Michiel Adriaenszoon De Ruyter will be familiar to many English language readers as a successful Dutch naval commander during the Anglo-Dutch Wars, but as this book makes clear he was a figure of much wider European importance. During a long career he helped defend the Dutch Republic against British and French opponents, attempted to improve relations with the Barbary States of North Africa, and took part in a number of conflicts in the Baltic.
In most British histories de Ruyter is only seen during the Anglo-Dutch Wars. This book is written from a wider European perspective, and places de Ruyter in a much wider world, stretching from the Americans to the Baltic, West Africa and the Mediterranean, reflected both the widespread nature of his military career and the global nature of Dutch trade.
The book is beautifully illustrated, with a huge number of high quality colour plates. This is of course especially true of the final chapter, looking at the contemporary portraits of de Ruyter.
The key to any work of this nature is the quality of the individual contributions, and they don’t disappoint. For those who aren’t familiar with de Ruyter’s life chapter two starts with a brief summary, but the general assumption is that the reader has some knowledge of de Ruyter (an unavoidable attitude in a work of this type). I was particularly interested in the chapter on de Ruyter’s activities in North Africa, which gives a rather different picture of the Barbary States than the familiar image of the Barbary Pirates. The section on de Ruyter’s fellow flag officers will also be of great value for me. This is an excellent piece of work, and should be of great value to anyone with an interest in seventeenth century naval warfare, both for the light it casts on one of the greatest admirals of the period and for its picture of the naval warfare of the day.
1 - The Maritime World of the Dutch Republic, Jaap R. Bruijn
2 - Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter and his Biographer Gerard Brandt, Ronald Prud'homme van Reine
3 - Merchants, Diplomats and Corsairs: The Dutch in Barbary in De Ruyter's Time, Karim Bejjit
4 - The Dutch Republic as a Great Power: Political Interaction and Armed Forces, Jan Glete
5 - Navies, Strategy and Tactics in the Age of De Ruyter, John B. Hattendorf
6 - The Good Enemy: British Perceptions of Michiel De Ruyter and the Anglo-Dutch Wars, J.D. Davies
7 - Danish Perspectives on De Ruyter's Role in the Nordic Conflicts, Niels M,. Probst
8 - Michiel de Ruyter's Expedition to West Africa and America, 1664-1665
9 - De Ruyter versus Duquesne: A Battle to the Death, Michel Vergé-Franceschi
10 - De Ruyter and his Flag Officers, Jaap R. Bruijn
11 - De Ruyter in Paint, Ronald Prud'homme van Reine
Publisher: Karwansaray BV