Books about Horatio Nelson and HMS Victory


Here is a list of useful books about Lord Horatio Nelson and HMS Victory. I have tried to be as complete as possible. In case you have interesting titles to add to this page you can send me a message so the book can be added to the list on this page.  


Admiral Horatio Nelson’s Greatest Victories

Author:  Charles River Editors 
Year: 2018

*Includes pictures
*Includes accounts of the battles
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents

Admiral Horatio Nelson’s Greatest Victories: The History and Legacy of the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Trafalgar

A Portrait of Lord Nelson

Author:  Oliver Warner
Year: 1958

Traces the life and career of the British naval hero, describes his major accomplishments, and assesses his influence on the British Navy

A Portrait of Lord Nelson

Authentic Narrative of the Death of Lord Nelson

Author:  William Beatty
Year: 1807

Sir William Beatty was a British surgeon who served in the Royal Navy. He is best known as the Ship's Surgeon on the HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar, at which he witnessed the death of Admiral Horatio Nelson. This title is an account of that battle. When Nelson was wounded during the battle, Beatty did not administer treatment, claiming that he believed that the admiral was beyond treatment. Beatty had to think up a way of preserving the admiral's body, so that it wouldn't rot on the voyage back to Britain. Finally he decided to place Lord Nelson's corpse in a barrel of brandy.

Authentic Narrative of the Death of Lord Nelson

British Legends: The Life and Legacy of Admiral Horatio Nelson

Author:  Charles River Editors 
Year: 2012


*Includes famous art depicting Nelson and important people, places, and events in his life.
*Includes detailed descriptions of Nelson's greatest victories, including the Battle of Trafalgar.
*Includes Nelson's most famous quotes.
*Includes a bibliography for further reading.

British Legends: The Life and Legacy of Admiral Horatio Nelson

For God and Glory: Lord Nelson and His Way of War

Author:  Joel Hayward
Year: 2003

Military historian Hayward thematically looks at the career of Horatio Lord Nelson, characterizing his work as one of "war-fighting analysis" more that traditional history. His discussion of Nelson's naval tactics don't stray too far from earlier works, but he adds an emphasis on understanding Nelson's motivation, determination, leadership practices, and relationships with his subordinates. In other words, he seeks to examine Nelson's management style, asking whether they resemble what is now considered "best practice." 


For God and Glory: Lord Nelson and His Way of War

Horatio Nelson

Author:  Tom Pocock
Year: 1987


Tom Pocock presents a complete and completely believable Nelson. It is unlikely that another could have handled Nelson with the confidence and fluency, the combination of detachment and intimacy, which make this book so attractive and distinguished. 
'Horatio Nelson: the national hero who saved his country from the threat of invasion, who gave it maritime supremacy and who set it on the path to unrivalled prosperity that would last for a hundred years. The most revealing study yet written, this biography juxtaposes details of Nelson's daily life, loves friendships and opinions with the great events which make him one of the best loved and most memorable figures in British history. Thank goodness for Tom Pocock, now indisputably our best Nelson authority. ' Daily Telegraph

Horatio Nelson

 Horatio Nelson: A Controversial Hero

Author: Marianne Czisnik
Year: 2005


Marianne Czisnik illuminates the life and reputation of Britain's most famous admiral in a fresh and groundbreaking manner. Some of the most controversial aspects of his life and career are explored, such as his involvement in the defeat of the Neapolitan revolution and his notorious love affair with Lady Hamilton. Along the way, new research provides original insights into the character of this complex man and the way his image was developed by successive generations of biographers and naval historians. The second part traces how the figure of Nelson has evolved in the popular imagination during the two hundred years since his death. This includes an examination of imagery, propaganda and fiction, as well as treatments of the admiral from a French, Spanish and German perspective. In this distinctive contribution to Nelson literature, Czisnik expertly reveals how the real man has been obscured, distorted and misunderstood by those for whom the image was more important than the reality

