Nicknamed le loup des mers ("the sea wolf") by Napoleon, Thomas Cochrane was one of the most daring and successful naval heroes of all time. In this fascinating account of Cochrane's life, historian David Cordingly unearths startling new details about the real-life "Master and Commander", from his daring exploits against the French navy to his role in the liberation of Chile, Peru, and Brazil, and the shock exchange scandal that forced him out of England and almost ended his naval career. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, his own travels, wide reading, and the kind of original research that distinguished The Billy Ruffian, Cordingly tells the rip-roaring story of the archetypal romantic hero who conquered the seas and, in the process, defined his era.
©2007 David Cordingly; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"Cordingly...tells Cochrane's story with flair and sympathy." (Publishers Weekly)
"[Listeners] can practically smell the salt air as Cordingly re-creates the age of sail." (Kirkus)
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
First of all, I was amazed that there was so much information available on Cochrane to put into a book. I suppose, given his exploits and his fame, there would have been plenty of accounts written up about him. As for his personal life, not so much. But in this case, it is the details of his career that are of the most interest. Cordingly does a terrific job of stringing together all his sources to produce a coherent narrative of Cochrane's career. As great a job as Cochrane did, ultimately it seems that his superiors were content to use him as a line officer. Proof once again that who you know matters more than what you do. Or maybe it's about personality. Either way, lessons abound in this book for all of us trying to find our way through our own careers. Of course, for those fans of C.S. Forrester or Patrick O'Brien, it's a great treat to read about the original character on whom they built their respective series of books.
Having been through the OBrian Cannon more than once and having followed Capt Aubry in many of the same adventures and missadventures as Capt Cochran it is hard not to compare what was borrowed and what went on. It is patently unfair, but the real Cochran suffers by comparison.
Anyone who likes the Master and Commander books and the Hornblower books will love the real life adventures of this English/Scottish sailor who lived the stories of Aubrey and Hornblower.
I love the way the narrator switched between accents (Spanish, Scottish, French) when changing POV. Very well done and a wonderful book!
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