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Found 59 results

  1. Lascars and Indian Ocean Seafaring, 1780-1860: Shipboard Life, Unrest and Mutiny By Aaron Jaffer Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 2015 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xii + 235 pages Illustrations, maps, appendix, notes, bibliography, index. $115.00 ISBN: 9781783270385 This book is volume number twelve in a series of works on the East India Company. Aaron Jaffer draws upon several scholars who have previously studied the multitude of causes and effects, as well as the complexity, of mutinous events aboard sailing ships and compiles their evidence so as to give a broad, well-supported analysis of late eighteenth and early to mid-nineteenth century mutinies in the Indian Ocean. The study considers both East Indiamen and private merchant ships, referred to as country ships, that operated mainly in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific. Jaffer offers five key themes to explain mutinous events, their causes, methods, alternatives, and consequences. He makes use of an extensive list of primary sources, including private papers, court proceedings, and factory records. Jaffer also includes conclusions reached by previous scholars in similar studies and compares these conclusions with each other as well as his primary source evidence. A basic overview of each theme of the book is outlined, and expanded upon, throughout its respective chapter, including references to other studies and the specific primary material from which Jaffer draws his information. He includes differences in language, religion, culture, superstition, age, level of experience, and marital status in the causes for mutinous events, comparing the numerous examples of such acts and, when possible, the documented reasons. He discusses the different forms of protest and mutiny that have been documented, including desertion, hunger and work strikes, as well as the overthrow of power onboard. Sources and evidence for each of these protests abound and Jaffer’s writing makes that clear. Jaffer exams intermediaries aboard sailing ships and their role in events of mutiny or protest. The ranks of intermediaries included translators, overseers, arbiters, representatives of certain crew members and interest groups, and often had a hand in the finances of the ship. Each role could be, and sometimes was, easily corrupted to sway people or events for personal gain. In the event of ship seizure as the result of a mutiny or protest, of which there are many examples, the resulting status of former officers, commanders, women onboard, and the crew often fell into disorder. Jaffer acknowledges that the surviving testimonies of mutiny investigations and personal accounts are tempered with bias, skewed descriptions, and embellishments, making them difficult for historians to interpret. International politics had a profound effect on protests and mutinies onboard sailing ships in the Indian Ocean. Shifts in politics and diplomacy led to changes in regards to asylum, arrest, trial, and imprisonment. Those who intended to carry out a mutiny, primarily for personal gain, had to be aware of changes in geopolitics of the time in order to be successful. Jaffer’s work is well researched and composed, including references to other scholars’ research as well as numerous excerpts from sources close to each respective mutinous event. This volume is useful for anyone studying sailing ships and shipboard life of the late eighteenth and early to mid-nineteenth centuries. Olivia Thomas East Carolina University
  2. Commemorating the Seafarer: Monuments, Memorials and Memory By Barbara Tomlinson Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 2015 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xiv + 259 pages Photographs, notes, bibliography, index. $50.00 ISBN: 97817843839705 Death at sea, whether through accident, or war, is often premature and unexpected. Sometimes bodies are not recovered, and people simply disappear. Although not all maritime memorials commemorate those lost at sea, perhaps this helps explain the reason, as Tomlinson notes, that maritime memorials are spread across Great Britain. According to Tomlinson, these memorials act as repositories for memory and grief, providing places for people to mourn and communicate with the dead. She also suggests that they provide information of historical and cultural importance, noting that all levels of society produced memorials affected by, and thus reflecting, such cultural forces as politics and religious as well as artistic trends. Tomlinson focuses on British maritime memorials from the sixteenth century through the modern era—from a time when only a small number of elite were honored in such a way to a broadening and democratization of commemoration to include the ordinary seaman. Ultimately, these memorials honored a wide range of people, including naval personnel, privateers, explorers, common seamen, and those lost in maritime disaster. Tomlinson states that her work concentrates on detailing artistically significant memorials, and the stories behind those monuments. Much of her study concerns naval memorials. She describes the funeral of Robert Blake, given a grand service and burial in Henry VII’s chapel in 1657. Three