Horatio Nelson: A Controversial Hero

Horatio Nelson: Historic Lives 

Author: Bryan Lavery
Year: 2003


Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) was undoubtedly Britain's greatest naval leader and perhaps the greatest sea commander of all time. Although his complex character often made him enemies and led to mistakes in both his public and private life, he was an unrivalled seaman, an original and brave tactician, and a charismatic leader. Brian Lavery, a renowned expert in naval history, charts Nelson's career from his first naval posting in peacetime, at the age of just 12, to his rapid rise through the ranks, his command of the Mediterranean Fleet in HMS Victory, the transformation of his reputation during the Nile Campaign and his heroic death at Trafalgar. The book examines the forces and events which shaped Nelson's life the victories and defeats, and the successes and failures to discover the reasons for his extraordinary fame, both in his own time and to this day. Lavery sets the events of Nelson's maritime career against the backdrop of his personal life his marriage and the scandal of his menage-a-trois with the Hamiltons to reveal a man of determination, courage, and daring. The Battle of Trafalgar continues to represent an ideal of complete and uncompromising victory from the age of the sailing ship, and Horatio Nelson, the hero and victim of that battle, has similarly secured his place as a legend in naval history. Illustrated throughout with contemporary maps, paintings, and letters and original battle plans in Nelson's hand, this book in the Historic Lives series provides a concise and valuable insight into the achievements and life of Lord Horatio Nelson.

Horatio Nelson: Historic Lives

Nelson: Britain's Greatest Naval Commander 

Author: David Ross
Year: 2019


Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) was undoubtedly Britain's greatest naval leader and perhaps the greatest sea commander of all time. Although his complex character often made him enemies and led to mistakes in both his public and private life, he was an unrivalled seaman, an original and brave tactician, and a charismatic leader. Brian Lavery, a renowned expert in naval history, charts Nelson's career from his first naval posting in peacetime, at the age of just 12, to his rapid rise through the ranks, his command of the Mediterranean Fleet in HMS Victory, the transformation of his reputation during the Nile Campaign and his heroic death at Trafalgar. The book examines the forces and events which shaped Nelson's life the victories and defeats, and the successes and failures to discover the reasons for his extraordinary fame, both in his own time and to this day. Lavery sets the events of Nelson's maritime career against the backdrop of his personal life his marriage and the scandal of his menage-a-trois with the Hamiltons to reveal a man of determination, courage, and daring. The Battle of Trafalgar continues to represent an ideal of complete and uncompromising victory from the age of the sailing ship, and Horatio Nelson, the hero and victim of that battle, has similarly secured his place as a legend in naval history. Illustrated throughout with contemporary maps, paintings, and letters and original battle plans in Nelson's hand, this book in the Historic Lives series provides a concise and valuable insight into the achievements and life of Lord Horatio Nelson.

Nelson: Britain's Greatest Naval Commander

Nelson: Britannia's God of War 

Author: Andrew Lambert
Year: 2004


Andrew Lambert - described by David Cannadine as 'the outstanding British naval historian of his generation' - is able to offer new insights into the individual quality which led Byron rightly to celebrate Nelson's genius as 'Britannia's God of War'. He demonstrates how Admiral Nelson elevated the business of naval warfare to the level of the sublime. Nelson's unique gift was to take that which other commanders found complex, and reduce it to simplicity. Where his predecessors and opponents saw a particular battle as an end in itself, Nelson was always a step ahead - even in the midst of terrifying, close-quarters action, with officers and men struck down all around him.

Nelson: Britannia's God of War

Nelson: A Dream of Glory 

Author: John Sugden
Year: 2004


Nelson: A Dream of Glory is the most comprehensive and thoroughly researched account ever written of Horatio Nelson's rise to international fame. Giving us the private as well as the public man, it combines ground-breaking scholarship with a brilliantly vivid and compelling style.

Nelson: A Dream of Glory

 Nelson: His Life as Told by Himself 

Author: Viscount Horatio Nelson
Year: 1805


This book, "Nelson: his life as told by himself", by Horatio Nelson Nelson, is a replication. It has been restored by human beings, page by page, so that you may enjoy it in a form as close to the original as possible.

