Amy Campbell Library > Biography > Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain's Greatest Frigate Captain

Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain's Greatest Frigate Captain

By Stephen Taylor

"Nobody describes a naval conflict larger than Taylor…a faultless demonstration of the biographer’s craft." —Jan Morris, The Guardian

Edward Pellew, captain of the mythical Indefatigable, was once with no trouble the best British frigate captain within the age of sail. Left fatherless at age 8, with a penniless mom and 5 siblings, Pellew fought his manner from the very backside of the army to fleet command. Victories and attention-grabbing feats gained him a public following. but he had a present for antagonizing his better-born friends, and he made strong enemies. Redemption got here together with his final command, while he trigger to do conflict with the Barbary States and loose hundreds of thousands of eu slaves. Opinion held this to be an very unlikely challenge, and Pellew himself, top from front within the form of his modern Nelson, didn't anticipate to survive.

Pellew’s humanity, fondness for subordinates, and blind love for his kinfolk, and the heat and intimacy of his letters, make him a highly enticing determine. Stephen Taylor offers him finally the biography he merits. eight pages of illustrations

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From those a number of assets emerged information that further extra human dimensions to the portrait. might be the main unbelievable was once the level to which Pellew’s warrior spirit used to be scarred by way of his personal countrymen. in additional than thirty-six years at sea, such a lot of them at conflict and uncovered in motion, he was once by no means wounded via enemy hearth; yet he suffered again and again from the sneering and sniping of his enemies at domestic, a battering which left him cautious and suspicious. underneath the cruel officer external lay an all of sudden susceptible soul. Biographers run the chance of deciding upon themselves too heavily with their topics, of imputing to them traits and features that didn't exist, fairly whilst those could upload to their charm. i've got consequently hesitated to make a reference to fiction and a personality renowned from novels set within the age of Nelson. time and again, notwithstanding, i've been drawn again to similarities among Edward Pellew and Patrick O’Brian’s construction, Jack Aubrey. either have been combating captains sans pareil in single-ship activities. either have been gunnery specialists who drilled their each send for accuracy and pace of fireplace. either occurred to be powerful swimmers with a penchant for going overboard to rescue clumsy or drunken palms. either sustained hot friendships with gallant enemy captains. either nurtured entourages of fans who observed them devotedly from send to send. They have been genial hosts at dinners within the nice cabin, keen on wine and corporate, but implacable and completely single-minded in conflict. They have been additionally unworldly fellows who made a hash of facing their superiors. tremendous males who tended to bulk in later years, they have been loving husbands and fathers, but with an eye fixed that will roam. O’Brian was once touchily guarded approximately his suggestion for Aubrey. whereas overtly drawing at the exploits of one other frigate captain, Thomas Cochrane, he was once disdainful of the guy himself, insisting that the true version for Aubrey’s personality used to be his personal brother. Readers will pass judgement on for themselves even if O’Brian was once blind to his hero’s resonance with Pellew. both means, he merits to be remembered, for a lifetime of experience within the age of sail, and as a guy concept through his contemporaries to be the best sea officer of his time. PROLOGUE North Africa, 1816 A 12 months after Waterloo, whereas the voters of Europe have been waiting for their first spring at peace in 20 years, a Royal army fleet got here to anchor the place the Sahara wilderness meets the Mediterranean Sea. It used to be a hot morning and a feeling of drowsy tranquillity prevailed as a ship’s boat wearing a trio of blue-coated officials, together with an incredibly tall yet stout guy within the golden markings of an admiral, dispose of and was once rowed in the direction of the white partitions of Tunis. The naval strength commanded by way of Lord Exmouth was once an impressive one, yet – on the outset at the least – his stopover at to the Barbary States had no whiff of clash approximately it. certainly, recovery comedy could have been nearer the mark. while the admiral arrived on the Bardo palace it used to be to discover Princess Caroline of Brunswick and a celebration of aristocratic pleasure-seekers as visitors of the Bey.

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