Island Nation: A History of Britain and the Sea

Island Nation: A History of Britain and the Sea

by Brian Lavery


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Island Nation: A History of Britain and the Sea by Brian Lavery

What does it mean to be an island nation and why is it so important to Britain? There never was a time when the boundaries of state coincided with its coastline, even if one ignores the small offshore islands. Yet for all our cultural differences, the island peoples of Britain became for a while the most successful maritime nation in modern history, creating the largest empire of all time, backed for more than 200 years by the strongest navy and the largest merchant fleet. And Britain is still a maritime nation.

This magnificent volume explores our rich and complex relationship with the sea through several thousand years of history. Author Brian Lavery moves with consummate skill between topics as diverse as the rise of the Royal Navy or the development of specialised fisheries, the motives behind exploration and emigration or the protection of our shores from invasion, to deliver an all-encompassing account that is accessible and revealing.

The book expresses the British seafaring spirit, not just remembered in the legendary figures of Drake and Cook, but continued in our Olympic successes in sailing and epitomised in Ellen MacArthur's record-breaking, single-handed, round-the-world voyage that so captured the public imagination.

And beyond this the sea has been a vital inspiration to so many artists and writers, which is beautifully reflected in the wealth of paintings from the collection of the National Maritime Museum that illustrate the book. Additional photographic imagery comes principally from the picture archives of VisitBritain and Conway Maritime Press.

Each chapter includes features on preserved ships, classic boats, museums and other notable sites, both coastal and inland, such as lighthouses and canals, and the book is rounded off with a Gazetteer listing 150 maritime attractions. For sailors and landlubbers alike, The Island Nation is a glorious reminder that our maritime heritage is something we can all engage with.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781844860166
Publisher: Conway Maritime Press
Publication date: 08/28/2005
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

SeaBritain 20056
1The British Seas8
2The Age of Invasions16
3The Middle Ages23
4Sea Power Under Sail30
5Trade Under Sail42
6Exploration and Empire52
7The British Sailor64
8The Age of Steam74
9Maritime Science86
10Resources from the Sea96
11The Age of Emigration106
12Wreck and Rescue114
13Leisure and the Sea124
14The World Wars136
15Maritime Art148
16Britain in the Global Age155
Gazetteer of Attractions163
Picture Credits172

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