TV/Books: “Empire of the Seas” – brief review and book tip
EMPIRE OF THE SEAS – HIGH TIDE – Part 3/4
Dan Snow continues his Epic journey and he sheds light on the evolution of Nelson’s Navy in the late 18th century. Britain’s Navy was the most powerful in the world, with highly trained crews and ambitious officers. However, by the end of the century they would once again face their rival, France, to fight for Britain’s security, way of life and identity.
In episode three, Snow explains the importance of Britain’s business in the Caribbean, how sugar trade etc. kept the country prospering; he doesn’t skirt around the issue of slavery, and we learn whom we have to thank for the income tax. He also manages to explain the complicated ties between politics, economy and military, and while his enthusiasm for the navy is obvious, he still keeps enough distance to be critical.
Still, I thought this was the weakest episode of the series – it could be summed up with “Dan Snow sails a lot, and Nelson saved the world.” One mention of Rodney, one mention of Jervis and, as usual, none of Collingwood. And how about the casualty numbers? While Snow described rather drastic and colourful “the slaughterhouse” (good on him, war at sea wasn’t romantic), but over 3500 lives were lost on both sides during the Battle of Trafalgar. That’s one of those “details” which shouldn’t have been left out.
You can watch the past three episodes of “Empire of the Seas” on BBC iPlayer.
A tie-in book to the TV series is now available as well, written by Brian Lavery:
I’ve placed my order and will review the book in time. As soon as I know when the DVD becomes available, I’ll keep you posted.
Entry filed under: 18th century, books, nelson, resource, royal navy, ships, tv. Tags: 18th century, 19th century, age of sail, bbc, bbc2, books, dan snow, empire of the seas, nelson, resource, royal navy, ships, tall ships, trafalgar, tv.