100 books like Broadsides

By James Davey, Richard Johns,

Here are 100 books that Broadsides fans have personally recommended if you like Broadsides. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Nelson's Navy: The Ships, Men and Organisation, 1793 - 1815

Julian Stockwin Author Of Balkan Glory

From my list on understanding the Age of Sail.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wanted to go to the sea ever since I can remember. In the hope of having the nonsense knocked out of me, my father sent me at the tender age of fourteen to the ‘Indefatigable’, a tough sea-training school. This only strengthened my resolve for a life at sea, and I joined the Royal Navy at 15. My family emigrated and I transferred to the Royal Australian Navy and saw service around the world.  Although I no longer have an active involvement with the navy, I sail in my imagination through my sea-faring novels.

Julian's book list on understanding the Age of Sail

Julian Stockwin Why did Julian love this book?

This book holds a special place in my bookshelves. Reprinted many times it is a classic reference to the period. Lavery’s description of life at sea is unparalleled, depicting a world far removed from the hardships and cruelty that is often attributed to conditions on the lower deck.

By Brian Lavery,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nelson's Navy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Patrick O'Brien provides the forward to this edition of the most successful Conway Maritime title. This book is the perfect guide to Nelson's Navy for all those with an interest in the workings of the great fleet. The book is eminently readable and is the first single-volume work to cover in such depth this vast and complex subject. Written by one of the world's leading authorities on the sailing navy the book contains considerable original research to give a clear and authentic picture of the Senior Service as a whole. With a foreword by one of the most successful maritime…


Book cover of Seamanship in the Age of Sail: An Account of the Shiphandling of the Sailing Man-of-War 1600-1860

Julian Stockwin Author Of Balkan Glory

From my list on understanding the Age of Sail.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wanted to go to the sea ever since I can remember. In the hope of having the nonsense knocked out of me, my father sent me at the tender age of fourteen to the ‘Indefatigable’, a tough sea-training school. This only strengthened my resolve for a life at sea, and I joined the Royal Navy at 15. My family emigrated and I transferred to the Royal Australian Navy and saw service around the world.  Although I no longer have an active involvement with the navy, I sail in my imagination through my sea-faring novels.

Julian's book list on understanding the Age of Sail

Julian Stockwin Why did Julian love this book?

A useful companion to Lavery’s Nelson’s Navy – my personal copy is quite well-thumbed! The book offers a definitive guide to every aspect of the handling of a man-of-war, explaining just how the ships of Nelson’s navy were actually sailed. Superb line drawings by the maritime artist Mark Myers enhance the text. 

By John Harland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seamanship in the Age of Sail as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Numerous successful reprints of contemporary works on rigging and seamanship indicate the breadth of interest in the lost art of handling square-rigged ships. Model makers, marine painters, and enthusiasts need to know not only how the ships were rigged but how much sail was set in each condition of wind and sea, how the various maneuvers were carried out, and the intricacies of operations like reefing sails or 'catting' an anchor.

John Harland has provided what is undeniably the most thorough book on handling square-rigged ships. Because of his facility in a remarkable range of languages, Harland has been able…


Book cover of Jack Tar

Katie Daysh Author Of Leeward

From my list on to get lost at sea with.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author of queer historical fiction and I love to explore stories set on the sea. I adore the drama of it, the beauty, the awe, the timelessness, and the wild backdrop that allows characters to confront themselves and their journeys. Having lived by the sea all my life on an island rich with nautical and smuggling history, it has never been far away from me. I like to read a mixture of fiction and non-fiction; both have strongly influenced my own writing. The books on this list capture the diverse reasons I am drawn to sea tales!

Katie's book list on to get lost at sea with

Katie Daysh Why did Katie love this book?

A lot of the fiction and non-fiction around the Age of Sail and the Georgian navy focuses on the officers and the larger battles, so this book, discussing the lives of ordinary sailors, is very refreshing.

I read it for research for my own writing and really enjoyed the excerpts from the letters and other documents of the diverse groups of men (and women) who sailed on the ships of the line.

There is an intimacy there of seeing how these various stories and lives played out against the backdrop of wider events and political issues. It is something I always bear in mind while writing my own (fictional) narratives. 

