Nelson: The Sword of Albion

John Sugden. Holt/Macrae, $45 (944p) ISBN 978-0-8050-7807-7
Picking up where Sugden’s Nelson: A Dream of Glory, 1758–1797 left off, this superb warts-and-all biography details the awe-inspiring ups and downs of the final eight years of British Admiral Horatio Nelson’s life. After the then-39-year-old Nelson lost an arm in the Royal Navy’s 1797 defeat at Tenerife, he returned home to convalesce with his loving wife, Frances. Quickly reappointed to command, Nelson achieved a stunning victory over the French at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. Emerging as an international superhero, he was elevated to the peerage and inspired a torrent of songs, snuff boxes, jewelry, and other commemorative memorabilia. Nelson’s hunger for adoration impelled him to manipulate the press, flaunt his decorations for posterity, and enter into a notorious affair with the bewitching wife of Britain’s ambassador to Naples—but it also drove him to push ever forward militarily, even in the face of extreme opposition. After several successful campaigns, Nelson was killed in the critical victory over the French and Spanish at the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, one of the greatest British naval triumphs since the 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada. In addition to expertly depicting the intricacies of maritime warfare, Sugden’s meticulously researched, highly readable work will no doubt be the definitive portrait of a brilliant, fearless, inspiring warrior beset by flaws and vulnerabilities. 33 illus. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/01/2013
Release date: 06/11/2013
Paperback - 960 pages - 978-1-250-04876-9
Open Ebook - 1040 pages - 978-1-4481-2956-0
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