Category: History, Politics and Culture
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Deal starts: December 06, 2022
Deal ends: December 06, 2022
The Royal Navy’s annihilation of the French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar on 21 October 1805 was a pivotal event in European history.
Because the victory was so stunningly complete, and because Admiral Horatio Nelson died heroically in the engagement, the event has become a legend. But Trafalgar was not an isolated battle, fought and won in a single afternoon. The naval campaign had begun more than four years earlier.
The extraordinary period that followed Napoleon’s threat to invade England in 1801 became known as ‘The Great Terror’. As Napoleon’s formidable Grande Armée faced an army of English volunteers across the Channel, a secret war of espionage and subversion was being fought and new technologies of war — including rockets, submarines, and torpedoes — were developed.
Drawing on diaries, letters and newspapers, The Terror Before Trafalgar paints a vivid picture of the years 1801–1805, and of the people wittingly or unwittingly caught up in these unique events: Nelson as he blockaded the French at sea for two unbroken years; his love Emma Hamilton waiting at home; Jane Austen and her naval brothers; the diarist Fanny Burney; the admirals, generals and politicians; and those lesser-known men — Congreve, Moreau and Pichegru — who waged the secret war in England and in France.
Praise for The Terror Before Trafalgar:
‘… a lucid exposition of this vibrantly exciting period that moves easily between the withdrawing rooms of Jane Austen and Fanny Burney, the military camps along the Channel coasts of France and England, Parliament, Paris and the quarterdecks of men-of-war at sea … essential reading for anyone requiring a better understanding of why a battle off an obscure Spanish promontory should be remembered still … An excellent book’ – Sunday Times
‘… narrative history at its shining best; a tale of secret agents, small ships slipping through the Channel darkness, thumbscrews and murder in Paris cells, an emperor’s impotent rage and an adulterer’s magnificent triumph’ - Economist
Tom Pocock (1925–2007) has been described as the foremost authority on Nelson. He wrote eight books about the admiral and his time; his book Horatio Nelson was runner-up for the Whitbread Biography Award in 1987. He also wrote biographies of Captain Marryrat, Rider Haggard and Alan Moorhead, as well as several books documenting his own experiences as a war correspondent. Pocock was also a respected journalist, working for The Times, Daily Express and Evening Standard.