The period of the French Wars (1793–1815), known as the golden age of fighting sail in Great Britain because of the extraordinary victories won by the Royal Navy, produced an impressive roster of brilliant flag officers. To date, however, these naval leaders have been overshadowed by the legendary status of their contemporary Admiral Lord Nelson. This book corrects the oversight by putting eleven other admirals in the limelight.
In this collection of short biographical essays Lee Bienkowski assesses each officer's career, describing the factors that influenced the subject's character and contributed to his success. While each biography calls attention to the distinctive traits of the admiral profiled, together they provide an interesting perspective of the Royal Navy, its leadership, and the wars between Britain and the rest of the world. Many of the men included have not been the subjects of study since the nineteenth century. The author makes liberal use of primary source material. Among those profiled are the noble-born Lord Howe whose fame came at the Glorious First of June, Lord Duncan who fought at the Battle of Camperdown, Sir John Duckworth at the Battle of San Domingo, and Lord de Saumarez at the Battle of Algeceras. These relatively unknown but highly skilled leaders made an impact on history, and their fact-filled portraits not only hold the reader's attention, but also contribute significantly to the literature of the period.