Nelson: His Life as Told by Himself

Nelson: The Commander

Author: Geoffrey Bennett
Year: 1972

Does Nelson still deserve his reputation as one of the world's great commanders? His triumphs caught the public imagination but his failures are barely remembered. His only victorious battle at sea was Trafalgar -- at Copenhagen and the Nile he destroyed ships at anchor -- while his infatuation with Emma Hamilton, his role in the judicial murder of the Neapolitan Commodore, Caracciolo, and his flagrant disobedience of orders brought him disgrace and dishonour. Yet this was the man whose death brought tears to the eyes of the toughest sailor. Did England's naval hero possess the inner steel and strategic genius which marks one of the world's great captains? Or has his role been inflated by history? Geoffrey Bennett, a distinguished historian who himself served in the Royal Navy for thirty-five years, provides a full and meticulously researched account of Nelson's life and career, which will enthral students of history and the general reader alike.


Nelson the commander

Nelson: The Essential Hero

Author: Ernle Bradford
Year: 1977

Horatio Nelson is considered by some to be one of the most inspiring and perplexing characters in history. In this biography of Horatio Nelson, Ernle Bradford discusses Nelson's own battles, but also looks at naval warfare of the period in general. The author describes the strategies, the tactics, the ponderous ship-to-ship bombardments, the terrifying injuries, as well as Nelson's policy of annihilation of the opposing fleet, making the point that Nelson regarded the escape of a single enemy ship as a failure.


Nelson: The Essential Hero

 Nelson: The Sword of Albion 

Author: John Sugden
Year: 2012

Sugden brilliantly interweaves graphic accounts of Nelson's famous victories at the battles of the Nile, Copenhagen and Trafalgar with his lesser-known yet equally gripping campaigns to liberate the Italian states from French domination and his role in the blockade of Malta, often snatching remarkable triumphs from crippling reverses. But behind his military prowess was a man riven with paradoxes and schisms at the very heart of his personal life.

Nelson emerges as a strong-minded but vulnerable human being in constant need of affection and reassurance, whose relations with superiors, colleagues and friends were intense and stormy. We meet the fighting admiral in search of ultimate military victory, and the glory-hunter skillfully manipulating his public image; the national hero and patron of merit, and the indigent commoner trying to secure his position in a society dominated by wealth, property and land; the family man, and the adulterer who scandalized society by his passion for the mercurial Lady Hamilton - yet whose ambition for domestic tranquillity was destroyed by his untimely death at Trafalgar.

The triumphant and the tragic lend an epic yet human quality to the life of Nelson, fully exploited here in a richly detailed narrative that teems with a glittering array of sailors and civilians, heroes and villains, husbands, wives and lovers.

Nelson: The Sword of Albion

Nelson - Young Reading

Author: Minna Lacey
Year: 2008

The remarkable story of Horatio Nelson, the greatest naval commander of all time, from boy sailor to beloved national hero. Packed with colourful illustrations, diagrams, maps, battle plans, and a cutaway view of Nelson's ship HMS Victory. Internet links to recommended websites via the Usborne Quicklinks Website. Part of the Usborne Reading Programme Young Reading Series 3 for fully confident readers. Age 6 to 12.


Nelson young reading

 Pursuit of Victory: Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson 

Author: R. J. B. Knight
Year: 2005

The starting point of Roger Knight's magnificent new biography is to explain how Nelson achieved such extraordinary success. Knight places him firmly in the context of the Royal Navy at the time. He analyses Nelson's more obvious qualities, his leadership strengths and his coolness and certainty in battle, and also explores his strategic grasp, the condition of his ships, the skill of his seamen and his relationships with the officers around him - including those who could hardly be called friendly. This biography takes a cool look at Nelson's status as a hero and demolishes many of the myths that were so carefully established by the early authors, and repeated by their modern successors. Nelson was a shrewd political operator who charmed and impressed political leaders and whose advancement was helped by the relatively weak generation of admirals above him. He was a difficult subordinate, only happy when completely in command, and capable of great ruthlessness. He was flawed, but brilliant - and not to be crossed.


