John Parfitt

Britannia’s finest years

In 1903, the final volume of Laird Clowes’s seven-part History of the Royal Navy thudded on to Britain’s bookshelves: 4,385 pages of broadside-by-broadside chronology from 55 BC to 1900 AD that were in print for almost a century. Nobody has attempted to follow it on that scale, until Professor Rodger that is. His 1997 volume,