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The Navy of Britain

By: Michael Lewis (710/36015)
Publisher: George Allen and Unwin Ltd
From the John Laffin Library

This book is a history, not of Britain’s sea-power, but of that great institution which has implemented it-the Navy of Britain. Again, it is a history, not of the Royal Navy alone (though that holds and important place in it), but of something much wider and of even greater national importance. It shows how dangerous it is – and, historically, how wrong – to attempt to dissociate the Royal Navy from its “natural reserves,” since from the very earliest days of our history all have been interwoven in one common pattern, all sprung from common parents, all fostering common traditions, all seeking common ends. So this book does not follow the plan that the thoughtless might expect, and deal first with the R.N., then with the R.N.R., then with the E.N.V.R., and so on. Such vertical cuts are meaningless in the eye of History. The divisions, rather are horizontal. “Origins,” “Ships”’ “Officers,” “Men,” “Management,” “In Action” – these are its big headings.

It is written for those who might be expected from nature of the case to be interested-the officers and men of the Royal Navy, and the officers and men of the Reserves who have known the sea life at first hand. But it is also meant-perhaps most of all-for the ordinary citizens who have not. These are the men and women who thought the centuries have benefited from the faithful services of their Navy-that cross-section of themselves, the whole Navy of Britain. Here is set out for them the story of this great national heritage which, more than any one other, has changed their little island into a World Empire, and saved it, without fail or fuss, from every tyrant who has threatened it from the days of Philip of Spain to those of Hitler.

December 2008


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