By Roy Adkins,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Jack Tar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Royal Navy to which Admiral Lord Nelson sacrificed his life depended on thousands of sailors and marines to man the great wind-powered wooden warships. Drawn from all over Britain and beyond, often unwillingly, these ordinary men made the navy invincible through skill, courage and sheer determination. They cast a long shadow, with millions of their descendants alive today, and many of their everyday expressions, such as 'skyscraper' and 'loose cannon', continuing to enrich our language. Yet their contribution is frequently overlooked, while the officers became celebrities. JACK TAR gives these forgotten men a voice in an exciting, enthralling, often…


Book cover of Nelson's Navy in 100 Objects

Julian Stockwin Author Of Balkan Glory

From my list on understanding the Age of Sail.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wanted to go to the sea ever since I can remember. In the hope of having the nonsense knocked out of me, my father sent me at the tender age of fourteen to the ‘Indefatigable’, a tough sea-training school. This only strengthened my resolve for a life at sea, and I joined the Royal Navy at 15. My family emigrated and I transferred to the Royal Australian Navy and saw service around the world.  Although I no longer have an active involvement with the navy, I sail in my imagination through my sea-faring novels.

Julian's book list on understanding the Age of Sail

Julian Stockwin Why did Julian love this book?

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy was the largest employer in the world. It maintained a fleet of close on 1,000 ships, including over 100 line-of-battle ships, and was responsible for the entire organisation of maintaining them at sea. Through his evocative selection of 100 objects Glover takes you back in time to share his admiration for a golden age when Britain ruled the seas.

By Gareth Glover,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nelson's Navy in 100 Objects as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Royal Navy of Nelson's time was such a huge organisation, that it is sometimes hard to comprehend its full scope. Indeed, during the Napoleonic Wars it was by far the largest employer in the entire world.

Not only did the Royal Navy maintain a fleet of close on 1,000 ships, including over 100 line of battle ships, but it was also responsible for the entire organisation of maintaining them at sea. From the recruitment of crews, the maintenance and protection of bases throughout the world, the production and delivery of food supplies to feed this vast fleet and the…


Book cover of The Age of Caricature: Satirical Prints in the Reign of George III

Emma Macleod Author Of A War of Ideas: British Attitudes to the Wars Against Revolutionary France, 1792-1802

From my list on British political debate in the age of revolutions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by what people make of political events at home and abroad. The rapid expansion of public opinion in later eighteenth-century Britain, in tandem with the explosion of the press—newspapers, books, sermons, plays, poetry, novels, magazines, and cartoons—makes it a wonderful period to explore. People in the past were no less complex and sophisticated than we are; they simply lived in different circumstances, opportunities, and constraints, with different assumptions and priorities. My British Visions of America, 1775–1820 (2013) also deals with the British trying to understand foreign affairs, while The Wodrow-Kenrick Correspondence, 1750–1810, eds Fitzpatrick, Macleod and Page is full of events at home and abroad.

Emma's book list on British political debate in the age of revolutions

Emma Macleod Why did Emma love this book?

What’s not to love about eighteenth-century cartoons?! They are a brilliant way to understand at least some strands of public opinion on all kinds of issues, and I’m all about trying to understand what people were thinking and why.

This is a wonderful book, which contains a wealth of colour plates of graphic satires by James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson, and many less well-known names. Their subjects range from political crises and the monarchy to fashion and manners to the role of the crowd.

It’s not just a catalogue of images with captions, though: it’s a really substantial discussion of the emergence and role of the genre of pictorial satire in the reign of King George III (1760–1820) and how to ‘read’ these images. 

By Diana Donald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Age of Caricature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The late eighteenth century in England was the first great age of cartooning, and English caricature prints of the period have long been enjoyed for their humor and vitality. Now Diana Donald presents the first major study of these caricatures, which challenges many assumptions about them. She shows that they were a widely disseminated form of political expression and propaganda as subtle and eloquent as the written word.

Donald analyzes the meanings of the prints, applying current perspectives on the eighteenth century about the changing roles of women and constructions of gender, the alleged rise of a consumer society, the…


Book cover of Mr. Madison's War: Politics, Diplomacy, and Warfare in the Early American Republic, 1783-1830

Carl Benn Author Of A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812: John Norton - Teyoninhokarawen

From my list on the War of 1812 for five-volume essential library.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a history professor at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). Before becoming a full-time academic, I worked in the museum field for 34 years where much of my work occurred at Historic Fort York. It dates from 1793, but the site today mainly contains War of 1812 buildings and fortifications constructed between 1813 and 1815. During my time there, I developed the artefact collection, curated exhibits, and served as the historical expert in the re-restoration of the grounds and eight heritage structures (which included a 20-year archaeological project associated with the restoration work). Beyond my museum career, four of my books focus on the Anglo-American conflict of 1812-1815.

