Seaman had reported to the Court Martial in some potentially damning testimony but also notes several other examples where other similar language had been used but had been laughed at by a ships occupants and as the ship in question had not sunk had proved true. This rather deftly avoids leading the reader down a potentially invalid path but at the same time provides useful information to help the reader make their own mind up.

 

I enjoyed the entire book. The first section was good as it provided information that is not widely known - as an example most readers here will know Nelson's history prior to becoming a Captain but a minor Rear-Admiral and equally unknown Officers ?(excepting Phillip Durham).  This helps broaden knowledge of the navy though I would have liked more time to be spent here. When she moves to the disaster itself the book picks up nicely and stays at a highly interesting pace for the remainder of the book. 

 

I would therefore highly recommend the book to anyone with an interest in the British Navy of around the Revolutionary wars. It will also interest those who want to know more about the day to day running of the navy (even to how they careened ships out of dock!) and the interrelations between ships officers/ warrant officers and crew. 

 

A quick purchasing note. The pen and sword link above currently has the book discounted at £20 though the RRP and UK amazon price is currently £25. Pen and Sword USA does not show the book yet but it can be purchased from U.S amazon at the price listed above (currently..).

 

Finally if anyone wants a precis of what the reason for the disaster is then the book does not give a definitive answer. I have made my own assumptions (which may not match the authors) so am happy to discuss in this thread lower down so people who want to make their own mind up can avoid.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
×
×
  • Create New...