- ISBN/SKU: 9781557508089
- Binding: Paperback
- Era: Age of Sail
- Number of Pages: 400
- Subject: Royal Navy
- Date Available: November 2002
The fictional heroics of C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower and Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey are pale imitations of the deeds of Admiral Lord Thomas Cochrane, one of the most daring and successful real-life heroes the naval world has ever seen. In this fascinating account of his life, Donald Thomas fills in the details of Cochrane's winning exploits against the French Navy, actions that earned him the title "Sea Wolf" from Napoleon. Despite his extraordinary accomplishments and the controversies that plagued his long life, today the admiral is not well known outside the naval community. Thomas's splendid narrative is certain to give the valiant and romantic sea warrior the recognition he deserves. His meticulous scholarship and index, notes, and bibliography make the biography a useful reference. The battle descriptions are particularly noteworthy, especially that of the Basque Roads in 1809 when Cochrane nearly achieved another Nile.
Cochrane's battles on land as a politician are described with equal attention to colorful detail. While mounting a vigorous campaign against corruption in the Admiralty, he gained many enemies, who, in turn, framed him in a sensational stock exchange fraud case. Imprisoned briefly, he fought back with his usual intensity, restored his reputation, and returned to sea, bound in 1818 for the wars of independence in South America. Once again with nearly total disregard of danger, he helped liberate Brazil and Chile from colonial rule. Upon his death in 1860, a few weeks before his eighty-fifth birthday, he received a hero's burial in Westminster Abbey.
Donald Thomas is an award-winning poet and a novelist and the author of seven biographies, including a book on Robert Browning that was runner-up for the Whitbread award. He holds a personal chair at the University of Wales.
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