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Men of Honour
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An unforgettable look at the contradictions of heroism, as embodied by Horatio Nelson and as tested by the battle of Trafalgar. Adam Nicolson looks at the variety of qualities - ruthlessness, bravery, kindness, cruelty - that combined in both Nelson and his troops to carry that fateful day. Trafalgar gripped the nineteenth century imagination like no other battle: it was a moment of both transcendent fulfilment and unmatched despair. It was a drama of such violence and sacrifice that the concept of total war may be argued to start from there. It finished the global ambitions of a European tyrant but culminated in the death of Admiral Horatio Nelson, the greatest hero of the era. This book fuses the immediate intensity of the battle with the deeper currents that were running at the time. It has a three-part framework: the long, slow six hour morning before the battle; the afternoon itself of terror, death and destruction; and the shocked, exultant and sobered aftermath, which finds its climax at Nelson's funeral in a snowy London the following January. Adam Nicolson examines the concept of heroes and heroism, both then and now, using Nelson as one of the greatest examples. A man of complexity and contradiction, he was a supreme administrator of ships and men; overflowing with humanity, charm and love but also capable of astonishing ruthlessness and ferocity. Nelson's own courage, vanity, ruthlessness and sweetness made him one of the great identifiable heroes of English history. In Men of Honour, Adam Nicolson also traces the stories of many unknown people of the day. He tackles the move from the age of reason to the age of romanticism, and examines a battle that was not only a uniquely well-documented crisis in human affairs but also a lens on its own time. Adam Nicolson does not approach Trafalgar as a military historian. His book gives a wonderfully immediate recreation of both the battle itself and its aftermath in a rich, concrete and intellectually engaging style.
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/ Lead title An unforgettable look at the contradictions of heroism, as embodied by Horatio Nelson and as tested by the battle of Trafalgar. Adam Nicolson looks at the variety of qualities -- ruthlessness, bravery, kindness, cruelty -- that combined in both Nelson and his troops to carry that fateful day. / In 2004, Adam Nicolson won the WH Heinemann Award for his book Power and Glory: Jacobean England and the Making of the King James Bible. / Sea Room has sold 58,000 copies in the UK. / Men of Honour has now sold over 10,000 hardbacks in the UK. / Was chosen as Book of the Year by four different publications including the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Mail and shortlisted for The Duke of Westminster's Medal for Military Literature.

About the Author

Adam Nicolson is the author of many books on history, travel and the environment. He is the winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, the British Topography Prize and the WH Heinemann Award. He lives on a farm in Sussex. This is his fourth book for HarperCollins -- his previous three being Sea Room, Power and Glory and Seamanship.

Reviews

'His descriptions of the battle itself, and of the personalities of those who engaged in it, are seamanlike, assured and informative' Independent 'The story of the battle has been told before, but rarely with the literary aplomb and almost cinematic realism that are to be found in Adam Nicolson's new book.' Sunday Telegraph 'Argued with vigour and written with grace, this is an illuminating piece of interpretive cultural history' Sunday Times 'Vividly clear ... Vibrant ... Compelling' Observer 'Nicolson does not aim (to give)a blow-by-blow account of the battle. Instead he takes a philosophical and literary approach ! In this he succeeds exceptionally well' Independent on Sunday 'Sparkling ... Adam Nicolson's account of Trafalgar is majestic, poetic and, at base, authentic.' Literary Review 'Of the hundreds of books written about Nelson and Trafalgar over the past two centuries, perhaps a dozen will be worth re-reading at the tercentenary. This is one of them' Spectator 'Of the many books marking the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar, Adam Nicolson's can claim to be one of the most original' The Week 'Strikingly original ! Mr. Nicolson brings to life superbly the horror, devastation and gore of Trafalgar' Economist 'As the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar approaches, a tsunami of Nelson books can be expected, but few will be more thought-provoking than this one ! Mr. Nicolson brilliantly characterises each navy - British, French, Spanish - as an expression of the countries to which they belonged. The picture is vivid' Country Life Praise for Adam Nicolson and his books: 'Nicolson writes so well, with such modesty and deep feeling, that the book fairly sings in your hands.' Daily Telegraph 'Exceptionally well done, beautifully written, personal yet panoramic' Observer 'An extraordinarily outward-looking book! a truly passionate attention to detail!. A love-letter no one else could hope to write so well.' Sunday Telegraph 'A passionate evocation, a compression of observation and anecdote which catches you up in its intelligence as well as its enthusiasm, and fill you with homesickness for a place you've never been to.' Daily Telegraph 'Generous, exuberant and a vividly written narrative!. history, travel-writing and memoir of the best sort.' Spectator 'Sharply observed, a finely written work, one to be savoured, turned over and over like a good whisky.' Sunday Times

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