The Oxford Illustrated History of the Royal Navy by J.R. Hill
The Royal Navy was a principal instrument of British power, and the critical factor in national defence, for several centuries. It was a unique institution that worked its way deep into the national psyche, not only through heroes like Nelson but through the reputation of the ordinary sailor for courage, enterprise, tenacity and humour. This illustrated history explores the Navy's record in strategy, operations, ship and weapon development and construction, organization, manning, training and its place in society. It relates how the Navy interacted strategically, economically and socially with events in the UK from medieval times to the present day. The supporting illustrations include diagrams showing how ships of various periods were manned for battle.