Recent Posts

Carmarthenshire Archives: the Right Hand and the Left Hand

24/08/2015

Democracy is a wonderful thing; or, as President Harry S Truman said, ‘if you can’t convince them, confuse them’. (Or don’t reply to their Freedom of Information requests; but that’s another story, for another day.) Such has been the case with the ongoing saga of a possible future location for a new Carmarthenshire Record Office. […]

Raging Kings on Fire

24/08/2015

Two blogs for the price of one again this week, here on the website that provides better value than Aldi… Those awaiting the latest installment of the Carmarthenshire archives saga (note: other tales of incompetence and obfuscation are available) should go to the other new post, ‘The Right Hand and the Left Hand’. In this […]

Carmarthenshire Archives: the Perils of the ‘P’ Word

17/08/2015

This week, I’m delighted to welcome Susan Beckley with a guest blog about the Carmarthenshire Archives situation, essentially a response and sequel to last week’s post on this site. Susan worked as an archivist in Carmarthenshire from 1974 to 1986, and wrote the book Carmarthenshire Record Office: A Survey of Archival Holdings (1980). She was […]

Carmarthenshire Archives: The Future

12/08/2015

For those who might be new to the fraught saga of Carmarthenshire Archives, you can catch up on the ‘story so far’ here, here and here. I expected this to be the first of two new posts about the situation in relatively short order. However, I’m still waiting for a response to the Freedom of Information requests […]

Admiral: Compress and Conflate

05/08/2015

Long-term readers of this blog will know that I’ve been quite excited about the prospect of a film set against the backdrop of the Anglo-Dutch wars, ever since it first came onto my radar. It premiered in the Netherlands at the beginning of the year as Michiel de Ruyter, and has now been released on DVD […]

More Spinned Against Than Spinning

27/07/2015

For those who are getting confused, I thought I’d provide a helpful guide to what Carmarthenshire County Council’s public statements regarding the archives situation actually mean. Please refer to this as and when attempts are made to spin against future posts on this blog, or when the Council puts out a story in the press. […]

Reviews

SHORTLISTED FOR THE MOUNTBATTEN MARITIME LITERARY AWARD, 2014

…it is perhaps deceptively easy for the uninformed to pass over the enormous contribution that Wales and the Welsh people have made to the story of British naval mastery over the years. Equally, the massive extent to which naval affairs and their influences have impacted profoundly on the lives of the Welsh people and on the country at large. is not at all as well understood as it very much ought to be, either in Wales or elsewhere in these islands. Well, J D Davies’s splendid new book will do much to correct the facile view that the maritime heritage of Wales is only about labouring tramp steamers…and it is therefore much to be welcomed, for it deals with a history and an experience of Welsh seafaring that has never hitherto been properly recounted.

The writer…takes the reader on a marvellous passage through 2000 years of Welsh seafaring endeavour…Handling a complex array of diverse and complicated sources with an enviable facility and writing in a polished prose which does justice to the depth and significance of this history, this is essentially a book about opening doors and windows and letting the light into a subject that has been unfairly neglected and largely ignored for too long, and that makes it a most valuable contribution to scholarship in modern naval history which can be strongly recommended. And a fine one it is… It will be clear I hope that your reviewer thinks this is a good and important book, but whether or not it will succeed other than modestly in shifting the trajectory of Welsh maritime history towards a deeper engagement with the naval dimension of the country’s sea history is, I think, likely to remain a matter of conjecture for a time yet. – Dr Campbell McMurray, Maritime Wales

 

Reviews of ‘Britannia’s Dragon: A Naval History of Wales’

WINNER OF THE SAMUEL PEPYS PRIZE AND LATHAM MEDAL, 2009

‘You will want to give this book to your favourite armchair seadog’ – James Srodes in The Washington Times

‘This superb book…not only an impressive technical publication to satisfy the dedicated researcher, it is also a jolly good read for the enthusiast’ – The Nautical Magazine

‘[A] magnificent and superbly illustrated volume’ – Professor Eric Grove in Navy News

‘This superb book…well written…beautifully illustrated throughout…this outstanding book is also very good value for money. Highly recommended’ – Marine News

‘Outstanding analysis’ – The Oxford Times

‘This great vade mecum…the research embodied in this work is excellent…no student of the late seventeenth century navy can afford to be without this admirable compilation’ – Professor David Loades in The Mariner’s Mirror

‘A book which should be in the bookcase of every student of Royal  Naval history…the author deserves huge congratulations for the expertise and knowledge so well recorded in this superb book’ – David Clement in South West Soundings

‘Fantastically detailed and comprehensive…an absolute must for anyone with an interest in the sailing navy’ – Janet Dempsey in Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine

Reviews of ‘Pepys’s Navy: Ships, Men and Warfare 1649-89’

PRAISE FOR ‘THE JOURNALS OF MATTHEW QUINTON’

Great naval fiction…Hornblower, Aubrey and Quinton – a pantheon of the best adventures at sea – Conn Iggulden

Exciting, emotive and utterly convincing, the Quinton Journals lead the field in naval historical fiction – Sam Willis, TV presenter and author of Fighting Ships, The Fighting Temeraire, The Admiral Benbow & The Glorious First of June

Finely shaded characters, excellent plotting, gut-clenching action and immaculate attention to period naval detail…these are superb books – Angus Donald, author of ‘The Outlaw Chronicles’

A splendid addition to nautical adventure, and a grand story, to boot!—Dewey Lambdin, author of the Alan Lewrie series of novels

J D Davies’s depiction of Restoration England and the British navy is impeccable, his characters truly live and breathe, and the plot kept me in suspense. Gentleman Captain is one of the rare books that I have read with a smile on my face from cover to cover. I could not recommend it more. — Edward Chupack, author of Silver: My Own Tale as Written by Me with a Goodly Amount of Murder

A beautifully written and masterfully told story…an excellent book, well researched, well written and thoroughly enjoyable…terrific characters, a thrilling adventure, and a wonderful sense of time and place…a delightful tale… a naval adventure that goes well beyond the usual outlines of the genre to paint a lively portrait of England in the 1600s…these are superb books…the best series of historical fiction I’ve ever read – From various reviews of the series

Reviews of ‘The Journals of Matthew Quinton’
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