Pursuit of Victory: Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson

 The Life and Letters of Emma Hamilton

Author: Hugh Tours
Year: 2020


The Story of Admiral Nelson and the Most Famous Woman of the Georgian Age
Emma, Lady Hamilton, rose from poverty to become a media celebrity, and her relationship with Admiral Nelson, and her renowned beauty, made her the most instantly-recognisable woman of her era. Much has been written about this later period of her life, but with Hugh Tours making full use of the letters Emma wrote as well as those she received throughout her life, the fascinating story of her early years is also revealed. This is history as moving as a great tragic novel; most moving of all, being the return, after Trafalgar, of Emma's last letter to Nelson, unopened.

the life and letters of emma hamilton

 The Nelson Way

Author: Les Ham
Year: 2005


A 424 mile walk described in both directions. From Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk (Nelson's birthplace), to HMS Victory, at Portsmouth. Linking the story of Horatio Nelson with locations he knew.

The Nelson Way

HMS Victory - First Rate 1765.

Author: Eastland, Jonathan, Ballantyne, Iain
Year: 2011

HMS Victory is probably the best-known historic ship in the world. A symbol of the Royal Navy's achievements during the great age of sail, she is based in Portsmouth and seen by tens of thousands of visitors each year.

Written by experts and containing more than 200 specially commissioned photographs, each title will take the reader on a superbly illustrated tour of the ship, from bow to stern and deck by deck. Significant parts of the vessel – for example, the capstan, steering gear, armament, Brody stove, cockpit, stern cabins – are given detailed coverage both in words and pictures, so that the reader has at hand the most complete visual record and explanation of the ship that exists.

In addition, the importance of the ship, both in her own time and now as a museum vessel, is explained, while her design and build, her fighting career and her life prior to restoration and exhibition are all described.


HMS Victory - First Rate 1765.

 HMS Victory: Her Construction, Career and Restoration 

Author: Alan McGowan
Year: 1999


One of the world's best-known warships, HMS Victory was the flagship of Lord Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Still a commissioned vessel, she lies today at Portsmouth, England, where thousands visit her each year. Many marvel at her beauty and wonderful state of preservation, the result of the extraordinary work lavished on her over the past two hundred years. A must for Nelson enthusiasts, historians, and preservationists, this book tells the story of the painstaking historical research and fine craftsmanship that restored the ship to its age-of-sail glory. The narrative of the restoration is accompanied by two hundred recently commissioned drawings that show the ship as it was in 1805 and a hundred paintings and photographs. In addition to the technical details of construction and fittings, the book describes the Victory's fabled career and what life on board was like for the officers and crew.

HMS Victory: Her Construction, Career and Restoration

 HMS Victory Pocket Manual

Author: Conway
Year: 2018


This new addition to the best-selling Conway pocket-book range features Admiral Nelson's fully preserved flagship HMS Victory, the most tangible symbol of the Royal Navy's greatest battle off Cape Trafalgar on October 21st 1805.

In the HMS Victory Pocket Manual, Peter Goodwin adopts a fresh approach to explain the workings of the only surviving 'line of battle' ship of the Napoleonic Wars. And, as Victory was engaged in battle during only two per cent of her active service, the book also provides a glimpse into life and work at sea during the other ninety-eight per cent of the time.

This volume presents answers to questions such as: 'What types of wood were used in building Victory?'; 'What was Victory's longest voyage?'; 'How many shots were fired from her guns at Trafalgar?'; 'How many boats did Victory carry?'; 'What was prize money?'; 'What was grog?'; 'When did her career as a fighting ship end?', and 'How many people visit Victory each year?'. It gives a full history of the world's most famous warship through a highly accessible pocket-book format.

The book Includes a pertinent and varied selection of contemporary documents and records to explain the day-to-day running of a three-decker Georgian warship.

