John Quirk loves history, drawing and boats and these three elements come together in this attractive and entertaining book. He has sought out obscure episodes or familiar events from the past and written engagingly about them, illustrated with his excellent colour cartoons.
Where possible he relates the historical happenings and maritime moments to the present day, be it when tracing the history of the screw, misinformation (fake news) during the Second World War, plague ships in the fourteenth century, or Russia’s ill-fated war with Japan in 1904.
The events covered range from Henry V’s invasion of France in 1415, consisting mainly of chartered French ships and paid for partially by Dick Whittington, to episodes in the Second World War, like the Somali Camel Corps capturing a German U-boat.
Other historic figures involved include Horatio Nelson, Napoleon, Rudolf Diesel and Lawrence of Arabia.
The 25 stories and over 100 cartoons are a treasure-trove of compelling, salt-infused, tales told with imagination and humour, with an eye on the present day, which will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in maritime history (or even just history).