Book Review: Pepys's Navy: Ships, Men, and Warfare, 1649-1689


by J. D. Davies

Barnesley: Pen & Sword/Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2008. Pp. 304. Illus., maps, diagr., tables, notes, biblio., index. $74.95. ISBN:1848320140

Samuel Pepys, bon vivant, diarist, and for a good many years during the reigns of Charles II and James II the chief civil administrator of the Admiralty, was one of the most important players in forming the navy that would dominate the seas for nearly three centuries.

In Pepys's Navy, naval historian J.D. Davies provides a comprehensive guide to the naval service and naval warfare in the mid-seventeenth century, with a focus on Britain during the period of the Commonwealth and Restoration, and the era of the Anglo-Dutch Wars.  In 53 chapters, organized into thirteen sections, Davies describes everything from administration and shore-side establishments to officers and other personnel, types and management of ships (there's even a chapter titled "Masts, Sails, and Rigging"), ship-board life, strategy and tactics, and more, plus several chapters dealing with Britain's principal maritime opponents and allies during the period. 

This large, profusely illustrated book, which won the fourth biennial "Samuel Pepys Award" in 2009, is of value to anyone with an interest in the Royal Navy or naval affairs in the seventeenth century.
Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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