Book Review – ‘The Seasick Admiral: Nelson and the health of the navy’ by Brian Vale

By Brian Vale, published October 2020


As suggested by the title, this latest book by Kevin Brown, the curator of the Alexander Fleming Museum at St. Mary’s Hospital, describes Nelson’s almost continuous poor health, his numerous wounds including his ophthalmic problems, his death at Trafalgar, his burial and subsequent ‘apotheosis’. The author explains in detail the admiral’s attitude to the health and welfare of his men; to surgeons, both in general and those with whom he worked; and to his policy of supplying vegetables, fresh meat and lemon juice to his crews. However, the bulk of the book is devoted to a description of medicine and health in the early 1800s and to those who were professionally involved in it or affected by it.

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Filed under: English Channel | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

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