Carl's book list on the War of 1812 for five-volume essential library

Carl Benn Why did Carl love this book?

This study is by far the best single-volume history of the war. John Stagg is a prolific, American-based historian, known in particular for his leadership in editing the Papers of James Madison, the president who took his country to war with Great Britain in 1812. Dr. Stagg’s book covers all the important themes about the conflict, and, despite having been published in 1983, has not been superseded. Anyone wanting a strong, detailed, and complete study could not find a better option. 

Mr. Madison’s War is, however, a serious academic study, so some readers might find it “hard-going.” There are other one-volume studies of the conflict in print, but most of them strike me as being more than a little deficient. Two of the most accessible and reliable standard-length overviews for those unwilling to take on John Stagg are J.M. Hitsman’s The Incredible War of 1812, updated and edited by…

By John Charles Anderson Stagg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mr. Madison's War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Description for this book, Mr. Madison's War: Politics, Diplomacy, and Warfare in the Early American Republic, 1783-1830, will be forthcoming.


Book cover of The Routledge Handbook of the War of 1812

Carl Benn Author Of A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812: John Norton - Teyoninhokarawen

From my list on the War of 1812 for five-volume essential library.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a history professor at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). Before becoming a full-time academic, I worked in the museum field for 34 years where much of my work occurred at Historic Fort York. It dates from 1793, but the site today mainly contains War of 1812 buildings and fortifications constructed between 1813 and 1815. During my time there, I developed the artefact collection, curated exhibits, and served as the historical expert in the re-restoration of the grounds and eight heritage structures (which included a 20-year archaeological project associated with the restoration work). Beyond my museum career, four of my books focus on the Anglo-American conflict of 1812-1815.

Carl's book list on the War of 1812 for five-volume essential library

Carl Benn Why did Carl love this book?

There are an enormous range of themes associated with the War of 1812, from the war’s social contexts to Black history, to the Treaty of Ghent that ended the conflict, to the war’s place in history and memory, and many other topics. In a five-book essential list, they can’t be covered adequately, but readers may turn to essay collections to examine a good number of these concerns. This volume is the best of such collections, with most of its essays having been written by leading experts in the field. It also captures a good sense of the understanding of the war at the time of its bicentennial years of 2012-15 when historical interest was particularly strong and when scholars re-evaluated many of our commonly held assumptions. Now, ten years on, these essays have held up well. One word of warning, however: the chronology looks authoritative but isn’t. Some of the…

By Donald R. Hickey (editor), Connie D. Clark (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Routledge Handbook of the War of 1812 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The War of 1812 ranged over a remarkably large territory, as the fledgling United States battled Great Britain at sea and on land across what is now the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada. Native people and the Spanish were also involved in the war's interrelated conflicts. Often overlooked, the War of 1812 has been the subject of an explosion of new research over the past twenty-five years. The Routledge Handbook of the War of 1812 brings together the insights of this research through an array of fresh essays by leading scholars in the field, offering an overview of…


Book cover of Defender of Canada, Volume 40: Sir George Prevost and the War of 1812

Jonathon Riley Author Of A Matter of Honour: The Life, Campaigns and Generalship of Isaac Brock

From my list on the War of 1812 and Canadian sacrifice for freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I served for 40 years in the British Army, including many tours of active duty. I commanded operations in every rank, from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant General. I had the privilege of commanding not only British troops, but also troops from the USA, Canada, Australia, and more. I was Director-General and Master of the Royal Armouries and since 2013 I have been Visiting Professor in War Studies at King’s College London. I hold three degrees including a PhD. I've published more than 20 books and numerous articles. I continue to learn new things from history every day, as well as passing on our history to others, and that’s what books are all about.

Jonathon's book list on the War of 1812 and Canadian sacrifice for freedom

Jonathon Riley Why did Jonathon love this book?

John Grodzinski was a career army officer in the Canadian military and a professor of history at the RMC. He is also a personal friend of many years. His subject, Sir George Prevost, is one of the neglected heroes of the War of 1812. He was neglected at the time, as the attention of the Government in London was far more engaged by Napoleon than President Madison; neglected thereafter in favour of more glamorous subjects. But it was Prevost’s defensive plans and actions that preserved Canada from the American invasions of 181. Much went wrong as well as right thereafter, and Prevost took the blame. John Grod’s book provides a thoroughly balanced look at what actually happened and why. Having myself been in command of a theatre of military operations far from home, I understand the stresses and strains, and the loneliness of command that Prevost knew all too well.

