qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

Book Review: Cuthbert Collingwood - The Northumbrian Who Saved the Nation, by Andrew Griffin
As a child, I would on occasion be taken to the Collingwood Monument, generally when there was some event of interest taking place on the River Tyne. I'm slightly embarrassed to say I can't remember ever asking who Collingwood was or why there was a monument to him. Needless to say, I don't recall it ever coming up in history lessons at school either. (I do recall asking about Grey's Monument, though that never came up at school either).

Griffin's eulogy is slim and he keeps it simple, describing Collingwood's upbringing in Newcastle and naval career from about age 12 onwards, taking in tours of duty in North America, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and ultimately becoming second-in-command of the British fleet at Trafalgar, and assuming command on the death of Nelson (hence the book's subtitle, though perhaps there's a bit of hyperbole there). The text is let down by a few typos and minor errors (e.g. "turn of the millennium" should be "turn of the century") but this is probably a symptom more of the production budget than anything else. Never seeking fame (which one has to say, is a goal he achieved), Collingwood rests in St Paul's Cathedral, near the tomb of his more celebrated friend Nelson.
Tags: books, history
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