Napoleon's Lost Fleet: Bonaparte, Nelson, and the Battle of the Nile

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9781563318313: Napoleon's Lost Fleet: Bonaparte, Nelson, and the Battle of the Nile
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August 1, 1798: Thirteen French ships sit anchored in Aboukir Bay off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt, in support of Napoleon, now ashore with the bulk of his troops. Nighttime approaches--and so do the British.

Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson has for months been hunting Napoleon at sea; now, upon his command, the English fleet opens fire on the surprised and trapped enemy. By battle's end, nearly all of the French ships are sunk or captured, and the 120-gun flagship Orient--the pride of the French navy--has exploded. With 1,700 of his men dead, Bonaparte's ability to dominate the region is crushed. Nelson becomes a hero throughout all of Britain.

Discovery Books presents Napoleon's Lost Fleet: Bonaparte, Nelson, and the Battle of the Nile, a spirited chronicle of Lord Nelson's pursuit of Napoleon as the French general set out to capture Egypt. Gifted storytellers Laura Foreman and Ellen Blue Phillips bring this great age of naval warfare to life as they recount the greed, audacity, bravery, and bloodshed that made up this, the Battle of the Nile.

With equal parts bold narrative and historical accuracy, the authors show Bonaparte and Nelson as complex and brilliant militarists destined to lead their countries to glory. That Nelson prevailed in Egypt was testament to his impudence, his highly maneuverable ships--and considerable good fortune. Despite an ill-equipped, undermanned, and financially strapped navy, Napoleon had assembled a formidable armada of 13 battleships, 300 transport vessels, and 38,000 men. His plan to conquer Egypt--which started off with a treasure-raiding stop at Malta along the way--might well have succeeded if the pursuing Nelson had not followed a hunch about Bonaparte's destination.

Following this riveting account of the chase, the battle, and the aftermath, the book takes readers far beneath Aboukir Bay with French underwater explorer Franck Goddio and his team as they dive at the site of the Orient and two other sunken French ships, the Serieuse and the Artemise. There they uncover and salvage exotic coins, artillery, personal artifacts, and other finds that speak eloquently of life at sea and at war in the late eighteenth century.

Lavishly illustrated with more than 200 extraordinary full-color photographs, expedition images, portraits, scenic paintings, and battle maps, Napoleon's Lost Fleet joins military history with cutting-edge marine archaeology to captivate all lovers of discovery.

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Review:

On August 1, 1798, Admiral Horatio Nelson and the British navy sailed into Abukir Bay, Egypt. After months of searching the Mediterranean Sea, Nelson finally had the French fleet cornered. Disregarding naval convention, Nelson readied his fleet for battle even though it was nearing evening. By the end of the next day, the French fleet was in tatters and Napoleon's flagship, the enormous Orient, had exploded with such fury that fewer than 100 of the 1,000 or so men aboard her survived. Nelson and his "Band of Brothers" had achieved a spectacular victory in what Patrick O'Brian called "the best naval battle of the millennium."

Napoleon's Lost Fleet recounts the story of the Battle of the Nile and the underwater archaeological expedition to the remains of the Orient in Abukir Bay. Lavishly illustrated, full of informative sidebars, the book careens around from topic to topic like Nelson chasing the French fleet around the Mediterranean--highlighting Napoleon, Josephine, Egyptian art, naval life, Nelson, and even Emma Hamilton. Short shrift is given to the valiant Comte de Brueys, the French admiral, who dreaded meeting the English fleet but was stranded waiting for orders from Napoleon--100 miles away in Cairo. Those caveats aside, Napoleon's Lost Fleet is a remarkably handsome volume, and the history--though haphazardly presented--is sound and accessible. Naval historians will find little new here, but armchair sea dogs and Aubrey-Maturin fans will enjoy the anecdotes, maps, and salty narrative. Anglophiles may wish to adopt an alternate title: Nelson Trounces the French, Act 1. --Sunny Delaney

From the Publisher:

Quote from Ben Weider, President of the International Napoleonic Society, and author of The Murder of Napoleon and Assassination at St. Helena Revisited:

Napoleon's Lost Fleet is a book that would interest not only Naploeonic fans but the public in general. It is fascinating that over 200 years after the event, discoverying Napoleon's Lost Fleet was a most exciting and interesting experience. The book is exciting, interesting, and highly educational, and I strongly recommend it.

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