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The Age Of Fighting Sail: The Story of the Naval War of 1812 [Paperback]

By Cecil Scott Forester (Author) & C. S. Forester (Author)
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Item description for The Age Of Fighting Sail: The Story of the Naval War of 1812 by Cecil Scott Forester & C. S. Forester...

No one has been so well equipped as C. S. Forester to dramatize the sea battles of the War of 1812, to characterize the heroes more skillfully, or to comprehend more shrewdly the world unrest that made it possible for an infant republic to embarrass a great nation rich in one hundred years of sea triumphs.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Chapman Billies
Pages   284
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2004
Publisher   Chapman Billies
ISBN  0939218062  
ISBN13  9780939218066  

Availability  0 units.

More About Cecil Scott Forester & C. S. Forester

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Cecil Scott "C.S." Forester, born in Cairo in August 1899, was the fifth and last child of George Foster Smith and Sarah Medhurst Troughton. After finishing school at Dulwich College he attended Guy's Medical School but failed to finish the course, preferring to write than study. However, it was not until he was aged twenty-seven that he earned enough from his writing to live on.During the Second World War, Forester moved to the United States where he met a young British intelligence officer named Roald Dahl, whom he encouraged to write about his experiences in the RAF.Forester's most notable works were the Horatio Hornblower series, which depicted a Royal Navy officer during the Napoleonic era, and "The African Queen" (filmed in 1951 by John Huston). His novels "A Ship of the Line "and "Flying Colours" were jointly awarded the 1938 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction.

C. S. Forester lived in the state of California. C. S. Forester was born in 1899 and died in 1966.

C. S. Forester has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Hornblower Saga (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 19th Century > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Military > Naval
4Books > Subjects > History > World > General
5Books > Subjects > History > World
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Government > Constitutions

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Age Of Fighting Sail: The Story of the Naval War of 1812?

In Constitution's Wake  Mar 4, 2006

It does not surprise that so many historical observations have been submitted for the Age of Fighting Sail, C.S. Forester's excellent narrative surrounding the War of 1812.

Yet, even so, one grasps immediately from 'Old Ironsides,' USS Constitution, gracing the cover through the entire telling of the tale, the secret love of the author for the sea and the tall sailing ships.

Details mass themselves in tightly written chapters like unrelenting waves against the hull of an ocean-going vessel.

Almost incidentally one submits with the writer to the neccessities of outlining and reporting the developments, execution and conclusions of this second major confrontation between the Master of the Seas and her estranged child, come back to haunt her once more.

Impressment was the flashpoint of this conflict, though other issues led up to the explosion that began as an aside from the main occupation of England, France's delinquent, Monsieur Bonaparte.

Though President Madison finally relents on his initial adamant stand against England's practice of high seas slavery, wearily succombing to pressures as the war wages on, his original objection resonates with the Americans and gives them the purpose to lash out once again at anyone opposed to freedom, perhaps especially of the seas.

The author neatly knits the disparate tableaux of land and sea warfare into a tapestry that nearly brings the reader to long for an earlier more seemingly gallant era, unentangled by modern technology. But Mr. Forester, then wisely, once capturing his audience, shoves them face first into the realities of battle, and cold, and snow and ice that repel the brittle romantic conjectures that so easily shatter gainst the incessant waves of reality.

Storyteller first and foremost, Mr. Forester ladles out ample historical mounds of jots and tittles to keep the reader entranced. All the while, dispassionately dissecting the fears and ambitions of all, painting his own canvas in his own time.

Those interested in the drydocks of historical record will be satiated. But they shall receive their enlightenment with the unnerving sense that the decks below their feet are none the less moving. And one who could not accept the simple black and white of documentation, had instead sailed out of harbor for the broad, blue and widening sea.

TL Farley,
When Now Becomes Too Late,
Distant Reaches

When Now Becomes Too Late
{ Prophecy : The Rapture in Brief, Inside The Twinkle ! }

Distant Reaches
{ True Life Adventure in Ireland, Boston and on the North Atlantic }

Short Summary and Thoughts  Dec 9, 2005
This was a very intriguing book about the U.S./British naval battles in the war of 1812. The author, C.S. Forester, takes you into very good detail on the tactics and movements each side uses for almost every specific battle between the two countries on the water. It was exciting to see the United States Navy begin to defeat the Royal Navy when they reigned over the waters for decades and decdes before, especially when the US government and citizens wouldn't buy into at first, thinking their ships were much bigger and that it was only a fluke. I found this book incredible for the quality of detail and unbaised account of the war on the waters. It really brings you into the battle and gets you excited instead of making it seem like you're reading history from a textbook. I also liked how he jumped from battle to battle, but made it easy to put in order. I would read C.S. Forester's books any day.
good for a British perspective on American naval victories  Nov 21, 2005
This history's main virtues are that it is well written, truly a delightful narrative, and that it provides Forester's brutally objective perspective as an Englishman criticizing Britain for its superiority complex regarding naval warfare and the absolute shock that registered with the British when American ships starting beating the Royal Navy in single-ship engagements. Forester skilfully weaves in the implications for British manning of her ships, gunnery training, and the harsh naval justice system and shows how later reforms owed their origins to the upstart Americans.

