Men-of-War: Life in Nelson's Navy - Patrick O'Brian I came across this slim volume (91 pages, text) in a used bookstore quite by chance. It's a collection of essays about life at sea during the "golden age" of the British navy (say, 1750-1850): "The Ships", "The Guns", "The Ship's Company", "Life at Sea" and "Songs". It's by no means a comprehensive history but for fans of Captain Aubrey and Dr. Maturin who don't want to or haven't the time to read weightier tomes, it's a delightful companion to the series.

I'm always amazed by the conditions these men endured for low pay and little reward.