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Memoirs Of A Seafaring Life: The Narratives of William Spavens
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 17:24


Author: William Spavens
Publisher: The Folio Society

From Baird Maritime

Written from the perspective of the “lower deck”, this is a most unusual and very valuable book that faithfully records life in the British Royal Navy during the intensely busy 1760s and ‘70s.

A comparatively uneducated farm boy, Spavens went to sea as a deckhand on cargo ships while still a teenager. He was soon “shanghaied” or impressed onto a warship and that is where he made his career until effectively retired due to battle damage that considerably disabled him. Hence his self-description of “pensioner.

Uneducated, perhaps, but certainly not unintelligent, Spavens taught himself to an advanced level of literacy and was a careful and astute observer of what happened around him during his many voyages and adventures across most parts of the globe.

His descriptive powers are impressive so that his work is an immensely important contribution to British naval history. Perhaps more important is the the fact that the editor of this edition of his work, N.A.M. Rodger, an eminent naval historian, has verified practically every claim Spavens makes in the original.

Apart from its historical importance, the book is simply a delightful read.

Ordering information:

The Folio Society
London, UK

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