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To Rule the Waves Audiobook

To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Changed the Modern World

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Publisher's Summary

To Rule the Waves tells the extraordinary story of how the British Royal Navy allowed one nation to rise to a level of power unprecedented in history. From the navy's beginnings under Henry VIII to the age of computer warfare and special ops, historian Arthur Herman tells the spellbinding tale of great battles at sea, heroic sailors, violent conflict, and personal tragedy - of the way one mighty institution forged a nation, an empire, and a new world.

This P.S. edition features extra insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

©2004 Arthur Herman (P)2016 Recorded Books

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (78 )
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4.7 (65 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Michael Davison 26/10/2017 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "excellent book, well read."

    Gives a great overview of the Royal Navy's history with additional detail on defining moments. With the Royal Navy being such an integral part of Great Britain's politics and policy this book also provides the reader with a great understanding of the history of Great Britain's geopolitics. I would highly recommend for anyone interested in global and British history, warfare, the Royal Navy, and geopolitics. This book may change your view on the world.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr T C 08/09/2017
    Mr T C 08/09/2017 Member Since 2014
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    "Broad in content but with wonderful focus on the key turning points of the RN"

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Authur Herman covered the 500+yr history of the Royal Navy in Great detail with enthralling focus on key characters and interesting facts.

    I had google to hand so I could see the ships and men he spoke about.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. D. Jones UK 26/07/2017
    A. D. Jones UK 26/07/2017 Member Since 2015
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    "Great book. Good detail. A must listen!"

    Loved it. Listened to Thriceab. Fascinating and made me visit Portsmouth docks and the Victory

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 12/07/2017
    12/07/2017 Member Since 2016
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    "I thought i'd like this and boy did i ever."

    as a British patriot who loves hearing about our history, i thought i'd like this. i loved it. i loved the focus on people and places and the well woven historical threds between them. sadly the naration was a bit ropy in places but i got the impression the narrator enjoyed himself and his pride in our heritage seemed obvious. If you've ever seen the documentary series "Empire of the seas" with Dan Snow you'll recognise many of the themes and stories but as that's among my favourite series i think that's no bad thing.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miriam Maughan 19/03/2017
    Miriam Maughan 19/03/2017 Member Since 2011
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    "Fabulous book telling a fascinating story"

    Tracing the development of the navy from Tudor privateers to the falklands war this unusual perspective on world history kept me fascinated. Wonderful detail and biographical sketches brings many extraordinary characters to life. I loved it

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ashley 04/05/2017
    ashley 04/05/2017 Member Since 2015
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    "Billiant"

    This book was very informative, interesting and well narrated. Made me want to keep listening at every twist and turn. A must read for historians of all types and layman alike

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arnor 09/02/2018
    Arnor 09/02/2018
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    Story
    "A little disappointed"
    What did you like best about To Rule the Waves? What did you like least?

    I have to admit that I am a little bit disappointed. To me the book sounded a little old fashioned, it felt like it was more about building British naval mythology than describing the changes in the British navy and those changes influence on world history.
    I did not learn what I hoped, but still learned a lot about Drake, Hawkins, Nelson.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Arthur Herman again?

    I had to look up when the book was written, I knew it was after the Falkland war, but was surprised that it was written as late as 2004 and even by an American. Shouldn't writing history from another country give a little distance, some perspective? Why this focus on though sailors from the "west country"? (I am a Norwegian and don't know English geography and social differences, so I only get confused and skeptical.)
    Not my kind of history.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L Wilkinson 13/01/2018
    L Wilkinson 13/01/2018 Member Since 2017
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    "True history"

    excellent history of the British Navy, easy to listen too, pick up and put down book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03/01/2018 Member Since 2016
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    "Superb"

    This is truly one of the finest works of military history I have ever read, now excellently realised in this audiobook. As a military history enthusiast I can truly say there are few works I have come across as enthralling, detailed and informative. Th
    is audiobook more than does it justice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stuart 18/12/2017
    Stuart 18/12/2017 Member Since 2010
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    "A great listen "

    learnt a lot of stuff that is generally missed out in history books about the British Empire.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Mrs.
    East Lansing, MI, United States
    16/02/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Superb and easy to listen to."

    Manages to bridge the gap between heavy intense history and a superb adventure story. One of the best general histories of the Royal Navy I have yet read. Much easier to listen to, and obviously less detailed than Massie's books but also far broader in scope.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Renn G. Neilson
    15/02/17
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    Performance
    Story
    "Better Than Expected. Don't Miss it!"
    What made the experience of listening to To Rule the Waves the most enjoyable?

    Balanced, intelligent, honest;


    What other book might you compare To Rule the Waves to and why?