By John R. Grodzinski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Defender of Canada, Volume 40 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When war broke out between Great Britain and the United States in 1812, Sir George Prevost, captain general and governor in chief of British North America, was responsible for defending a group of North American colonies that stretched as far as the distance from Paris to Moscow. He also commanded one of the largest British overseas forces during the Napoleonic Wars. Defender of Canada, the first book-length examination of Prevost's career, offers a reinterpretation of the general's military leadership in the War of 1812. Historian John R. Grodzinski shows that Prevost deserves far greater credit for the successful defense of…


Book cover of The Far Side of the World

Katie Daysh Author Of Leeward

From my list on to get lost at sea with.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author of queer historical fiction and I love to explore stories set on the sea. I adore the drama of it, the beauty, the awe, the timelessness, and the wild backdrop that allows characters to confront themselves and their journeys. Having lived by the sea all my life on an island rich with nautical and smuggling history, it has never been far away from me. I like to read a mixture of fiction and non-fiction; both have strongly influenced my own writing. The books on this list capture the diverse reasons I am drawn to sea tales!

Katie's book list on to get lost at sea with

Katie Daysh Why did Katie love this book?

Patrick O’Brian is the master of nautical fiction. I enjoyed every one of his Aubrey—Maturin series but this one shines out.

I believe that, in maritime fiction, the sea should be its own character, and this book brings to life every face of it. His intricate prose captures the daily life onboard Napoleonic-era ships in painstaking detail and throws the reader into a totally immersive world.

But mostly, I love how this book embodies the friendship between Jack and Stephen. Although they are such different characters, they have such a beautiful connection and when they are separated from their ship, they rely on each other to survive.

I love exploring the various relationships of men and women, in platonic, familial, and romantic senses. 

By Patrick O'Brian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Far Side of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The war of 1812 continues, and Jack Aubrey sets course for Cape Horn on a mission after his own heart: intercepting a powerful American frigate outward bound to play havoc with the British whaling trade. Stephen Maturin has fish of his own to fry in the world of secret intelligence. Disaster in various guises awaits them in the Great South Sea and in the far reaches of the Pacific: typhoons, castaways, shipwrecks, murder, and criminal insanity.


Book cover of In the Midst of Alarms: The Untold Story of Women and the War of 1812

Jonathon Riley Author Of A Matter of Honour: The Life, Campaigns and Generalship of Isaac Brock

From my list on the War of 1812 and Canadian sacrifice for freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I served for 40 years in the British Army, including many tours of active duty. I commanded operations in every rank, from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant General. I had the privilege of commanding not only British troops, but also troops from the USA, Canada, Australia, and more. I was Director-General and Master of the Royal Armouries and since 2013 I have been Visiting Professor in War Studies at King’s College London. I hold three degrees including a PhD. I've published more than 20 books and numerous articles. I continue to learn new things from history every day, as well as passing on our history to others, and that’s what books are all about.

Jonathon's book list on the War of 1812 and Canadian sacrifice for freedom

Jonathon Riley Why did Jonathon love this book?

Readers are Dianne and her husband Don have been personal friends for many years. Like many people, I was deeply saddened by her untimely death last year. Dianne had a wonderfully fluent written style, so easy to read, and could capture a moment like few others. Her book gives insights into wartime life and the role of women in the early 19th Century in Quebec, Montreal, and Toronto (the York), as well as in Washington DC and Philadelphia. While the men did the fighting, the women backed them up – on the frontier, quite literally. A fascinating book written with passion and insight.

By Dianne Graves,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In the Midst of Alarms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The War of 1812 between the United States and Britain has been covered in detail by many historians, but its impact on the lives of women has been largely overlooked. After years of research, Dianne Graves has produced a marvelous study of how the war affected women at all levels of society, from high society in Washington and Quebec to the women who followed their husbands to the front lines. She brings to life the untold stories of wives, daughters, heroines and harridans, as revealed in memoirs, diaries and letters of the time. The book is well illustrated with portraits,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in cartoons, the War of 1812, and presidential biography?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about cartoons, the War of 1812, and presidential biography.

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