In the first of a two part series, this month Isaac offers a web-essay exploring ‘New Scholarship on the Press Gang.’
“When I undertook a PhD project on sailors back in 1993, work on impressment per se was scarce. One of the more memorable works had been published in 1913. The secondary literature that is available now amounts to an Aladdin’s Cave of riches compared to what I had to work with two decades ago.
The books I’ll discuss in today’s post (part one of two) are Nicholas Rogers’ The Press Gang: Naval Impressment and its Opponents in Georgian Britain and Denver Brunsman, The Evil Necessity: British Naval Impressment in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World. Rogers and Brunsman address the press gang in terms of the Royal Navy’s needs and policies and both make use of Admiralty archives, but they also set it firmly in contexts that include politics, law, society, culture, and philosophy; they consider race, class, and gender in some depth; they draw upon parish records, municipal records, poor law records, newspaper accounts, first-person accounts from various perspectives, lawsuits, Home Office archives, as well as Colonial Office archives.”
To continue reading the full essay click here