Books for Santa’s Sack 2017
I’m a bit of a bah humbug creature when it comes to the commercialisation of Christmas – but there’s one thing that I fervently believe: a book is a present that, if well chosen for the recipient, will give hours of pleasure and be a lasting reminder in itself of someone putting thought, not just money, into a Yuletide gift. So do consider adding some of these fine books – all with a maritime connection – to your gift-buying list. Hopefully, there’s something for everyone in this somewhat eclectic selection.
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Churchill and Fisher by Barry Gough
At 600 pages this book is by far the lengthiest of my Christmas picks but will reward the reader’s investment in time with a dramatic narrative of two titans of the Admiralty locked in perilous destiny at the start of World War I. The author is a prize-winning historian and biographer, well fitted to undertake such a monumental saga, a story for the ages. For those wishing to delve deeper extensive references and an 18-page bibliography are provided.
Kings of the Sea by J D Davies
Having enjoyed the author’s ‘Pepy’s Navy: The Ships, Men and Organisation’ I looked forward with anticipation to this new volume. The book is a fascinating journey into the world of the Stuart navy showing how the Kings of the Sea were absolutely central to the development of its ships, their deployment and the officer corps. This is the real beginning of what would become the greatest navy in the world.
Les bateaux de Ma Bibliothèque by Jean-Benoît Héron
Published in French, this captivating little tome, ‘The boats of my library – From Noah’s Ark to Nautilus: the Most Famous Ships of Literature’ celebrates vessels created by authors such as Jules Verne, Patrick O’brian, Joseph Conrad – and includes, to my immense pleasure, HMS Duke William. Héron’s illustrations are lovingly and meticulously created, making the book a delight to dip into on a cold wintry night by the fire – even if your French is a bit rusty! A truly lovely production.
The Trafalgar Chronicle by Peter Hore
The Trafalgar Chronicle, the yearbook of The 1805 Club, has established itself as a prime source of information for new research about the Georgian navy. Successive editors have widened the scope to include all sailing navies of the period. Each volume is themed, and this edition looks at the Royal Marines and the U.S. Marine Corps. Sixteen contributions from recognised authorities around the world make this a compelling read.
History of the Port of London by Peter Stone
The River Thames has been integral to the prosperity of London since Roman times. Explorers sailed away from there on voyages of discovery to distant lands, colonies were established and a great empire grew. Funding their ships and cargoes helped make the City of London into the world’s leading financial centre. And in modern times the area was transformed into Docklands, a new heart of finance. A close-in view of the most famous seaport worldwide, the book will appeal to Londoners and also those outside the capital interested in Britain’s rich maritime heritage.
Last Voyage to Wewak by Simon J Hall
The third in Simon Hall’s maritime trilogy, the book is an important historical record of life at sea during the last quarter of the 20th century, a way of life now vanished. The final crumbling of the British register caused officers like Hall to find themselves in a strange new world, sailing under flags of convenience with all the old certainties of life at sea having vanished. A sea tale that is both entertaining and poignant.
Still looking for bookish inspiration?
You might also like to take a peek at my other BookPicks this year this year
And if you’re looking for a Signed First Edition Kydd I still have a few assorted titles available (Kydd Club members are entitled to a 10% discount on all purchases; the discount will be refunded separately after purchase.) I’m happy to add a personal Christmas message. To ensure delivery in time for Christmas the deadline for orders is November 27. Don’t delay to avoid disappointment!