Reference Books

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Reference Books

Aquest tema està marcat com "inactiu": L'últim missatge és de fa més de 90 dies. Podeu revifar-lo enviant una resposta.

Editat: set. 14, 2006, 6:02 pm

I fully admit that I'm tossing this topic out before heading on vacation, but I'm curious: has anyone else started collecting the series-specific reference books? I've also taken to history books concerning the period, but that's also because I'm a history major.

It's not too difficult to find my listing of them: they're under aubrey-maturin and reference in my library. That said, here's my listing and my take on the ones I have (maybe I'll actually add reviews for once)

Series Specific
Lobscouse and Spotted Dog - a most wonderful cookbook! And, quite a bit of fun just to read and imagine how on earth did they think of that? Besides, it's got a fantastic section on Stephen's prime millers from H.M.S Surprise
Persons, animals, ships, and cannon in the Aubrey-Maturin sea novels of Patrick O'Brian: I fully admit that I asked a bit about this in the main thread, but perhaps the question got lost: essentially, an extremely through biographical/historical index of the series. Has anyone bought the newest edition yet?
World of Jack Aubrey: Its strength is in its illustrations, but it's not quite as interesting as I had hoped. There's not quite enough series-specific detail.
The Making of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World: Yes indeed, a book on the movie. The one line I found amusing - describing a photograph of Paul Bettany as Stephen Maturin: Note the fashionable forward-brushed `Napoleon' haircut.

Life in Nelson's Navy: A chatty, extremely engaging turn of the 20th century description of life in 'our' navy (the author was the poet-laureate of England at one point). Probably one of my favorite non-fiction books in general.
To Rule the Waves: A history of the British Navy, with quite fine bits on the Nelson era.
Warrior Race: History of the British at war, focusing on the lives of the sailors and soldiers
Life Before the Mast: An Anthology of Eye-Witness Accounts from the Age of Fighting Sail: I haven't read all the way through this, but it does include a long excerpt by Lord Cochrane which is mirrored in the Sophie's adventures in Master and Commander

And, out side of the realm of books, I highly recommend Musical Evenings with the Captain (I, II, III is called Musical Evenings in the Captain's Cabin) featuring music (occassionally mentioned) from the time of the series!

set. 4, 2006, 8:49 pm

I found Dean King's A Sea of Words to be extremely helpful as a reference: not only for definitions of nautical terms, but also for translations of many of the non-English phrases O'brian uses throughout the novels. King's Harbors and High Seas is also pretty good, with novel-by-novel plot summaries and maps, although I wish the maps were more detailed, and that there were more of them!

set. 6, 2006, 9:05 am

Isn't part of the fun of the O'Brian books that the nautical terms are completely incomprehensible?

There's a bit in Post Captain where they spend five pages changing a mast (or something) and while I'm sure it's 100% accurate and a perfect description, the effect reading it is like reading Jabberwocky or something.

set. 6, 2006, 10:55 am

Reading a Pat O'Brian book I always keep an atlas and Peter Kemp's excellent Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea handy

5dpkilfeather Primer missatge
set. 6, 2006, 12:18 pm

Greetings this is my first post: I have very recently read The Indomitable Captain Matthew Flinders Royal Navy. A short and very lively academic book. Matt Flinders must have been the most unlucky Captain ever, probably much of this was his own fault, dying fairly young as a result of after effects of the pox. He was also lucky enough (I wonder?) to have served as a Midshipman under Captain William Bligh of Mutiny of the Bounty fame. Little known outside of Australia Flinders mapped most of that continent in a leaky bucket of a ship but did not get any recognition until after his death. A great read, I managed it in a few days rather than my normal minimum month.

Also, as a LibraryThing author it would be remiss of me not to mention my book Trafalgar 200 Through the Lens a photographic record of events during the UK anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and of course Nelson's demise. Review pictures at and
Best wishes to all, Des.

set. 6, 2006, 1:50 pm

Just posting a closing italics tag: so that the rest of the messages will appear in normal font :-).

lanceparkin: There's a bit in Post Captain where they spend five pages changing a mast (or something) and while I'm sure it's 100% accurate and a perfect description, the effect reading it is like reading Jabberwocky or something.
Hehe. I just read either "block" or "rope" for every unknown term in that passage, and it just works fine. I have a bit of knowledge in German sailing terminology, so that helps, too.

set. 14, 2006, 6:03 pm

Good lord, those italics were all do to my post - so dreadfully sorry, but what a strange thing to happen!

gen. 25, 2007, 8:19 pm

I posted this on the two Patrick O'Brian Communities on LJ, but perhaps others here would like it as well:

While searching for the fate of a poor midshipman (knocked over the side by a cannonball, alas) I by chance uncovered this marvelous resource: The Butcher's Bill - As complete an index of the series as could be wished

It's a furious list of almost any event of interest in the series, from beginning to end (and through 21 as well). Just taking a quick look at it, I'm so pleased it's been released as a searchable PDF - and for free. It has not the depth of the famed (and rightfully so) Patrick O'Brian Muster book, which organizes it information alphabetically, but I don't doubt that others will find it useful as well.