The work's principal flaw has been noted by others and deals with things outside the narrative: the lack of diagrams of naval engagements and detailed maps. The current publisher, Chapman Billies, should have sprung for a decent graphic artist, which would have made visualizing the battles significantly easier. As it is, Forester's text assumes too much retained knowledge on the part of the reader. Overall, this is worth your time for those interested in this period and in 'fighting sail.'
Ian Myles Slater on: A Wide-Ranging Narrative  Jan 5, 2005
Forester's sober, but generally fast-moving, account of the Anglo-American naval war of 1812 has had a mixed reception from historians over the nearly fifty years since its first publication. Looking at bibliographies and suggested readings in several volumes, I noted that one ignores it, while another grants that, "as to be expected from the creator of Hornblower," it is enjoyable reading.

(Actually, it is rather far from the Hornblower narratives, which are in surprisingly large part about the inner life of the shy, sensitive, Gibbon-reading hero, who happens to be, to his own constant surprise, a resourceful and highly-effective naval warrior. Forester does describe Hornblower's naval engagements at a level of detail not found in the history, which is not much longer than one of the novels.)

It has also been described as "potted Mahan," which under-emphasizes every subsequent historian's debt to the Admiral to suggest that Forester was especially susceptible. Another writer -- with whom I am in agreement -- points out that "The Age of Fighting Sail" is one of the few accounts of the naval war to emphasize that it was closely related to the war on land, and not some set of uniquely nautical events. (Which is what Mahan argued about naval wars in general; why complain that Forester had learned it better than others?).

At least a few have noted that Forester made some points, not by laborious argument with elaborate documentation, but, even more effectively, by quoting relevant passages from the Duke of Wellington's correspondence -- a contemporary authority of some considerable weight, but not often mentioned in this context. Whether or not his advice to get out of the war had a decisive influence in London, it is a telling example of the impression the conflict made on a hard-headed strategist. Especially when American privateers had complicated life for British diplomats, with embarrassing illustrations that Britain did not exactly rule the waves unchallenged, even after Napoleon was gone.

Forester gives a good idea of the shock value of a series of American victories in single-ship encounters, which the Royal Navy had long counted on winning as a matter of course. The accounts of some of the individual engagements are actually quite clear -- if you have read other, properly illustrated versions. Which brings us to a problem which is probably not Forester's fault.

A series of publishers have not, I fear, ever given the book the proper treatment. In 1956 it needed, and it still needs, a good bibliography, a very detailed index, usable maps, and diagrams of the naval engagements. In effect, it has fallen somewhere between, on one side, the academic history or text-book, either of which would have its load of "apparatus," and, on the other, the purely popular book, with lots of illustrations (good or bad). And it has received neither.

So I have to agree to some extent with those who refer to Theodore Roosevelt's 1882 account of "The Naval War of 1812," which has the kind of documentation and diagrams Forester's account doesn't. Of course, it also has Roosevelt's personal war with nineteenth-century historiography, both British (competent, but heavy with bias) and American (often not even competent). For those seriously interested, it had a very nice paperback edition from Da Capo Press, in 1999. Just keep in mind that it now over a century out of date. (By the way, Forester seems to me to have read Roosevelt with care; so much for just re-writing Mahan.)

Another Da Capo reprint, from 1995, John R. Elting's "Amateurs, To Arms! A Military History of the War of 1812" (originally 1991) attempts to integrate naval and land strategy, primarily from the Army's viewpoint. It has a much more up-to-date bibliography than Roosevelt, obviously. Elting too has to spend time clearing away patriotic myths; this time Canadian as well.

One thing that Forester does not deal with is the causes of the war. A long tradition of American historiography has looked to domestic reasons, including land-hungry westerners with designs on Canada. Bradford Perkins' "Prologue to War: England and the United States, 1805-1812," detailing the animosities and frictions, gives the impression that the real question is not why a war took place, but why it happened then, after being avoided for so long.

Oh yes. I can hardly imagine trying to digest Forester's prose in an audio format, although I'm sure that, properly read, it sounds great.
Somewhat disapointing, difficult read  Dec 20, 2004
As a devout Patrick O'Brian fan, I was curious to read a Forrester book for the inevitable time when I am finished with the Aubrey/Maturin series. I was frankly, surprised I did not enjoy this authors style at all. I found this work tedious and difficult to follow. A few times I considered quitting. However, I wanted to give Forrester a try. Perhaps just personal style.

In his attemt to write a purely non-fictional account of the naval War of 1812, Forrester does a good job of noting the political and strategic movements of the naval conflict to a fine degree, often citing WW1 and WW2 engagements that were simmilar. This, for me was the best part of the book.

However I found I was unable to follow his attempts at describing the tactical ship movements, unless the reader has some prior knowledge of the engagments; i.e. Constitution vs Java, I feel the reader will be lost. This is made more difficult without any accompaning diagrams or maps. I found I was going to Teddy Roosevelt's Naval war of 1812 to get a clear picture. In addition to lack of diagrams for the ship to ship duels, the book also does not have any detailed maps-the one in the beginning is woefully inadequate.

I wonder if the Fictional Hornblower series is as difficult?

Anyway, one would be much better off with the excellent: Naval War of 1812 by Theodore Roosevelt if looking for a historical non-fictional acoount of the 1812 war at sea.

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