Sunday, February 19, 2006

My Reading List

The Indianapolis Star runs an occasional feature in some Sunday editions called "What Hoosiers Are Reading". I decided to submit "Nelson's Trafalgar, The Battle That Changed The World". The Star ran the item this morning.

This is a great book that coincided with my third trip to southern Spain to visit my son, Alex. The interest came from our annual side trips to Gibraltar, where veterans of the Battle of Trafalgar are buried in Trafalgar Cemetary. I like to read up on the places I visit immediately before or after the trips.

Gate entrance to Gibraltar's Trafalgar Cemetary

The Battle of Trafalgar was a pivotal moment in world history, and unfortunately not well studied in the US. This was the last great naval battle involving wooden ships, but resulted because Napolean desperately wished to control the seas for a few hours so his invasion fleet could make way to Britain across the English Channel. The combined French & Spanish fleets failed to budge the British, even for a few hours. The result was British naval supremacy taht gave rise to an empire on which the sun never set.

If you enjoyed the movie Master & Commander with Russell Crowe, and especially if you have enjoyed the books by M&C author Patrick O'Brian, you'll value the graphic descriptions of life at sea while at war, in the early 19th century. An unbelievable way of life.

The book is as much a biography of Nelson, who remains popular on Gibraltar to this day, more than 200 years after his death at this battle. Posters commemorating the man were available at shops on Gibraltar last month during our visit.

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