Letter from SW Soundings No.44 (Feb 1999)
Recent Book Review
With the greatest of respect to Ronald Hope I feel he may have possibly missed the point in his review of Exploiting the Sea: Aspects of Britain's Maritime Economy. I do not intend to do a "re-review" but having purchased the book, with which I am well-satisfied - it does seem that this forum of proceedings of a conference are not intended to be read as "....a coherent book..." I feel that this edition does form a useful reference source very much along the lines pioneered by the late Ralph Davis in his books, "The Rise of the British Shipping Industry in the 17th. & 18th. Centuries" and "The Industrial Revolution and British Overseas Trade".
Perhaps I might be in a minority but with an interest in the socio-economic factors that resulted in the growth, life, and subsequent demise of the British shipping industry I found this book of considerable substance, reflecting in many ways the basis upon which the Exeter University Department of Economic History, through which the conference originated in the 1960's, was originally founded. If I had any criticism it would be that insufficient space was left for the inclusion of more statistical information, which the various authors would have obtained during the course of their research. I look forward to the next edition along a similar vein.
From David Clement
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