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The History of Maritime Piracy

Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425


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Books for Adults - Nonfiction

Cover Art: The Dutch in the
        Medway
The Dutch in the Medway
By P. G. Rogers

Seaforth, 2017, ISBN 978-1-4738-9568-3, £19.99 / US$34.95

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First published three years after the tercentenary, Rogersí account of the Dutch attack in the River Medway received worldwide praise. He wrote it because previously English works failed to provide a historical perspective of the raid. His contacts in England and the Netherlands, which provided access to both countriesí archives and published works, also permitted him to provide a more informed account from a fair and impartial point of view. On the 350th anniversary, Seaforth has republished this detailed history so new readers can gain a better understanding of the events leading up to, during, and following the June 1667 attack.

To the Dutch the raid is the tocht naar Chatham (trip to Chatham). To the British it remains one of the worst military and naval defeats in the United Kingdom. But to best understand how this event came to be, one must first go back in time to an earlier period in each nationís past. The opening chapters recap these countriesí historical development, explain how they became interconnected, and examine their maritime and commercial rivalry that ultimately led to the Anglo-Dutch Wars. Rogers also discusses the English and Dutch navies, problems plaguing the Chatham Dockyard, and the battle-readiness of England and the United Provinces of the Netherlands prior to the raid. He introduces the key participants, such as Raad-Pensionairis Johan de Witt, King Charles II, and Michiel de Ruyter, who was commander-in-chief of the Dutch fleet.

The second half of the book focuses on the raid itself. This is where Rogersí familiarity with the geography shines through in such detail that readers can easily visualize these events as they happened. The end result of the raid was the capture of Sheerness Fort, the Royal Charles, and the Unity; the destruction of other Royal Navy vessels; and the panic that spread through Britain. Its effect on British morale, the assessment of blame after the raid, what happened to the key participants, and the lessons learned round out this volume. A postscript summarizes what occurred at the tercentenary to which the Dutch were invited.

The Dutch in the Medway is a well-rounded, easy-to-read, and comprehensive presentation of the attack. The use of sources from both countries a non-biased account, and the insertion of quoted passages from primary documents adds to the recountingís immediacy. Maps, footnotes, a list of sources, the index, and color plates depicting the attack and the people involved further enhance the reading experience. This book is also an invaluable addition to any collection on English, Dutch, and naval history.


Review Copyrighted ©2017 Cindy Vallar
 
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