Help support TMP

"Book recommendations please" Topic

10 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Age of Sail Message Board

Areas of Interest

18th Century
19th Century

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Top-Rated Ruleset

Featured Showcase Article

Oddzial Osmy's 15mm Teutonic Crossbowmen 1410

The next Teutonic Knights unit - Crossbowmen!

963 hits since 11 Mar 2023
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

TMP logo


Please sign in to your membership account, or, if you are not yet a member, please sign up for your free membership account.
Bozkashi Jones11 Mar 2023 4:42 a.m. PST

I'm still relatively new to Age of Sail, and certainly new to the idea of fleet actions – like many, my focus hitherto has been small ship actions, for which I have the excellent 'Sea Warriors' as my touchstone.

Can anyone recommend a good book covering the larger actions please? I'm looking for a sort of Woodman for ships of the line, if that makes sense? Ideally it should be focussed on the campaigns and battles, with maps of the movements, deployments and orders of battle.

I don't need the political side – I already have some good books on the political and social side of the era.

Most books, naturally, are dominated by Nelson and everything revolves around him, so I'm looking for something that gives equal prominence to the other major commanders, British, Spanish and French.

I'm looking at several books on Amazon, but the descriptions and reviews don't really tell me if they are the books I'm looking for.

Many thanks,


Big Red Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2023 6:24 a.m. PST

The Trafalgar Companion by Mark Adkin is a great place to start.

The books by Sam Willis on the naval side of the American War of Independance and the Napoleonic era are also excellent.

Lieutenant Lockwood11 Mar 2023 6:53 a.m. PST

+1 Big Red

Andrew LA11 Mar 2023 7:13 a.m. PST

I quite enjoyed Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail by Bernard Ireland


colkitto11 Mar 2023 9:29 a.m. PST

Not sure if this is quite what you want, but have you considered Bryan Tunstall's Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail? And there's always John Clerk of Eldin's contemporary armchair tactics (An Inquiry … ) But for details of actual actions there was a series of profusely illustrated large hardbacks covering the AWI and the French wars – trying to recall the titles as I don't have them to hand!

colkitto11 Mar 2023 9:37 a.m. PST

The Chatham Pictorial History series, such as this (pretty cheap!):


Blutarski11 Mar 2023 12:57 p.m. PST

Hi Nick,
A couple of suggestions …

1 – Take a subscription to "Naval Review". They maintain a downloadable PDF archive, accessible to members, of every article published over the Review's one hundred year publication history. It is a treasure trove of RN history in general. In terms of the Age of Sail you will find a number of very detailed (and lengthy) monographs on major AoS campaigns and battles. It might still be possible to scan the archive contents as a non-member.

2 – Go to the British Library EThOS on-line archive –
You must register yourself, but the service is totally free.
You will find Sam Willis's doctoral thesis free for D/L. The original doctoral thesis of John Brooks is also there.
A bit of time spent searching the collection under keyword "naval" will turn up a number of documents that will doubtless be of interest. Everything selected is immediately sent as a PDF download to your email … and it is fast.

Re big naval battles, I find the older 19thC histories useful; check for these books, so you don't need to pay for them -

> "Naval History of Great Britain" by Wm James – Volumes I-IV cover from 1794 through 1814. His coverage of the Glorious 1st of June is pretty good.

> "The Royal Navy" by W L Clowes (7 volumes?)

> "Battles of the British Navy" by Joseph Allen (2 volumes)
Covers from the late Dutch Wars through Navarino.

- – - – -

"The History of Naval Tactics" by RAdm S S Robison USN – A good reference if you can find it for a reasonable price, written by a former Commander in Chief of the U S Fleet.

"Admiral Satan" by Roderick Cavalliero – the only book I know of that focuses upon Suffren's Coromandel Campaign. Excellent reference, but hard to find and not cheap.

"Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail" by Brian Tunstall (did we talk about this once in the recent past?)

"Nelson and the Nile" by Brian Lavery.

"Admiral De Grasse and American Independence", by Charles Lee Lewis

"The Naval Campaigns of Count De Grasse during the American Revolution", Tornquist (translation by Amandus Johnson)

"A Narrative of the Battle of St Vincent" by Col. Drinkwater Bethune

"The Struggle for Sea Power – A Naval History of the American Revolution" by Sam Willis

"British Admirals of the Eighteenth Century" by John Creswell.

"The French Navy and American Independence – A Study of Arms and Diplomacy 1774-1787" by Jonathan R Dull.

- – - – -

And the old popular histories, inexpensive nowadays -
"Battle of Saint Vincent and Camperdown" by Christopher Lloyd.
"The Glorious First of June" by Oliver Warner.
"The Battle of the Nile" by Oliver Warner.



Bozkashi Jones24 Mar 2023 4:48 a.m. PST

Sorry for the delay in coming back and expressing thanks.

Colkitto – thanks for the link – ordered!

Blutarski – brilliant suggestions, thank you. I hadn't thought about C19th books on the subject but there are so many gems online (I'm currently reading through 'An Essay on Naval Tactics' by John Clerk which has an absolute wealth of technical detail useful to wargaming and analysis of many engagements.

I do have a copy of 'Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail' by Brian Tunstall but it seems to have been misplaced during a house move.

Cheers to all,


EdwardMendez29 Dec 2023 6:06 a.m. PST

Thank you so much for the recommendations! I was looking for something like this to read, because I have a creative writing class, and I need to read after writing a paper. So such books are perfect for me. I like such tasks because I still have difficulties with writing, and I use the help of pretty often because I don't want to miss the deadline. But with such tasks, it's easier, because if I like what I read, I like the task, then it's not a big problem for me to finish it.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.