  • Chronological listing of many events in the books
    • Injuries
    • Births
    • Deaths
    • Actions
    • Deceptions
    • Officer's commissions
    • Marriages
    • Medals and awards
    • Duels
    • Prizes
    • Legal actions
  • Table of ships commanded and crews per book
  • Listing of every notice of 'There's not a moment to lose' and 'Why Stephen, there you are'
  • Full index

gen. 26, 2007, 9:14 am

Parelle wrote: "Listing of every notice of 'There's not a moment to lose' and 'Why Stephen, there you are'"

I have thought of counting them myself!

10abbottthomas Primer missatge
abr. 18, 2007, 6:54 am

Not reference, but relevant, and not mentioned above is Cochrane - Britannia's Sea Wolf. A colourful naval officer with more than a little in common with Jack Aubrey.

Sorry! NOT the Wide Sargasso Sea - I'll try again. Cochrane Thomas, Donald. No, I really haven't got the hang of this!

abr. 18, 2007, 10:02 am

Cochrane by Donald Thomas.
This should be it (with a slightly different title).

maig 14, 2007, 1:57 am

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

set. 22, 2007, 1:13 pm

I'd like to have Lobscouse and Spotted Dog, though the chances that I'll actually cook anything from it are small, being 1) a person who hates cooking and 2) a vegetarian. I just find it sort of fascinating. And I'd already have bought the Muster Book if it wasn't so bloody expensive (being also a poor student).
What I do own is a CD called "Roast Beef of Old England: Traditional Sailor Songs from Jack Aubrey's Navy".

Other history (and natural philosophy) books:
Nelson's Navy by Brian Lavery
The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin
Voyages of Discovery: Three Centuries of Natural History Exploration which is basically a collection of beautiful scientific drawings.
Most Secret and Confidential: Intelligence in the Age of Nelson by Steven E. Maffeo, which wasn't nearly as interesting as I'd thought.
Nelson: The Immortal Memory by David and Stephen Howarth, which is well-written, but turned out not to have a bibliography or source references or footnotes (nor any pictures), and that's what happens when you buy books online, I told myself.
The Bounty by Caroline Alexander, which has made Captain Bligh one of my heroes!

But it's amazing how strongly POB has influenced what I read: I would have read Jane Austen sooner or later, but he made me read her sooner (because he admired her) and also made me read Mary Renault (because he dedicated a book to her), and sparked my interest in the Napoleonic Wars and the17th and 18th Centuries in general, so anything I read about or from that period could be set to his account! From Elizabeth Longford's biography of Wellington through Georgette Heyer to Pynchon's Mason & Dixon.

oct. 9, 2007, 8:00 pm

Parelle, thanks for the plug. Butcher's Bill is my effort. I tried or awhile to get it published, but it was taking too long, so I decided to just stick it on the web for free.

I finally got my wife to read the series. She's an impatient reader--so she skipped all the sailing parts. Reminds me of the Singapore movie theater owner who thought 'The Sound of Music' was too long, so he cut out all the songs.

oct. 10, 2007, 12:45 pm

Thank you for such a great resource!

Editat: oct. 10, 2007, 11:04 pm

Have you seen The Wooden World, a history of the Royal Navy in Georgian times by the wonderful N A M Rodger??

oct. 10, 2007, 11:53 pm

I had forgotten to mention that (as I hadn't read it at the time of making my list) but yes, I found a copy at a used book store. It's a great book!

oct. 15, 2007, 1:28 am

and there's also The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815

I heard Professor Rodger talk a couple of months ago, and went straight out and bought it.

As the for the expense of the Muster Book, take my tip and live on baked beans for a couple of weeks, if that's the only way that you can afford it. It's invaluable.


maig 9, 2008, 10:16 am

Not really a reference for the period, but Patrick O'Brian: The Making of the Novelist is an interesting read (just keep in mind that Nikolai Tolstoy, the biographer is Patrick's stepson.

Coming from a naval background, I love coming across navy traditions mentioned from the Napoleonic era that I recognise from my own time in the Royal Australian Navy! Very conservative, your actual sailors.

I find that my couple of Admiralty Manual of Seamanships (as yet uncatalogued) make an interesting adjunct.


juny 4, 2008, 10:36 am

Your advice please... I've got my eye on a couple of copies of A Sea of Words on ebay and they are different editions.

