Book Review: ‘The Other Norfolk Admirals: Myngs, Narbrough and Shovell’ by Sam McLean

By Sam McLean, published January 2021


In this book retired consultant anaesthetist Simon Harris discusses the careers of three important Royal Navy flag officers in the period 1660 to 1707: Christopher Myngs, John Narborough (or Narbrough) and Cloudesley Shovell.

The book begins with a short description of the lives of the three admirals before they joined the Royal Navy; however it is very brief, and the chapter mostly describes Myngs’ career prior to going to the West Indies. The other chapters are a mostly strictly operational history, progressing through the careers of Myngs, Narbrough and Shovell in order. It ends with a discussion of the aftermath of the 1707 disaster which claimed Shovell’s life.

Physically the book has been printed well, the typeface is clear, and there are a large number of excellent illustrations.

Unfortunately, there are substantial issues with this book … This book is filled with dates, facts, names, and images, but it is entirely devoid of historical process. Throughout, it is clear that the author, despite his extensive reading and access to sources, approached the topic not with questions but with his opinions already decided …

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Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Period | Eighteenth Century | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Biography | Navies

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