This is an excellent account of naval warfare during the period of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Mostert switches brilliantly between large scale accounts of the main battles of the war and a close-up look at life on board. The account of the mutinies in the Royal Navy is one of the best I've read, giving a real feel of the tensions that could develop on a Ship of the Line.
This book goes beyond the traditional bounds of books on this topic to include chapters of the War of 1812 and the repeated clashes with pirate states of North Africa. One gets a real sense of the impact of American naval power and the concern it caused in Britain.
As is almost always the case in books on this subject, well over half of the book deals with events between the outbreak of the war in 1793 and the battle of Trafalgar. However, unlike many books the second half of the war is covered in some detail, and not as a postscript to the life of Nelson (Nelson does play a major part in the first part of the book, as one would expect).
Author: Noel Mostert
Publisher: Jonathan Cape