The Autobiography of a Seaman

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Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, 1st Marquess of Maranh o, GCB, ODM, styled Lord Cochrane between 1778 and 1831, was a Scottish naval flag officer of the Royal Navy and radical politician.He was a daring and successful captain of the Napoleonic Wars, leading the French to nickname him Le Loup des Mers The Sea Wolf.He was dismissed from the Royal Navy in 1814, following a convic

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  • Paperback
  • 388 pages
  • The Autobiography of a Seaman
  • Thomas Cochrane
  • English
  • 23 November 2018
  • 9781585740611

10 thoughts on “The Autobiography of a Seaman

  1. says:

    One of my favorite 90s bands, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion spat lyrics that often included their band name or shrilled, You gonna know my name , as if they were doing their own advertising right there and then, in song, because if you don t blow your own hornfuck, no one else will.That s how it was back in the old days You had to toot your own flute to get ahead, and sometimes just to get your own, your just desserts Military leaders of the past especially had to head up their own public relations Some had rich and influential friends and relations who might round out the PR team, but mostly it was DIY.Such were the times for Admiral Lord Cochrane, one of the courageous and daring British naval captains during the Napoleonic Wars Forester s Hornblower series and Patrick O Brian s long running Master and Commander series both modeled their heros after Cochrane So exciting was his career, little in the way of fiction needed to be invented by either writer And so effective was Cochrane against the enemy, that the French named him The Sea Wolf and that notorious megalomaniac Napoleon would write about him in his post war diaries.Never heard of Cochrane Well there are reasons for thatHaving served aboard numerous ships, Lord Cochrane gained insight into the workings of the navy and had ideas to improve matters To do so, one needed to change laws, so he took up politics, joining the House of Lords However, Cochrane s ideas for change pigeon holed him as a naval reformer It was a bad name as far as his bosses at the Admiralty were concerned A reformer was a radical and those were considered as dangerous as liberals to conservatives But all Cochrane wanted was to do away with naval excess and costly dockyard practices, namely the thievery and bribery undermining the service All the same, this made him an enemy of the establishment, who saw nothing wrong with the way things worked Cochrane, having some of his father s inventiveness in him, was also known as an innovator Along with radical , innovator was another scarlet letter stamp Again, this sounds like it should be a good thing However, the British Navy was fond of tradition and not fond of anything that might disturb the old ways They d been successful up to that point and you don t fix what ain t broke huff huff, grunt and grumbleThe situation is almost too absurd Here was this brilliant young naval officer evading ships of the line, harrying the enemies coast and halting its trade, disrupting the progress of enemy troops, taking ships six times the size of his own in tonnage, crew and armament, and yet his achievements were constantly overlooked, his commendations for junior officers ignored In essence, he was doing all and that the British Navy asked of their captains and they just wanted him to go away Very shabby treatment indeed Ah, if only his politics aligned with the crusty old gents lining their pockets with the King s gold, a good deal of which belonged in the pockets of the officers and sailors for doing all the dirty work as was the custom of the service, which might be conveniently overlooked now and then or out and out ignored if a technicality could be grasped upon There s hypocrite defined for you.One of the most egregious cases of discrimination against Cochrane came when he once came up with a smart way in which to keep ships afloat longer, which was summarily shot down regardless of its merits When the same idea was later presented by an unrelated 3rd party, the money saving idea was accepted and was about to be implemented right up until it was discovered it was Cochrane s idea, and the whole thing was scrapped The Tory government preferred to lose money and ships rather than use the opposition s ideas And if ships sunk faster, the shipbuilders providing His Majesty with new ships certainly were in favor of the status quo That s politics.Much of Lord Cochrane s The Autobiography of a Seaman rails against such naval abuses and laments the aforementioned discrimination RECORD SCRATCH Hold your horses, Koivu you might be thinking How much sympathy and assistance does an admiral and lord need or even deserve In the case of Cochrane, much His lordship was a nobleman in name alone, being that he was the second son of a father who spent the entirety of his fortune on inventions that never struck gold His promotion to admiral only came years later as the government and its practices changed, and even then it took a pardon by the Crown to reinstate him so he could gain his admiral s flag By now, if you re still reading this review, I d say this book might be for you It can only be recommended to those who ve enjoyed the kind of historical naval fiction as mentioned above or by those who love pure naval history at its rawest For herein are described, without affecting much drama, events like the burning of a ship that took over 600 lives No sir, no melodrama shall be employed The narrative uses a dry descriptive style similar to one Cochrane would ve used in his official dispatches to his superior officers Having said that, he does thankfully lace in a little colorful detail than those officers would ve thought proper Granted, by modern standards this is dry and most readers not used to such plain language may be bored If you want to attempt it anyway, I suggest keeping an ear open for the true meaning of his mild language in order to visualize, for instance, the carnage he is suppressing Think of it in the same way you imagine the horrific scenes Hitchcock refrained from showing in his films When Cochrane says a sailor was cut down by shot a concentrated cluster of large marble sized lead balls or that a soldier fell fifty feet from a wall and was in bad shape , you can freely imagine the worst.The sea actions described are interesting to those eager for insight into war stratagem Cochrane s fight against the Admiralty and Tory government might intrigue political historians Everyone else might want to pass on this one, though it would be a shame not to get to know a historical figure so deserving of our remembrances, one who fought against a tyrant who himself stated how much effective Cochrane would have been had he the support of his own government Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald YOU GONNA KNOW MY NAAAAMMME

  2. says:

    The Autobiography of a Seaman would be an interesting addition to a historical reference library, but I would not recommend it for Entertainment reading Lord Cochrane dryly describes his seafaring ventures in a catalogic manner, reserving emotion for his dealings with various naval and government authorities and defending himself from same That being said, fans of various fictitious British sailing officers owe quite a lot to Lord Cochrane s exploits and will recognize many of the adventures of those officers as being gleaned from his account I listened to Volume 1 only, on Librivox, and have not been able to ascertain if there is a Volume 2 under the same general title or if Lord Cochrane s Narrative of Services in the Liberation of Chili, Peru and Brazil, from Spanish and Portuguese Domination constitutes the second volume, as I believe it does.

  3. says:

    Amazing book, this man s life is eventful than any fictional character, you have to keep reminding yourself that this is not fiction.

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