years later, churchmen disinterred his body, throwing it into a common grave, only to have his memory be honored in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with stained glass windows at Westminster and a statue at his birth place in Somerset. In another, poignant example, she describes a wall monument in Westminster commemorating two junior officers. bodies lost at sea. Friends, both died in the Battle of Solebay in 1672. Tomlinson describes their epitaphs, on adjacent panels sharing a common cornice. The destruction of their ship, Royal James, is shown in relief. The vessel fought off two Dutch fireships, but was set aflame by a third. The father of one son paid for the memorial. Tomlinson also details memorials to those lost in maritime accidents. One early memorial commemorates Hugh Everard, lost, along with the entire crew of Restoration, when the vessel wrecked in 1703. Everard was only fifteen when he died. His memorial shows a sinking vessel in relief and bears the inscription Spes nulla salutis (no hope of safety). Later, Tomlinson describes memorials commemorating those lost when the ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsized in 1987. One, in the vessel’s homeport of Dover, includes a window showing Christ stilling the waters. A wall painting in the same city depicts the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. The bows of the ship appear below the figure of St. John. To Tomlinson, this shows “both death and new life through water.” She notes that sculptures of sinking ships are no longer used in memorials—they too explicitly remind people of their mortality—yet sinking ships remain a reality. Tomlinson’s work is a thorough and vibrant examination of British maritime memorials, providing both an enjoyable stroll through centuries of art and history, and a reminder of human mortality. Mark Keusenkothen East Carolina University
  3. Embassy to the Eastern Courts: America’s Secret First Pivot Toward Asia, 1832-37 By Andrew C.A. Jampoler Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2015 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xv + 236 pages Illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index. $44.95 ISBN: 9781612514161 Andrew Jampoler’s Embassy to the Eastern Courts: America’s Secret First Power Pivot Toward Asia is a well written academic work about American diplomatic developments. His book follows the cruise of USS Peacock and USS Boxer from 1832-1834 and the cruise of Peacock with USS Enterprise from 1835 to 1837. In these two cruises, the ships travel to various Asian ports such as Manila, China, Siam, and Muscat. The first voyage marks an important diplomatic push for the United States. Edmund Quincy Roberts set sail aboard Peacock in 1832 as it was bound for Asia. His objective, however, was kept secret as then-President Andrew Jackson wanted him to attempt to secure a treaty to formalize and regularize American trade with China, Siam, and “the powers of Arabia on the Red Sea.” The concealment of his role was to prevent the British from catching wind of the somewhat nefarious scheme. Roberts was a merchant from New Hampshire, but his job was to present a letter to leaders of the various Asian countries that expressed the desire for a treaty to be signed to secure trade and to ensure the prosperity and flourishing of all involved economies. This was not the first time a rather informal and secret trade mission was executed under the Jackson administration, however. In years prior, Jackson quietly sent three commissioners to the Ottoman Empire to meet with the Sultan in order to gain access to the Black Sea trade routes. In typical Jacksonian manner, the United States Congress was not consulted in this endeavor, which was successful. Jampoler describes the voyages by various American frigates, most diplomatic in nature and all aiding in the United States’ trade endeavors. Including a general overview of the United States’ naval buildup and the qualms of Congress with regard to said buildup, the book has a very holistic approach to American diplomacy with regard to Asia. The author follows the second voyage in 1835 to Asia by Peacock and Enterprise rather closely. This voyage, which circumnavigated the globe, was plagued with misfortune, quite literally. Roberts was also aboard on this voyage, tending to more diplomatic tasks. As a result of a cholera outbreak on this ship, many of the crew died, including Roberts, which halted all diplomatic endeavors. Jampoler has done something that, in academic writing, can be very difficult. He has not only created a superbly researched and written account of a specific portion of American History, he has done it so well that even a lay person to the subject can follow along and enjoy the work without feeling at a loss. His prose keeps the reader on edge, as if reading a suspenseful novel. He relates these diplomatic missions to the world around them, which gives the reader scope. Though it reads like one, Embassy to the Eastern Courts is not a general history. More importantly, it does not suffer from common ailments that come with general histories. Jampoler has a solid thesis and ample citations, making his book an exceedingly excellent addition to academia. Jessica Rogers Kestler East Carolina University
