The Terror Before Trafalgar

Author(s): Tom Pocock

Wars of the Ages

Nelson's victory at Trafalgar on 21 October 1805 was a pivotal event in European history. But Trafalgar was not simply an isolated battle fought and won in an afternoon - the naval campaign had in fact begun more than four years before.

This extraordinary period, following Napoleon's threat to invade England in 1801, came to be known as The Great Terror, and Britain was on the alert. As the Grande Armee faced a Dad's army of English volunteers across the Channel, a secret war of espionage and subversion was fought in the shadows. New weapons - rockets, submarines and torpedoes - were developed.

Drawing on diaries, letters and newspapers, Tom Pocock paints a vivid picture of the years from 1801 to 1805, and of people caught up in these events: Nelson himself as he blockaded the French at sea for two unbroken years, his love Emma Hamilton waiting at home, Jane Austen and her naval brothers, the diarist Fanny Burney, the admirals, generals and politicians, as well as the lesser-known men such as Fulton, Congreve, Moreau and Pichegru who waged the secret war on either side of the Channel.

The Economist
"Engrossing... The Terror Before Trafalgar is narrative history at its shining best."

Peter Padfield, BBC History
"Tom Pocock is the doyen of Nelson scholarship in our time... Pocock has provided a fascinating cast of characters as outstanding in their way as Nelson..."

Sunday Times
"Pocock adds fresh lustre to his reputation as our leading authority on Nelson with this sudy of the threat of a Napoleonic invasion that convulsed Britain"

Richard Woodman, Lloyd's List
"Mr. Pocock is perhaps the world's leading authority on the great admiral... Mr. Pocock 's book is a lucid exposition of this vibrantly exciting period..."

Nicholas Fearn, Independent on Sunday
"A superb contribution..."


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'The author has a conspicuous reputation as a narrative historian, and here he is at his best' -- This England 20050901 'This is a most engaging its best it is classic Pocock, and his fans will not be disappointed' -- The Spectator 'The Terror Before Trafalgar" is narrative history at its shining best; a tale of secret agents ... thumb screws and murder in Paris cells, an emperor's impotent rage and an adulterer's magnificent triumph' -- The Economist 'Mr Pocock's book is a lucid exposition of this vibrantly exciting period...[and] is essential reading for anyone requiring a better understanding of why a battle off an obscure Spanish promontory should be remembered still' -- Lloyd's List

Tom Pocock has been described as the foremost authority on Nelson. He is the author of eight books about the admiral and his time and 'Horatio Nelson' was runner-up for the Whitbread Biography Award. During many years in Fleet Street, he was also Naval Correspondent of 'The Times' and Defence Correspondent of the London 'Evening Standard'. He lives in London and Norfolk.

General Fields

  • : 9780719562921SECA
  • : Hodder & Stoughton
  • : John Murray
  • : October 2003
  • : 196mm X 127mm X 18mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 940.2/78
  • : 272
  • : 16 illustrations
  • : Tom Pocock
  • : Paperback
  • : New edition