Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain's Greatest Frigate Captain
by Stephen Taylor
W.W. Norton & Co., 2012. 307 pgs. Nonfiction
In a career spanning several decades, from the American Revolution to the fall of Napoleon in 1815, the life of Edward Pellew was the stuff of novels. Indeed, he is regarded by many as the basis for the main character in Patrick O'brian's Jack Aubrey series. Like that character, he proves himself to be a excellent sailor and ship commander, though saddled with a talent for making enemies among other fleet commanders and flag officers. In a service where patronage and promoting favorites is practically de regueur, he shamelessly promoted his sons to positions of command. However, his courage, fighting spirit and luck made him a national hero until Lord Nelson supplanted him. This is a very engaging and entertaining read. I highly recommend this for any fans of of history or naval adventure stories. It reads well as both.