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The Weekend’s Television: Empire Of The Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World, Fri, BBC2The Legacy of Lawrence of Arabia, Sat, BBC2 – Reviews, TV & Radio – The Independent

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Snow’s history began with ripping yarns of adventure at sea, of surprise attacks and raids by Barbary pirates on the unprotected fishermen of Cornwall (whose indignation at slavery seemed to be considerably sharper when it was they who ended up in fetters in the cargo hold). But it concluded with a kind of paragon of bureaucracy – Samuel Pepys, whose reforms of naval administration helped transform the Navy from a lucrative source of government peculation into something like a fighting force. Pepys never swashed a buckler in his life, but he was, in his way, one of our great naval heroes. Snow himself makes a pretty good presenter here, incidentally – a Boy’s Own type, happy to shimmy up the ratlines for a panoramic long-shot and gaze wonderingly out at the far horizon, as if dreaming of a Eldorado of foreign-territory sales.

via The Weekend’s Television: Empire Of The Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World, Fri, BBC2The Legacy of Lawrence of Arabia, Sat, BBC2 – Reviews, TV & Radio – The Independent.

Henley on Thames – Dan Snow review

Monday, October 12th, 2009

THE session with Dan Snow must rate highly in the minds of those who heard and saw him. His talk and the questions and answers format riveted everyone’s attention with his total commitment and enthusiasm.

Whilst his new book Death or Victory: Wolfe, Quebec and the Birth of Empire suggests a different lecture than one on the American conquest, his brilliantly constructed talk and book brings together in a comprehensive, colourful picture just how significant the defeat was of the French and local Indians at Quebec in 1759.

It was more than the defeat of the colonial French as it changed the nature of all of North America, of Britain itself and world history, the benefits of which abound.

Discussing the military nature of the seven years war, of which this was a part, Snow fervently believes that it was far more exciting than the more understood Napoleonic Wars and feels it is a much neglected area of British history. Perhaps his book will change that.

Because of his well recognised appreciation of military history, Snow described the logistics and battle plans of both sides and how the armies were disciplined, suffered, yet fought on.

His audience was captivated by his grasp and his ability to pass on his research in such an easy-to-follow style that left them queuing for his books at the end.

It is good to know he is now turning his attention to the British Navy.

Laureen Williamson

via Henley on Thames – Dan Snow review.