Friday, December 01, 2006

A challenge for someone

If someone wanted to write a book about the Dutch navy in the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652 to 1654), they might well take on the challenge to do a work comparable to Dr. Ballhausen's book for that period. Dr. Ballhausen's book is essentially two books in one volume. The first is called Der Erste Englisch-Höllandische Seekrieg 1652-1654, and the entire volue was published in 1923. The work is ambitious and was obviously prepared after an extensive review of the literature, some of it quite obscure and rare. The work is flawed, however, by the fatal lack of original source documents from places such as the Nationaal Archief in The Hague. The work also suffers from some creative analysis, where conclusions are reached without adequate support. Still, R. C. Anderson praised Dr. Ballhausen's account in of the First Anglo-Dutch War in the Mediterranean Sea. Dr. Ballhausen attempts to provide fleet lists for major operations and battles. These are often partly accurate, but overall they are not very useful, due to too much guessing having occurred. In many ways, the problem with reproducing that book is the difficulty of getting information about the English navy in the war. An easier task might be to just address the Dutch navy, ships, and naval officers in the war, and that alone would be useful.

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