Do you think it would be better to go for a later (2001) edition for completeness of terms, or a first (1995) edition just 'cos it's a First?


juny 4, 2008, 7:51 pm

Why not go for the cheaper? The 1995 book will have nothing about the last 3 1/2 books and I doubt if it has much extra value as a first edition.

juny 5, 2008, 7:00 am

Good advice, thanks. I hadn't actually worked out that the '95 book was published while the series was still being written (maybe in my mind I think the series was written in the 1800's!).

Back on topic, I just today found From the Lower Deck and Before the Mast both by Henry Baynham. I haven't read them through yet but the start of the first one looks interesting.


juny 7, 2008, 8:41 am

Halfway through From the Lower Deck and it is well worthwhile. It's published in 1969 but contains material from the actual period from real sailors in the RN around the time of Nelson (and, of course, Aubrey). I can imagine the source material being the source material for PO'B as well.

Enjoying it so far.


jul. 5, 2008, 12:01 am

Sometime back on this list Hannahsnell commented that she didn't think she would cook anything from Lobscouse and Spotted Dog. Well I did.
A few years ago I cooked a Christmas Pudding using a combination or merging of reciepes from the book. It came out exceedingly well. It was a beautiful moist "cake" I guess you would call it. In addition I have taken to eating nuts with wine after meals as done by J. Aubrey.

As a seperate question do many folks have "Persons, animals, ships, and cannon in the Aubrey-Maturin sea novels of Patrick O'Brian"? I have considered serching for it but am not sure how complete it is.

jul. 5, 2008, 4:17 am

Welcome aboard, bluejw,

Nuts to you! Sorry, what I meant was, I too enjoy a nibble of nuts with a glass of port after a good meal.

I have not heard of the Persons etc book(?), but have you had a look at "The Butcher's Bill" (link in message #8)? It has a lot of persons, animals etc and has the added bonus that it was written/compiled by a member of this group, mschulyer (link in message #14), who not only has a great moustache but (and this is only speculation) may have further research enabling him to answer further questions.

He may try to convince you that some of the more obscure ships appearing in the series were actually UFOs visiting for research. Joke... it's a joke already!


jul. 5, 2008, 11:25 am

>>>>> 24: I have Persons, animals, ships, and cannon (note this Touchstone is connecting to the new book as well). It is rather complete, but ends at The Hundred Days. There's a new edition called The Patrick O'Brian Muster Book which completes the series and 21 - I'm in a mind to sell my copy of PASC to buy the new edition, but it's really quite good nevertheless.

jul. 5, 2008, 4:06 pm

Thanks for the welcome Jim and parelle.

I have been away from the series for sometime but read heavily in late 18th/early 19th century natural history and Naval history. I found mschulyer's great work Butcher's Bill on the web recently. It is a fine reference. I think I will pursue the Muster Book also.

When I read the series I too assembled a reference work. I wrote a natural history reference for all of Maturin's natural history observations.
It is in essence a bird and animal list or natural history journal for Maturin. Seeing that Mr Schulyer posted his work on the web I may follow his fine example and do the same with mine. It needs some brushing up first so there's work to be done lads.

I've also left a recommendation to read the series in the 'birding' group on a discussion on books of fiction and birding.

Thanks again for the welcome

jul. 5, 2008, 4:09 pm

PS parelle
I'm a Drexel grad also........but more yrs ago then I like to remember

jul. 9, 2008, 2:09 pm

Does anyone know if the final few pages of 21 have been transcribed? I have been re-reading it and working my way through O'Brian's somewhat cramped penmanship. I'd like to read a transcript to see what I may have mis-inturpeted.

jul. 9, 2008, 11:49 pm

The transcription is at

You might also be interested in the links at


jul. 11, 2008, 2:21 am

parelle and kawebb

Much thanks for the info.


jul. 11, 2008, 6:56 am

Amazing, isn't it? You ask - you get... I love these people!


jul. 24, 2008, 7:41 pm

A good reference book: Portsmouth Point, the Navy in Fiction 1793-1815
by C. Northcote Parkinson.

jul. 25, 2008, 1:17 am

>>>> Re: 34

Thanks! That looks great. My fiance and I, who are both O'Brian fans, are going to Portsmouth ourselves for our honeymoon in August. It'll be a perfect accompaniment on the train rides:)

set. 10, 2008, 8:19 am

So, parelle, are you back? How was Portsmouth? I hope that you both had a great time exploring naval history. (Yeah, yeah and honeymoon stuff as well) Got any good O'Brian-ish photos for us?



oct. 27, 2008, 11:37 pm


Sorry for the long delay! Portsmouth was lovely - cold the day we were there, granted, but lovely. I've pictures posted here - sadly enough you can't take pictures on the Victory or inside the museums (how charmed we were to see the original paintings for several Geoff Hunt covers! - and amused I was to realize I could name each book from the painting alone). But, I did get some wonderful shots of the Mary Rose - I had read about it before, but hadn't realized how... awe inspiring, really, it was to see it. There're also a few shots of the HMS Warrior (1850) which was a most interesting ship. I would have loved to have a bit more time to explore the Museums there, but we'd really need another day - we came in before the gates were opened in the morning, and left at 6 o'clock on the nose.

