Home | Books | Broke and the Shannon

Broke and the Shannon

By Peter Padfield

The classic, comprehensive biography of a British naval hero.

“Sir, as the Chesapeake appears now ready for sea, I request that you will do me the favour to meet the Shannon with her ship to ship to try the fortune of our respective flags.”

So began the challenge to equal combat that Captain Philip Broke sent to Captain Lawrence of the United States frigate Chesapeake on 1 June 1813. The same afternoon Lawrence sailed to meet him; the resulting engagement is perhaps the most celebrated single-ship duel in the annals of the Royal Navy.

For the challenger, Broke, it was the climax of years of waiting for a chance to distinguish himself — and it succeeded beyond his dreams. In one furious contest the Shannon avenged an unbroken list of five American single-ship victories since the start of the war.

In this book, Peter Padfield tells the story of Broke’s life as it led up to this supreme day, and vividly describes the action as he has discovered it afresh in contemporary documents and survivors’ accounts. As far as possible, Broke’s own words have been used, found in letters to his beloved wife as she waited in Suffolk, in journals and in other papers. He emerges as much more than simply a fighting sailor. He was a sensitive man, a lover of flowers and the Latin poets, yet also a master gunner whose fascination with scientific devices and ideas on training led to the establishment of the first great gunnery school. He was a patriot, a teacher, a loving and beloved husband and father.

First published in 1968, Peter Padfield’s Broke and the Shannon is widely acknowledged as the classic biography of the man, and has inspired several later writers. It is required reading for all with an interest in naval history, and all who enjoy quality biographies.

Praise for Broke and the Shannon:

‘The classic biography of Captain Philip Broke…Beautifully written, interesting, and with those wonderful old-fashioned footnotes that contemporary authors so often omit’ – Amazon review

Buying Options For Broke and the Shannon

amazon Buy from Amazon
Contact Lume Books | Lume Books

Say Hello

Learn more about how to contact us.

This site uses cookies.
ConfigureHide Options
Read our privacy policy

This site uses cookies for marketing, personalisation, and analysis purposes. You can opt out of this at any time or view our full privacy policy for more information.