I, Horatio, Donald A. Tortorice

I, Horatio, Donald A. Tortorice

This is a bit of a mixed bag. There are some grating historical errors, including mixing up the order of titles and ranks (Lord Captain instead of Captain Lord, an odd mistake to make with the example of Admiral Lord Nelson to follow), or a Danish bar girl who claims to have chosen English at school, as if she had attended a modern high school. A more significant error is his description of Nelson’s ship at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent as a ‘small frigate’, when it was actually a 74-gun third rate ship of the line, generally considered to be the most effective size for a ship of the line in this period. Frigates were fifth and sixth rate ships, with 26-30 guns, and didn’t form part of the main line of battle.

However in other sections Tortorice has captured Nelson’s style of writing nicely (helping to prove it with extracts from his actual letters, which demonstrate Nelson’s often rather over-wrought style). The style is rather uncritical - Nelson demonstrates little self doubt, and in places the book feels more like a report written by Nelson than an attempt to get inside his mind. There is also some uncertainty about the balance between ‘pseudo memoir’ and historical work, which sometimes takes us out of the fictional account and into a more standard historical work. I’m not sure that the decision to follow Nelson all the way to the moment of death works either - it might have been better to the first person account just before the battle, with Nelson putting his pen down to take command.

Having said that, this is still a fairly readable life of Nelson, taking a clear stance on his life, and comes close to capturing the feel of written memoirs from the period (other than the willingness to focus on elements of his personal life).

1 - I Remember
2 - Woolwich
3 - North America
4 - Boreas
5 - Montpelier and Engagement
6 - Recall to Duty
7 - Intermezzo
8 - The Battle of Cape St. Vincent
9 - Frustration at Cadiz
10 - At Portsmouth
11 - The Battle of the Nile
12 - Naples
13 - Attack upon Rome
14 - Discord with Keith
15 - Back in England
16 - Resolution with Fanny
17 - The Battle of Copenhagen
18 - Home Again
19 - The House at Merton
20 - The First Breakout
21 - The Battle of Trafalgar
22 - Epilogue

Author: Donald A. Tortorice
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 428
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Year: 2014

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