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On July 31, 1970 boatswain's aboard British warships around the world piped “Up Spirits” for the last time. On this infamous “Black Tot Day,” the Royal Navy ended a 315 year old tradition and sailors downed their last tot at Her Majesty's expense. Navy rum, known in the service as Nelson's Blood, played an important role in the social history of the Royal Navy during the rise and decline of the British empire. The late Captain James Pack, RN, OBE does honor to that history. His book is detailed, ...more
The book's topic is fascinating, and there are plenty (too many?) long excerpts of original letters and documents from the 17th century onward. But I'm sorry to say that despite the interesting information, I found the writing to be dry, not sustaining my interest at times.
An entertaining history of the "tot" (British naval rum ration), given in the context of surrounding naval history. It's interesting to see the shifts in attitude toward liquor (versus beer) from several perspectives ranging from seamen to admiralty.