The Age of the Ship of the Line


The Age of the Ship of the Line

The British and French Navies, 1650-1815

Jonathan R. Dull

Studies in War, Society, and the Military Series

268 pages
7 illustrations, 2 maps


June 2011


$18.95 Add to Cart

June 2009


$34.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

For nearly two hundred years huge wooden warships called “ships of the line” dominated war at sea and were thus instrumental in the European struggle for power and the spread of imperialism. Foremost among the great naval powers were Great Britain and France, whose advanced economies could support large numbers of these expensive ships. This book, the first joint history of these great navies, offers a uniquely impartial and comprehensive picture of the two forces—their shipbuilding programs, naval campaigns, and battles, and their wartime strategies and diplomacy.
Jonathan R. Dull is the author of two award-winning histories of the French navy. Bringing to bear years of study of war and diplomacy, his book conveys the fine details and the high drama of the age of grand and decisive naval conflict. Dull delves into the seven wars that Great Britain and France, often in alliance with lesser naval powers such as Spain and the Netherlands, fought between 1688 and 1815. Viewing war as most statesmen of the time saw it—as a contest of endurance—he also treats the tragic side of the Franco-British wars, which shattered the greater security and prosperity the two powers enjoyed during their brief period as allies.

Author Bio

Jonathan R. Dull is the retired senior associate editor of The Papers of Benjamin Franklin series. His award-winning histories include The French Navy and American Independence: A Study of Arms and Diplomacy, 1774–1787 and The French Navy and the Seven Years’ War, available in a Bison Books edition.

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Battle Diagrams
1. The Ship of the Line Begins Its Reign
2. Louis XIV and His Wars
3. Foolish Wars End an Age of Peace
4. Sea Power and the Outcome of the Seven Years' War
5. Winners and Losers in the War of American Independence
6. Change and Continuity during the French Revolution
7. The Role of the Navies in the Napoleonic War
8. The Ingredients of Supremacy in the Age of Sail
Notes and Suggested Further Reading


Named one of the top 20 notable naval books of 2009 in the Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine

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