Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Rodney and the breaking of the line

I can't say too much about this book by Peter Trew, I loved it and it is probably the best book I have read in a long time. If you're into the mid eighteenth century, this book is packed with a lot of the big names from Cornwallis, Byng, Hood, Bougainville and, of course, Rodney himself. We follow Rodney from his early career, through political success and failure as well as those in his naval career. Much of the content focuses on the fight against the French in the Caribbean and also the catastrophic events off the coast of Yorktown under the command of Rodney's subordinates. What would have happened if Rodney was there instead of being unwell on his way back to England?
After the event, he returns to the Caribbean to finally deal with the French at the battle of the Saintes, where he 'breaks the line'. The account of this in the book is absolutely riveting.
Bad decisions and political enemies finally result in Rodney finishing life in obscurity and relative poverty like so many other larger than life historical characters.