Autobiography of a seaman by Lord Thomas Cochrane
Cochrane was a British captain during the Napoleonic period. His life was the raw material on which many later writers of historical fiction drew. The influence on Patrick O’Brian and C.S. Forester, for example, is marked.
For readers wanting naval daring, the biography written by his son is a better read. There is a bit of naval dash in the early part of the book. In the later chapters Cochrane discusses the corruption of the Admiralty, and the role that political influence played in his conviction for stock fraud. He is a fierce, bitter old man, and his attitude scathingly hostile to his political enemies.
Recommended for those interested in the period, or in the literature of naval warfare. It is available as a free audio download through Librivox. The linked page also includes links for free downloads in various e-text format via Internet Archive.