The Golden Hind
This book is primarily an assessment of Drake's circumnavigation. It tells us nothing new and Roche's account is not of a comparable calibre to the slightly later circumnavigation studies of Derek Wilson and Alexander McKee. However Roche's book is worth reading for four reasons.
Firstly Roche has a good writing style. He is neither academic nor pedantic. He includes maps, pictures and a good bibliography. His research is sound. Secondly Roche is a Devon man writing about "the local boy made good". He freely admits that he is "an unswerving partisan of his county and an admirer of Drake". Consequently one has to allow for the obvious bias but it does mean that Devon history and anecdotes are included. Thirdly Roche was one of the first authors to examine the man behind the myth. His Drake is a living breathing human being: rather than a historical icon. It is the last two reasons that lift Roche's book above the run of the standard Drake studies of the 1960s and the early 1970s. Fourthly Roche takes an original slant not often found in the more conventional assessment of the circumnavigation.
Roche devotes two chapters to the Golden Hind herself. The first is a scholarly assessment of her origins, dimensions, appearance and her eventual fate. The second chapter lively describes these characteristics to the building of the so-called replica built in Appledore, Devon in the early 1970s. Roche is by birth, a Hatton descended from Sir Christopher's sister Dorothy. Thus he devotes a most interesting chapter to Sir Christopher Hatton by describing his involvement in promoting the circumnavigation, his role in Drake's life and Drake's role in his, ending in an interesting hypothesis as to why the Pelican was renamed the Golden Hind.