  4. God and Sea Power: The Influence of Religion on Alfred Thayer Mahan By Suzanne Geissler Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2015 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xiii + 264 pages Photographs, notes, bibliography, index. $29.95 ISBN: 9781612518435 As described by Suzanne Geissler, Alfred Thayer Mahan lived a life devoted to God and the United States’ military. Using Mahan’s letters and a journal from his service in the navy, Geissler seeks to demonstrate the influence that Christianity played in his career, providing a detailed account of the events that influenced Mahan to be a devout Christian, renowned leader, and respected writer. As a historian and theologian, Geissler tackles this biography from a less secular point of view than previous authors, critiquing previous biographies of Mahan and providing further evidence of the influence of God in his life. Her goal is to provide an understanding on Mahan’s religious faith, its developed, its influence on his thinking, and his role within the Episcopal Church. Mahan grew up in an environment equally influenced by God and country. His father, Dennis Hart Mahan, was a graduate of West Point, a member of the Corps of Engineers, and later in life an advocate for military scholarship. Dennis Mahan was a devoted Episcopalian his entire life. Mahan’s uncle, Milo Mahan, was not only a staunch Christian but an ordained deacon and priest. Unlike his brother, Milo Mahan devoted himself to the church, serving as a professor of ecclesiastical history for many years. Clearly, Mahan's forefathers played an important role in the sculpting of his interests. Mahan and his five siblings roamed the grounds of West Point as children, maintaining strict adherence to the Sabbath. Both he and his younger brothers later served in the military. As a young man, Mahan showed interest in God and in firepower. He spent his teenage years at St. James, an Episcopal boarding school in Maryland. Later, he attended school at Columbia College in New York where he became close with his religious uncle, Milo. In autumn of 1856, Mahan entered the Naval Academy and began his journey into naval history. Geissler carefully analyses his personal writings alongside current events, spending significant time defending Mahan’s personal righteousness. Mahan appears to be a man simply struggling with his spirituality during political and military upheaval, something Robert Seager II apparently addresses with mockery and sarcasm in his biography of Mahan. At one point in Seager’s work, he suggests that Mahan was an anti-abolitionist. According to Geissler, Mahan had not developed a definitive view on slavery during the Civil War, but did know that it had to end. Despite negative views on Mahan’s personal life, none can deny the importance his writing had on the study of naval history. Mahan’s most respected contribution to the military, The Influence of Sea Power on History, 1660-1783, continues to inspire a hundred years later. For readers interested in military biographies, I strongly recommend this book. Geissler provides a new perspective into the life of a very complex man whose work continues to impact our country's navy. Her account clearly outlines the influences of religion in the life of Alfred Thayer Mahan and challenges authors who disagree with Geissler’s viewpoint. Samantha Bernard East Carolina University
  5. American Sea Power and the Obsolescence of Capital Ship Theory By R.B. Watts Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 2016 6” x 9”, softcover, vii + 222 pages Notes, bibliography, index. $45.00 ISBN: 9780786498796 No one has been more influential in the historical development of American naval power than Alfred Thayer Mahan. At the turn of the Twentieth Century, Mahan’s theories became the basis for the U.S. Navy’s strategic development based on the capital ship, decisive battle, and command of the sea. Dr. R.B. Watts, a retired Coast Guard captain and Professor at the National War College, provides an excellent historical analysis of the U.S. Navy’s interpretation of Mahan over time and the shaping of the Navy’s strategy and force structure by that interpretation. He argues that the Navy remained consistently wedded to Mahanian capital ship theory despite the shifting threat environment. In light of post 9/11 “irregular” wars, Dr. Watts argues that the Navy has only taken very limited steps to meet the challenges of irregular warfare and remains anchored to Mahanian conventional capital ship theory; which, according to Watts, threatens to make the Navy both irrelevant and unsustainable. American Sea Power and the Obsolescence of Capital Ship Theory provides an excellent history of strategic thought and doctrinal development within the Navy since Mahan published his seminal work in 1890. Dr. Watts convincingly demonstrates that the Navy constantly adapted, but always maintained the capital ship focus in attempting to deal with changing threat environments. He very effectively demonstrates the fairly consistent disconnect between the Navy’s thought and doctrine and the actual missions it was asked to accomplish. While naval doctrine and strategy remained focused on the “blue water” fleet and the decisive battle with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, it was consistently