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Captain Broke's victory in 1813 over Captain Lawrence of USS Chesapeake, which was to have far reaching influence on the future of North America, did much to restore the morale of the Royal Navy, shattered by three successive defeats in single-ship duels with US frigates, and stunned the American nation which had come to expect success.
2013 sees the bicentenary of the battle and this new book seeks to reverse the neglect shown by most modern historians of one of Britain's finest frigate captains, who by his skill, determination and leadership won one of the bloodiest naval duels the world has seen. Even now both Britain and the USA claim to have won the war but only Canada, the third country heavily involved, can fully claim to have done so, for the peace that followed established her as an independent nation.
Leading historians from all three countries have joined to give their sometimes conflicting views on different aspects in a way to interest and entertain general readers, as well as challenge academics. It is a tale of political and military blunders, courage and cowardice in battle, a bloody ship-to-ship fight, and technical innovation in the hitherto crude methods of naval gunnery. It also tells the human story of Broke's determination to achieve victory so he could return to his wife and children after seven lonely years at sea.
The near-fatal wound Broke received in hand-to-hand fighting as he boarded the Chesapeake meant that he never served again at sea, but his work on naval gunnery, paid for out of his own pocket, transformed Admiralty thinking and led to the establishment of the British naval school of gunnery, HMS Excellent. This Bicentenary year of his victory is timely for an up-to-date, wide-ranging work incorporating the latest thinking; this is the book.
As seen in the East Anglian Daily Times and the Ipswich Star.
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