The prevailing image of food at sea in the age of sail features rotting meat and weevily biscuits, but this highly original book proves beyond doubt that this was never the norm. Janet Macdonald shows how the sailor's official diet was better than he was likely to enjoy ashore, and of ample caloric value for his highly active shipboard life. When trouble flared--food was a major grievance in the great mutinies of 1797--the usual reason was the abuse of the system. This system was an amazing achievement. At the height of the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy's administrators fed a fleet of more than 100,000 men, in ships that often spent months on end at sea. Despite the difficulty of preserving food before the advent of refrigeration and meat canning, the British fleet had largely eradicated scurvy and other dietary disorders by 1800. A chapter compares provisions in the other major navies of the time, and the book concludes with recipes for some exotic sounding naval dishes, like lobscouse. While it contains much of value to the historian, the book will enthrall anyone with an interest in life at sea in the age of sail.