qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

Viva Collingwood

Book Review: Admiral Collingwood - Nelson's Own Hero, by Max Adams
When I spotted this at the work book sale I picked it up immediately, as previously I had only read a rather slim volume on the man. This work, originally produced in 2005 to coincide with the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, covers much the same ground, though it mostly skips Collingwood's childhood and moves quickly onto the start of his naval career, detailing several episodes of his service in North America, the Carribean and the Mediterranean. The book also outlines his friendship with Nelson, and frequently highlights the self-publicising aspect of his better-connected and better-known colleague, who was 20 years his junior but rose far more rapidly through the ranks. The same details about Collingwood's home life are reiterated - infrequent visits to his family in Newcastle and Morpeth, and the scattering of acorns wherever open ground was to be found. There is more detail on Collingwood's career during and after Trafalgar, mostly blockading the French fleet in port and aiding opposition forces including Arthur Wellesley's first forays into the Iberian peninsular. The book also implies a more gradual fading from the public eye during the nineteenth century. I would not quite describe the book as hagiography, but the author certainly has an agenda that history has been unbalanced in its recognition of Nelson and Collingwood.
Tags: books, history
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