Adam Nicols on is the author of Seamanship, God's Secretaries, and Seize the Fire. He has won both the Somerset Maugham and William Heinemann awards, and he lives with his family at Sissinghurst Castle in England. Adam Nicols on is the author of Seamanship, God's Secretaries, and Seize the Fire. He has won both the Somerset Maugham and William Heinemann awards, and he lives with his family at Sissinghurst Castle in England.
Nicholson (God's Secretaries) offers a unique investigation of the brutal culture of the 18th-century British navy and the brand of leadership that it produced in its hero Nelson, carefully examining what drove the fighting sailors to blind obedience and almost certain dismemberment or death. This is not a book for the squeamish but a graphic and disconcerting look at the slaughter that was the Battle of Trafalgar. Ultimately, however, it is also an exploration of leadership and heroism. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Not widely known as a naval historian, Nicholson (God's Secretaries) is a highly proficient and readable one. This intelligent and intriguing study of Nelson's naval leadership, though, is definitely for the advanced student of that era, requiring some knowledge of not only the larger culture of Great Britain (as leadership opened to nonaristocrats like Nelson) but also the peculiar culture of the British navy. The latter, the author argues, arose partly from the continuity of leadership, partly from the community of seafarers and partly from the figure of Nelson (1758-1805) himself. Nicholson ranks Nelson very highly among military leaders, with a combination of technical skill, charisma and warmth in his treatment of subordinates that gave him an exceptional hold over his fleet -and made him the British image of the hero for more than a century after Trafalgar. This book ranks higher as a study of cultural concepts than it does as one of events, with the personalities lying somewhere in the middle. Students of maritime history, however, will enjoy all aspects of it as Trafalgar's October 21 bicentennial approaches. 6-city author tour. (Aug. 11) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.