Wednesday, September 24, 2008

James L. Nelson

James L. Nelson is an award-winning maritime author who Patrick O'Brian called "A master of his period and of the English language."

I recently asked Nelson what he was reading. His reply:
Thomas Fleming recently mentioned he was reading one of my novels. It might sound like literary quid pro quo to say I am reading one of his, but he and I just did a book swap so I am in fact reading his novel Dreams of Glory. I have long admired Tom's nonfiction but have not read any of his novels. Good stuff, his knowledge of the period shines through.

Prior to that I read William Hammond's novel of the Revolutionary War navy, A Matter of Honor. Again, the research is unassailable and the characters well drawn.

Still on the shelf: David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed, which I started though I knew that other things were going to get in the way. Albion's Seed has been a "must read" for a few years.

Also on deck, Richard Russo's Bridge of Sighs, since every once in a while I have to read something that is not about the American Revolution!

That will be a brief diversion, however. I'm just launching into writing a new book on the Battle of Yorktown and the naval battle that preceded it, so I suspect much of my reading will be directed in that effort. One book I'll be revisiting for that is Piers Mackesy's terrific The War for America. Not what you would call a page-turner, but a brilliant and insightful work.
James L. Nelson is the author of the recently published George Washington's Secret Navy and Benedict Arnold’s Navy, and several novels that take place during the age of the sailing navies. His first book of nonfiction was Reign of Iron: The Story of the First Battling Ironclads.

Learn more about James L. Nelson and his work at his website.

--Marshal Zeringue