by Colin Pengelly
Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2009. Pp. xii, 251.
Illus, map, appends., notes, biblio., index. $69.95. ISBN: 9780813033136
British military historian Pengelly gives us a life and times of Samuel Hood (1724-1816) focused on the admiral's role in the American Revolution, which takes up about half the book.
This is a very good account of the naval side of the War of the American Revolution, naturally focused on Hood's loss of the decisive naval action off the Chesapeake Bay (Sept. 15, 1781), which prevented the relief of the besieged British forces at Yorktown. Pengelly (author of The First Bellerophon, Albert Ball, VC, etc.) prefaces this with an account of Hood's early life in the Royal Navy and his role in naval operations during the Seven Years' War and follows it with the admiral's services during the French Revolution. Along the way, Pengelly throws light on careerism, life, and service in the Royal Navy during the great sea wars of the eighteenth century.
A good read for anyone interested in the American Revolution, naval warfare in the age of sail, or the social and political life of the Royal Navy