    There are a host of books on the Royal Navy, some that go into significantly more detail; but the author of this one selects just the right balance of detail to show how the institution developed and what it has done to help create some of the better features of the current global system.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Nelson at Trafalga.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It gave me a more nuanced appreciation of the Royal Navy as an institution.


    Any additional comments?

    I would like to take the author to dinner.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Clark
    Carmel, CA
    15/06/17
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    "Fabulous if you're a nautical junkie. A favorite!"
    What made the experience of listening to To Rule the Waves the most enjoyable?

    The author's absolute familiarity with a huge subject yet never tedious in the details. Riveting, but again, mainly for sailing ship/war/history junkies. Will make you want to read more about Drake, Hawkes, Bing, Nelson.


    What does John Curless bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    It's like he wrote it, with an immense tapestry of interesting detail at his fingertips.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    How Britannia Ruled the Waves. And why Western Civilization owes so much to the Royal Navy.


    Any additional comments?

    Do you have more by this author?

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • frank altobelli
    austin, tx United States
    03/11/17
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    Story
    "Sweeping historical overview, great telling"

    Great story telling and wonderful overview of the importance of the Royal Navy on the modern world. The author has a point he’s trying to make and often portrays events to make his point. Well done narration and great story telling.

    Do check facts as they are sometimes bent to breaking to make a point. Example the author states that the Royal Navy captured Baltimore during the 1812 war, whilst in-fact the battle of Baltimore is the inspiration for the US National Anthem celebrating the fact Baltimore withstood the Navy’s assault.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Kyzzer
    30/10/17
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    Story
    "An excellent story, not often told"

    I'd always heard vague descriptions of the British Navy, but never been able to find any sort of in depth look at them, or if I have it's lacked the context for its meaning to have any impact.

    This book not only touches on the important details of the navy's evolution, but also does so in the context of world events. In this way the author crafts a narrative which drew me in from start to finish.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew Russo
    25/10/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "good read, but very biased"

    Well written and entertaining, but extremely pro-british and tends to avoid talking as much as possible any battle the British navy didn't win, regardless of how important or anything unethical the navy was involved with.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ernst ten Bosch
    21/09/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very entertaining though slightly biased"

    A little too much the view that the Royal navy had such à decisive role in history. Still, many little known details, and very complete. Very well read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    26/04/17
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    Performance
    Story
    "An interesting slightly biased overview narrative"

    The narrative starts with the Elizabethan "navy" of pirates and continues until the Falkland Islands War. The information is generally correct although the author is unambiguously pro-British and pro-navy. This dictates a lot of the material covered with victories covered exhaustively and defeats skated past like the Battle of the Chesapeake.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Jeff Beardsley
    Berlin, Germany
    19/02/18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Better Than Expected Epic Tale"

    While I had been looking for a book on the history of the British Navy, what I had honestly expected was that in this search I would find only drab reads of history, lacking the life and energy truly worthy of such a story. I began Arthur Herman’s, “To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World” with this expectation firmly ensconced. To my absolute delight, I was completely wrong about the tone the book would set. Indeed, it carried me away, page by page, maintained and grew my attention and devotion to the history from beginning to end. This book, hefty in topic and detail, was well worth the read.

    The British Navy, while not solely responsible for the development and growth of the British Empire, was arguably its most important facet and contributor. “To Rule the Waves” begins in the 16th Century, picking up at a time when the masters of oceanic discovery and military might were the Portuguese, and especially the Spanish. The book begins with the struggles between England and Spain, when the British “Navy” was more known for independent actions and near-piratical tactics of its engaging commanders. It carries through with conflict against the merchant fleets of the Netherlands, the repeated wars with France, the growth and development of overseas empire, all the way through WWI, WWII and the Falklands War. It truly is an epic tale.

    The book achieves a masterful level during the story of the Battle of Trafalgar. However, the most engaging aspects of this battle, at least for me, were not those of the world famous naval conflict itself, but rather the two-year campaign that led up to this moment. It describes in detail the entire French ploy, under the leadership of Napoleon, to invade and occupy the whole of the United Kingdom; only to eventually be foiled by Nelson off the coast of Cadiz.

    The other aspect of the history of the British Navy that the book does so well at revealing are the moments in between major conflicts. These were never sedentary moments. During these times there were major developments in tactics, warfare, gunnery, equipment, terminology, navigation, communication, leadership, rank, enlistment, and on and on. The book describes all of them in vivid detail. Especially interesting were the development of a tactical communication system used during Trafalgar, and the evolving rules on the Rum Ration.

    This book is engaging and fun, and highly informative. I highly recommend this read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Scrushy
    16/02/18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I better understand "Great Britian" now"
    Would you listen to To Rule the Waves again? Why?

    Maybe. Usually I'm an emphatic no, but I might read this one again someday to put other history into context.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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