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Publisher's Summary

The greatest victories from the British Navy's golden age, told through never-before-seen letters from the officers themselves.

When Napoleon eventually died in exile, the Lords of the Admiralty ordered that the original dispatches from seven major fleet battles - The Glorious First of June (1794), St Vincent (1797), Camperdown (1797), The Nile (1798), Copenhagen (1801), Trafalgar (1805), and San Domingo (1806) - should be gathered together and presented to the nation. These letters, written by Britain's admirals, captains, surgeons, and boatswains and sent back home in the midst of conflict, were bound in an immense volume, to be admired as a jewel of British history.

Sam Willis, one of Britain's finest naval historians, stumbled on this collection by chance in the British Library in 2010 and soon found that only a handful of people knew of its existence. Willis here shapes that material into wonderful character portraits of the commanders on both sides, assessing their strengths and weaknesses. He also provides concise and illuminating explanations of the convoluted political circumstances surrounding each battle as he expertly reinterprets these key engagements in extraordinary and revelatory detail.

A beautifully dramatic narrative, In the Hour of Victory tells the story of these naval triumphs as never before and allows us to hear once more the officer's voices as they describe the battles that made Britain great.

©2013 Sam Willis. Appendix II. Copyright 2013 by Nicholas Blake. First American edition 2014. (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Unique look at major Royal Navy battles

I love in depth research into unique historical periods and topical niches, if you don't this may not be for you. If so, especially this topic, highly recommended; there is probably no other source for much of the detail contained herein.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful and intelligent. A widow in to a past.

The age of sail is a magical time. The letters and historical anecdotes make the leaders of the time come alive. You'd love to see it in the movies. These tales are better than the fictional ones .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Narration flawed

A great book only spoiled by a stilted narration. Poor chapter break spoken and while the diction was clear and well spoken, the pass was not good.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful