Books on 17th c. Anglo-Dutch maritime wars?
October 18, 2009 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Looking for good books/resources about the 17th century Anglo-Dutch maritime wars. For a project I'm doing, I'd like to get more historical detail about what the Dutch call the English Wars and what the English call the Dutch wars. While I am interested in the specific facts, I'm more interested in getting a sense of time and place, both for those who were at sea and for those at home in the two countries. Do you know any fascinating books (non-fiction or historical fiction) that reference these events?
posted by judith to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A few academic histories below, all of which are nonetheless well-written and good reads.

On the English navy of the period, one of the definitive works is N.A.M Rodger, The command of the ocean: a naval history of Britain, 1649-1815 (2005).

On the love-hate relationship the English had with the Dutch, there is Lisa Jardine, Going Dutch: how England plundered Holland's glory (2008).

A good narrative of political events during the period of the wars can be found in Tim Harris's Restoration: Charles II and his kingdoms, 1660-1685 (2005) and Revolution: the great crisis of the British monarchy, 1685-1720 (2006).

On Dutch culture of the same period, there is Simon Schama, The embarrassment of riches: an interpretation of Dutch culture in the Golden Age (1997).

For English society in general in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century, I would recommend Keith Wrightson, Earthly Necessities: Economic Lives in Early Modern Britain (2002). A short, very learned book which is immensely accessible nonetheless and will give you a great sense of what life was like for working men and women of the time.
posted by greycap at 3:08 PM on October 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

As far as historical fiction goes, Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle has quite a lot on this conflict, especially the first book, Quicksilver. They are huge, sprawling, not-quick-reading books, but I loved them.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:34 PM on October 18, 2009

Jonathan Israel's Dutch Republic is a pretty dense, very academic, but still very interesting introduction to Dutch history. Dutch history is fascinating and not as studied in the anglophone world as it should be - in the late 1400s they were having ideas about sovereignty that reminded me of the English Civil War period, which was itself influential on the American Revolutionary period.
posted by jb at 8:34 PM on October 18, 2009

The diary of Samuel Pepys, who worked for the admiralty, has some good accounts on some events, like De Ruyter's raid on the Medway.

The devil shat Dutchmen then, according to him.
posted by ijsbrand at 12:34 AM on October 19, 2009

greycap gives good advise.
I would add:
Bernard Capp, Cromwell's Navy: the fleet and the English Revolution (Oxford 1989)
Jacob Price;Perry of London : a family and a firm on the seaborne frontier, 1615-1753
Michael Bamber; General-at-sea: Robert Blake and the Seventeenth Century Revolution in Naval Warfare.
Bernard Liss; The Coffee Trader - a novel
posted by adamvasco at 5:41 AM on October 19, 2009

Best answer: Highly recommended and book on Dutch culture during this time period and throughout the history of the city: Amsterdam by Geert Mak. This is indeed a fascinating book that gives exactly that sense of time and place you're looking for.
posted by KatlaDragon at 10:03 AM on October 19, 2009

Response by poster: These are all great answers, thanks so much!
posted by judith at 11:40 AM on October 19, 2009

Marime paintings are another great resource especially as some of the Dutch "Greats" were very active during this period.
You can browse the Greenwich National Maritime Museum by date Also of interest could be Artcyclopedia. Similarily the catalogue for this recent exhibition could be a gold mine; of further interest is this article about the exhibition and others. There was also this exhibition in the Rijksmuseum, which in itself should be a great resource.
posted by adamvasco at 2:04 AM on October 21, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, Adam. The project is actually related to some of those paintings, so I'm looking to get more context around some of the images depicted and the lives of those painters.
posted by judith at 5:01 PM on October 21, 2009

Also I have hust discovered this blog: - History of the Sailing Warship in the Maritime Art.
posted by adamvasco at 12:42 PM on October 25, 2009

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