Review: The Pursuit of Victory

Posted 3 September, 2007 by Li in Books / 0 Comments

The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievements of Horatio Nelson
By: Roger Knight

Let me start by saying that there are a lot of Horatio Nelson biographies out there. Like, a whole slew of them. But I have to agree with a lot of the reviewers out there who mentioned that this was the book if you want to read about Horatio Nelson. Roger Knight is clearly an authority when it comes to discussing the life and achievements of Horatio Nelson. It’s very detailed and you can tell that he has poured over different types of source material to gain as clear of an image as possible of Nelson’s life, his thoughts, his situation, his motives, etc. The picture he paints of Nelson is surprisingly human, someone you can relate to, someone who has experienced not only victorious moments of character and capability but also moments of trial and hardship. We all know Nelson to be a renown admiral, a risk-taker, a capable seaman. But he also had his fair share of foul-ups, which was surprising as I hardly knew much of his life before the infamous Trafalgar. You have a glimpse, through this book, of Nelson’s path towards fame and renown, of what he learned along the way and the people who came in and out of his life. And not only does Prof. Roger put forth Nelson’s life in this book, but also the situation of Britain and the Navy during the period in which he lived, the politics surrounding the activities of the Navy and the threat from a volatile France and how it ultimately affected Nelson and his career. The book is neatly divided into periods of his life, concluding with how Nelson’s life had impacted the Navy, how it was portrayed by people in subsequent generations and what appears to be a mild form of historiography. Overall, Roger did an impeccable job at not only making it readable but also of bringing Nelson back to life so to speak. I cannot recommend this book enough; it’s a great read and also extremely informative and revealing of Nelson’s character.

Rating: ★★★★★

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