called to deal with irregular threats in multiple environments. Watts argues that, following the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the Navy should have adjusted its strategy to meet emerging irregular threats. Dr. Watt’s coverage of the Navy’s historic struggles to match its theory to the actual threat environment is clear, cogent, and convincing. His assertions concerning post-9/11 naval strategy and his recommendations for the future, however, are more controversial and debatable. He describes navalists seeking to meet this new terrorist threat using classical naval principles, focused on forward deployed capital ships conducting strike operations against terrorists. He is overly critical of the Navy’s post-9/11 strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq, to the point of blaming the Navy and its strategy for failing to win both of those wars. Clearly a Mahanian in many ways, Dr. Watts seems to ignore Julian Corbett’s warning that wars cannot be won by sea power alone and he continuously downplays the importance of the Navy’s support to ground operations in these two land wars. Dr. Watts advocates for a more balanced and affordable force structure for the Navy and a shift in focus to include the defense of the littoral United States from irregular threats as a primary mission for the Navy. His recommendations rely on certain key assumptions: that terrorists are a strategic threat to the United States, that the terrorist seaborne threat to the United States is beyond the capability of the Coast Guard and civilian authorities, and that the forward deployed Navy is failing to meet the irregular terrorist threat. Dr. Watts’ work, due to his strong historical analysis, is a significant contribution to the ongoing debate concerning the future threat environment and the future shape, role, and missions of the United States Navy within the context of the larger joint force. Sam Rogers East Carolina University
  6. In the Shadow of the Alabama: The British Foreign Office and the American Civil War By Renata Eley Long Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2015 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xiii + 254 pages Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $37.95 ISBN: 9781612518367 In early 1862, the Confederate States of America desperately needed sea power. Busily launching littoral gunboats in rivers and sounds across the South, receiving foreign recognition as a legitimate power required the acquisition of a blue water navy. Confederate commissioners arrived in London and Paris just after the advent of hostilities, charged with acquisition of weapons, supplies, and financial loans to further the quest for Southern independence. Just over two months had passed since USS Monitor and CSS Virginia clashed at Hampton Roads, Virginia. Known alternately as 290 (its hull number) and Enrica, a private firm launched CSS Alabama on May 14, 1862. Union diplomats attempted to have this and other vessels intended for the rebel navy seized by crown officials. CSS Alabama, Florida, and Rappahannock succeeded in escaping and became the scourge of Federal merchantmen. In addition to its declared neutrality in the North American conflict, Great Britain’s Foreign Enlistment Act prohibited any citizen from equipping vessels as men-of-war for use against foreign powers with which Her Majesty's government was at peace. Since evidence incriminated crown officials with complicity in the escape of the Confederate ships, the American government sought damages after the end of the Civil War. The arbitration, now known as the Alabama claims, resulted in an unusual outcome which impacts Anglo-American relations to this day. Renata Eley Long created an in-depth study of the circumstances surrounding the Confederacy’s acquisition of warships. In the Shadow of the Alabama is extremely well researched. Long uncovered mistakes in the history perpetuated by previous historians. She establishes Victor Buckley’s identity early in the text. The connections of this nondescript British Foreign Office clerk build the plausibility of her case. Long meticulously presents evidence of Buckley’s central role in the affair. Finally, she connects the key players in an ever-expanding web of intrigue. In spite of its thoroughness, In the Shadow of the Alabama suffers from several deficiencies. Some details, such as the future and changing Royal titles of individuals, only serve to confuse an American audience. The book makes claims of Freemason involvement in the arbitration which followed the conclusion of the American Civil War; these are largely unsubstantiated. A brief reference to Charles Dickens is of questionable relevance and amounts solely to a distracting side note. The evidence of Buckley's involvement in the Alabama would not hold in an American courtroom. The only piece of hard evidence was presented by the same man who verified its authenticity. That same man was subsequently dismissed from the employ of the American ambassador. Its tenuous connections and shortage of evidence notwithstanding, In the Shadow of the Alabama is an interesting study. For lovers of Civil War history or international intrigue, the book delivers an exciting ride through the annals of Anglo-American relations in the nineteenth century. Much that is useful can be culled from within this story of the shadows that still gather around the most fabled Confederate warship. Dale Wetterhahn East Carolina University
