The Nelson Touch: The Life and Legend of Horatio Nelson [NOOK Book]

Overview

Admiral Horatio Nelson captures our imaginations like few other military figures. A mixture of tactical originality, raw courage, cruelty, and romantic passion, Nelson in action was daring and direct, a paramount naval genius and a natural born predator. Now, in The Nelson Touch: The Life and Legend of Horatio Nelson, novelist Terry Coleman provides a superb portrait of Britain's most revered naval figure.
Here is a vivid account of Nelson's life, from his childhood and early ...
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The Nelson Touch: The Life and Legend of Horatio Nelson

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Overview

Admiral Horatio Nelson captures our imaginations like few other military figures. A mixture of tactical originality, raw courage, cruelty, and romantic passion, Nelson in action was daring and direct, a paramount naval genius and a natural born predator. Now, in The Nelson Touch: The Life and Legend of Horatio Nelson, novelist Terry Coleman provides a superb portrait of Britain's most revered naval figure.
Here is a vivid account of Nelson's life, from his childhood and early career at sea--where a high-placed uncle helped speed his advancement to post captain--to gripping accounts of his greatest sea battles. Readers will witness the Battle of the Nile, where Nelson crushed a French squadron of thirteen ships of the line, and the Battle of Trafalgar, where he died at the moment of his greatest triumph. What emerges is a man of strength of mind amounting to genius, frequently generous, always fascinated with women, often uneasy with his superior officers, and absolutely fearless. Coleman also lays bare Nelson's faults: he was a ruthless commander, whose instinct was not just to defeat the enemy but to annihilate him. Indeed, some of Nelson's more controversial actions might be viewed as war crimes today. And he was a skillful self-promoter, who did all he could to advance his own fame. But in the end, that fame was well earned and he was deservedly idolized by the British people.
Sure to appeal to readers of Patrick O'Brian and other seafaring fiction, as well as all military history and naval history buffs, this is a superbly written biography that gives readers the texture and feel of this magnificent life.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Veteran British historian Coleman (Going to America) now tackles the life of Horatio Nelson, Britain's most celebrated naval hero. Admiral Nelson (1758-1805), whose glory was sealed with his death at the battle of Trafalgar, has been celebrated in various hagiographies, and his dashingly carried-off love affair with Lady Emma Hamilton has been Hollywood fodder. Coleman offers 27 short, solid chapters with lively headings like "I Shall Come Laughing Back," "Fiddlers, Poets, Whores, and Scoundrels," "Natural Born Predator" and "Well Then, I Will Be a Hero," making Nelson's Romantic renown seem deserved, but he also lays bare the admiral's faults, concluding "that Nelson was often ruthless, there is no doubt." (On one voyage he had fully half of the crew flogged, some of them merely for "mutinous language.") The book's title refers to Nelson's description of his special approach or talent for winning battles, a bit of self-praise that was deserved, even if immodest. Without seeming to have a scholarly axe to grind, Coleman offers a useful corrective to writers so enamored of maritime history and its heroes that they lose sight of the importance of accuracy. There are clearly written analyses of the major battles, as well as the admiral's complex private life, such as his dumping of his wife, Fanny, although supporting her for the rest of his life and retaining her affection. His passion for the wife of a nobleman, Sir William Hamilton, was less well received by the snobby Brit society of his day, but perhaps least popular of all was Nelson's endless careerism and appetite for honors. Coleman points out Nelson's bravery in the face of wounds that would have retired many a lesser sailor, including the loss of an eye and an arm. Nelson, who was always convinced he would be a famous man, would certainly be pleased by this renewed attention. (Apr.) Forecast: Certainly surpassing previous attempts such as Horatio Hornblower novelist C.S. Forester's life, this book is particularly notable for its rich recreations of late-18th-century British public life. Academic attention could lead to a belated American edition of Coleman's valuable 1965 study of the 19th-century laborers who built the British railway system, The Railway Navvies. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Novelist and historian Coleman (Going to America) employs his investigative skills in this carefully researched biography of Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) in an attempt "to tease out the man from the legend." Nelson, Coleman suggests, "was a paramount naval genius and a natural born predator, and those who look to find a saint besides will miss the man." Now, nearly 200 years after his death, it may be impossible to distinguish between the legend and the man himself. Certainly, Nelson's life story, as Coleman presents it, is a tantalizing mixture of opposites: a charismatic leader "with a strength of mind amounting to genius," who, as captain of the frigate Boreas, "flogged almost half his people"; a devoted family man who "delighted in women and always noticed them"; a national hero whose "private character" was "most disgraceful in every sense of the word," according to his great mentor, St. Vincent. Whether one agrees or disagrees that Nelson's legend has outlasted and overshadowed the man, this is an important addition to the more than 100 other Nelson biographies in existence. Coleman bases his study on extensive research in primary sources, meticulously footnoted. A wealth of illustrations complement the text admirably. Recommended for all libraries. Robert C. Jones, formerly with Central Missouri State Univ., Warrensburg Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher

"Trenchant." --Richard Morrison, The Times

"Vivid and challenging.... Terry Coleman clearly intends to be provocative--and he succeeds.... This book deserves to be taken seriously."--The Economist

"Compelling and impeccably researched.... The character that emerges is both more flawed and more human than hitherto supposed." --Saul David, The Daily Telegraph

"Written in the very best tradition of revisionist history: it is well researched, closely argued, at odds with received wisdom, and long overdue.... Coleman's smoothly written prose is full of fascinating asides and insights." --Andrew Roberts, Sunday Telegraph

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199924059
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/11/2002
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 906,143
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author

Terry Coleman is an independent scholar, novelist, and former journalist. He is the author of Going to America, the acclaimed history of Irish immigration.

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Table of Contents

Author's Note and Acknowledgments ix
List of Illustrations xi
1 Natural Born Predator 1
2 Well Then, I Will Be a Hero 9
3 The Whole Glory of the Service 17
4 The Reduction of the New World 27
5 Fair Canada, and the Merest Boy 37
6 Subjects of the Grand Monarque 45
7 Running at the Ring of Pleasure 51
8 Let My Heart Speak for Me 61
9 I Perceive the Contrary Effect 71
10 Nelson Found Wanting 85
11 The Horror, and the Benefit to the Nation 105
12 I Shall Come Laughing Back 123
13 The Making of the Legend 139
14 The Nile, and the Happy Instrument of God 149
15 The Family, and the Great Stage of Life 165
16 Fiddlers, Poets, Whores, and Scoundrels 175
17 The Sicilifying of My Own Conscience 187
18 Inactive at a Foreign Court 217
19 The Homecoming 237
20 Champion of England in the North 251
21 Not Since the Armada Business 269
22 So Much for Gratitude 283
23 Planting Trees with One Hand 291
24 The Long Watch, and the Grand Race of Glory 301
25 A Legacy to My King and Country 313
26 State Funeral and Empty Chariot 327
27 The Founding of a Family 335
Appendix A Nelson at Naples, 1799 345
Appendix B Nelson's Text 351
Appendix C Ships' Ratings 355
Notes and Sources 359
Select Bibliography 403
Index 409
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