HMS Victory Pocket Manual

 HMS Victory Story

Author: John Christopher
Year: 2010


Constructed from the wood of over 6,000 trees HMS Victory was designed as a "first-rate ship', packing a formidable punch with over 100 guns arranged over three decks. Immortalised as Admiral Lord Nelson's flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar, after bringing Nelson's body back to England the Victory sailed out on a number of expeditions until her retirement in 1812. In a wonderfully entertaining narrative, and packed with fun facts, figures and over 100 colour photographs, author John Christopher recounts the story of this celebrated warship right up to its restoration project and current role as the centrepiece of Portsmouth's historic docks. Author John Christopher is a life-long transport enthusiast and a balloon pilot. He has previously written The Hunter Story and Balloons at War for The History Press.

HMS Victory Story

 Nelson's Victory: 101 Questions and Answers About HMS Victory 

Author: Peter Goodwin
Year: 2004


With the approach of the 200th anniversary of the Royal Navy's greatest battle off Cape Trafalgar on October 21st 1805, much attention will be given to our most tangible symbol of that most ferocious engagement, Nelson's fully preserved flagship HMS Victory. Much has been written about HMS Victory but it is often simplistic and romanticised or clearly aimed at the technical requirements of the naval historian. In Nelson's Victory, Peter Goodwin adopts a fresh approach to explain the workings of the only surviving 'line of battle' ship of the Napoleonic Wars. As Victory was engaged in battle during only two per cent of her active service, Peter Goodwin also provides a glimpse into life and work at sea during the other ninety-eight per cent of the time. As technical and historical advisor to the ship in Portsmouth, he is in a unique position to investigate an interpret not only the ship's structure but also the essential aspects of shipboard life: victualling, organisation, discipline, domestic arrangements and medical care. In his role as Keeper and Curator of the ship, the author has been asked thousands of questions by visitors and historians alike. In this volume he has selected 101 of the most important and telling questions and provides full and detailed responses to each: 'What types of wood were used in building Victory?'; 'What was Victory's longest voyage?'; 'How much shot was fired from her guns at Trafalgar?'; 'How many boats did Victory carry?'; 'What was prize money?'; 'What was grog?'; 'When did her career as a fighting ship end?', and 'How many people visit Victory each year?'.

Nelson's Victory: 101 Questions and Answers About HMS Victory

 Nelson's Victory: 250 Years of War and Peace 

Author: Bryan Lavery
Year: 2015

May 2015 sees the 250th anniversary of the launch of HMS Victory, the ship that is so closely associated with Nelson and his great victory at Trafalgar and which, still extant, has today become the embodiment of the great Age of Sail. Many books have been written about Victory but none like this, which tells the full story of the ship since she first took to the waters in May 1765. It contains many surprises - that she was almost wrecked on her launch; that diplomacy conducted onboard her played a crucial role in provoking Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812; and that in 1914 Kaiser Wilhelm set the First World War in motion at a desk made from her timbers. The book also tells the story of Horatio Nelson, who was born a few weeks before his most famous ship was ordered, and whose career paralleled hers in many ways. It does not ignore the battle of Trafalgar, and indeed it offers new insights into the campaign which led up to it. But it says much more about the other lives of the ship, which at different times was a flagship, a fighting ship, a prison hospital ship, a training ship for officers and boys, a floating courtroom, a signal school in the early days of radio, tourist attraction and national icon. It looks at her through many eyes, including Queen Victoria, admirals, midshipmen and ordinary seamen, and Beatrix Potter who visited as a girl. It is simply a 'must-have' work for historians and enthusiasts, and a compelling new narrative for the general reader.


Nelson's Victory: 250 Years of War and Peace

 Souvenir Guidebook HMS Victory

Author: National Museum Royal Navy
Year: 2017

HMS Victory is a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, laid down in 1759 and launched in 1765. She is most famous as Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. She was also Keppel's flagship at Ushant, Howe's flagship at Cape Spartel and Jervis's flagship at Cape St Vincent. After 1824 she served as a harbour ship. In 1922 she was moved to a dry dock at Portsmouth, England, and preserved as a museum ship. She continues to be flagship of the Second Sea Lord and is the oldest naval ship still in commission.


Souvenir Guidebook HMS Victory