From a LibraryThing perspective, it was surprisingly fruitful: the gift shop for the Naval museum had a small selection of very inexpensive used books, so we picked up Mr. Midshipman Easy, Lord Hornblower, and Mr. Midshipman Hornblower all in hardcover for less than 5 pounds altogether! Quite delightful indeed to have such books with a wonderful provenance :)

oct. 28, 2008, 1:16 am

>37 parelle:
Great photos, glad you had a good time and welcome back.


ps only ever say "the Warrior" or "HMS Warrior" not "the HMS Warrior" or old salts (not me, of course) tend to get stuffy!

oct. 28, 2008, 8:56 am

Re: ps only ever say "the Warrior" or "HMS Warrior" not "the HMS Warrior" or old salts (not me, of course) tend to get stuffy!

Thank you :)

oct. 28, 2008, 7:04 pm

>39 parelle:
Which it is my pleasure.

oct. 28, 2008, 8:07 pm

As a way of thanks for the kind help..(ref message 29)
I have completed a Natural History Journal for Dr Maturin.
It is a 115pg .pdf document.

jim, parelle or others...If any of you fine shipmates would care for a copy let me know how/or if I can send it at this site. I'm not sure of the mechanics......

Like Mr Schulyer's Butcher's Bill I would just as soon post it the web, I think he used the gunroom site, but I have not recieved any responses there.


oct. 29, 2008, 1:00 pm

re: 41

Bluejw, I would be very much interested in that! You could use a service like to upload it, and then post the link here.

oct. 29, 2008, 6:48 pm


thanks for the site suggestion but that looks like more than I need first try.
And it is $10 a month. Is it ok to post my email addr here?

oct. 29, 2008, 7:00 pm

Now that sounds fascinating Bluejw. You could, if you are really serious about letting it out, put it in the wikiThing storage area and provide a link on your wiki page. You could also put any notes, explanations, disclaimers or gossip on your wiki page.

Note though that it is a wiki, with all that that implies, your work may be used, changed even published for somebody else's profit!

However you do it, I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks, in advance, for all the work I'm sure you put into it.


oct. 29, 2008, 7:05 pm


Thanks for the suggestion. It appears that on that site I need to know in advance everyones email addr. It appears to be more than I need right now. Also it is $10 a month.

I think it's easier to just email copies to anyone interested. is it proper for me to post email addr here? then I'll gladly email a copy to anyone interested.

oct. 29, 2008, 7:16 pm

People that would like to read the Journal could contact you via Private Comment on your profile page and send you their e-mail addresses, and no-one else will be able to see them.

oct. 29, 2008, 7:29 pm

thanks for the suggestion Girl. That would prob work well.

Sorry for my double answers above..... my comp udate have been very slow today.

oct. 31, 2008, 6:50 am

I have just finished reading bluejw's "Birding with Dr. Maturin". Brilliant! If you like the Aubrey/Maturin series (and if you don't, why are you here? Go away!) and you have any interest in the "Natural Philosophy" portrayed therein, then you will appreciate this work. Like "A Sea of Words" and "The Butcher's Bill", it is a worthy companion to the series.

Request your copy now.

oct. 31, 2008, 7:43 am

>41 bluejw:-43
Try instead?
The only issue would be that the maximum experation date is 1 week

nov. 1, 2008, 12:42 pm

Thanks for the site Donogh.
I think for now I will use the Private Comment feature here at LT
It seems to work well for me.

If you, or anyone else, would like a copy of "Birding with Dr. Maturin" , just leave me your email addr and I will gladly forward a copy.

nov. 2, 2008, 9:59 pm

Re: 41

I don't speak for the Gunroom, but we're not stuffy at all about hosting POB-related material.

Perhaps I could intercede on your behalf?

Of course, if you were a list member (or lissun) it's more likely that it would be accepted.


nov. 2, 2008, 10:10 pm


How do I proceed?
ie becoming a member and posting

Not an issure of being stuffy. I just am not astute at decoding who to contact or how to go about it, I guess I'm really more attuned to the 19th century.

Please leave me a post on my profile page.


nov. 4, 2008, 5:13 pm

Try scribd. I put my stuff there, too. It's free.

Michael Schuyler

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