Lord Cochrane is one of the primary inspirations for the various literary Age-of-Sail sea captains, that have been a tradition since the early Nineteenth Century. As such, you’d expect that he’d be well known. But at the same time he was getting a good reputation amongst authors, he was getting a bad reputation amongst historians.

There’s good reasons why this should be so. While a capable and daring captain, he was also prickly, opinionated, and often quarreled with his superiors. He was also a reformer politician in a conservative era. So, early biographies of him were negative, and he has been slowly reappraised over time.

This book is actually from 1947, but I have a nicely produced 1998 reprint that I picked up a bit ago. And it holds up well as a fairly balanced short biography. Anyone interested in the Age of Sail should give it a read, as there are some very interesting actions described. At the same time, it lightly goes into Napoleonic-era politics, and sets the scene well for Cochrane’s efforts in the South American revolutions, and the Greek Revolution.