Until the publication of The Wooden World the
British Navy in the eighteenth century was one of the great puzzles
of history The traditional picture is of a floating hell, manned
by miserably paid wretches, cowed by the lash and almost permanently
drunk. How then did it achieve a fighting record of brilliant
success and a reputation for formidable efficiency?
The Wooden World brilliantly dissects eighteenth-century
naval society, lays out clearly how the Navy worked, and what
life was really like below decks. The picture Nicholas Rodger
paints not only completely overturns the traditional view, but
is probably one of the most complete portraits we have of a navy
of any age.