Sober Men and True - Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy 1900-1945 by Christopher McKee
Royal Navy Social History 1900-1945

Sober Men and True

Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy

Sober Men and true by Christopher McKee: This small icon is used elsewhere in my site as a link to this page!

Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy 1900-1945

Published 2002 by Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts & London

SOBER MEN AND TRUE: Christopher McKee with psychological insight describes the very human qualities of the lower deck, who, through their professionalism, courage, commitment and loyalty made the Royal Navy such a potent naval force in the first half of the 20th century.

Book's condition and details:

This the 1st. edition.

Blue boards quarter bound maroon cloth. Navy/black title block to spine with gilt letters and edges. - No inscriptions - all pages and photographs pristine - binding square and tight. Condition NEAR FINE with very few signs of wear. Dust wrapper is unclipped and also in NEAR FINE condition.
A very nice copy!

Royal Mail prices for various destinations.
Prices correct from May 2015.
U.K. Included in price
Europe £6.85
World Zones 1 £10.30
World Zones 2 £11.15
ISBN: 0674007360

 285 pages. 165 mm. x 243 mmm. x 28 mm. 

Weight unwrapped 629 grams - Weight wrapped for postage < 750 gms.

 Weight wrapped for postage < 750 grams. 

Sober Men and True by Christopher McKee: A small photograph intended to show the general appearance and condition of this book.

Price: £21.50 including U.K. postage.
For postage to other countries see table!


The image of the naval sailor is that of an enigmatic but compelling figure, a globe-trotting adventurer, swaggering and irresponsible in port but swift to flex the national muscle at sea and beyond. Appealing as this popular image may be, scant effort has been expended to reveal the truth behind the stereotype.

Thanks to Christopher McKee’s ground-breaking work, it is now possible to hear from sailors themselves – in this case, those who served in Great Britain’s Royal Navy during the first half of the twentieth century. McKee has scoured sailor’s unpublished diaries, letters, memoirs, and oral interviews to uncover the lives and secret thoughts of British men of the lower deck. From working-class childhoods teetering on the edge of poverty to hardships of finding civilian employment after leaving the navy; from sexual initiation in the brothels of Oran and Alexandria to the terror of battle, the former sailors speak with candour about aspects of naval life: the shipboard homoeroticism, the pleasures and temptations of world travel, and the responsibilities of marriage and family.

McKee has shaped the first authentic model of the naval enlisted experience, an account not crafted by the officers or civilian reformers but deftly told in the sailors’ own voices. The result is a poignant and complex portrait of lower deck.

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