  7. Beyond the Golden Gate: A Maritime History of California By Timothy G. Lynch New York: Fort Schuyler Press, 2015 6-1/4” x 9-1/4”, hardcover, xii + 318 pages Illustrations, notes, bibliography. $29.95 ISBN: 9780989939423 When thinking of California, one tends to imagine the more glamorous or modern aspects of America’s most populous state. The iconic images of the Hollywood sign, the Chinese Theater, and the Santa Monica Pier often take first priority when depicting California. It is easy to forget that the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and the high-tech intellectualism of Silicon Valley are built on the back of a far more industrial history. Timothy Lynch tackles this subject by arguing that it was industrial maritime activity and culture that changed California from a sparsely populated backwater into a booming powerhouse of economic activity. Human interaction with the sea has always been a part of California’s history. Indigenous Americans were building reed boats to ply the waters of San Francisco Bay while Chumash Indians built intricate planked canoes, called tomols, to explore and exploit the waters around the Channel Islands. The arrival of Europeans to the Americas in the fifteenth century had an everlasting, and in most cases devastating, impact on native populations. From Mexico, the Spanish established missions up the coast of Alta California from San Diego to San Francisco. Despite the establishment of almost two dozen missions, California remained sparsely populated by Europeans and white Americans until the United States annexed the territory in 1848, following the Mexican-American War. Although a brisk trade in tallow, leather, and sea otter pelts was already occurring along the California coast, it was the Gold Rush of 1848 that sparked the large scale settlement and development of California. As thousands of American prospectors rushed to strike it rich, San Francisco became a booming industrial port. Lynch focuses on the rise of San Francisco as an economic and industrial center on the Pacific coast. Utilizing a large well of primary sources, Lynch is able to create a concise, yet in-depth, description of the development of California. In order to avoid being overly brief, the author sets aside space to illustrate some of the more colorful characters associated with California’s colonization. One example is a short biography of William Leidesdorff, a ship captain and the mixed race son of a Danish father and an Afro-Caribbean mother, who became one of the wealthiest land owners and politicians in early San Francisco. These short asides add to Lynch’s detailed and thorough documentation of California’s economic development that includes analysis of wide-ranging subjects such as sea otter harvesting and ship design. The only issue with Lynch’s book is its relatively narrow scope and focus. Although the subtitle professes this volume to be a “Maritime History of California,” a more accurate title would be “a Maritime History of Nineteenth Century San Francisco Bay.” While he does touch on some of the early settlements at San Diego and Monterey, these seem to be mere asides to the actual subject of San Francisco. Beyond the Golden Gate is an excellent book for anyone interested in industrial and maritime history. It is meticulously researched and provides an excellent starting point to learn about the American maritime endeavors that built and connected the United States. Conner McBrian East Carolina University
  8. Merchant Crusaders in the Aegean, 1291-1352 By Mike Carr Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 2015 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xvi + 196 pages Illustrations, maps, notes, appendices, bibliography, index. $99.00 ISBN: 97817843839903 Mike Carr’s Merchant Crusaders in the Aegean 1291-1352 details the complex power struggles throughout the Aegean Sea during the Crusades. Carr states that the Crusades in the Aegean Sea was not simply a war between Christian and Islamic forces, but a balancing act of furthering Christian gains while trying to maintain economic stability in the Aegean Sea. Carr starts by analyzing the strategic importance of the Aegean Sea before the fall of Acre. He outlines the political, religious, and ethnic divides of the Aegean Sea and the perils of raiders and treacherous waters plaguing the region. In terms of the Crusades, Carr explains that many Christian forces at the onset of the Crusades viewed the Greeks and Byzantines as evil and, in some contemporary writings, worse than their Islamic opponents. Christian forces regularly attacked Byzantines possessions, citing that the Greeks were incapable of holding against the Islamic forces. The fall of Acre, the last port on the mainland of the Levant held by Christian forces, signaled a shift in Christian tactics in stopping Islamic expansion. A number of naval leagues formed during the Crusades between Genoa, Venice, Byzantium, the Kingdom of Cyprus, and the Papal States to patrol the Aegean Sea and intercept the numerous raids conducted by the Turks. Carr details the complex balancing act of the maritime powers in the Aegean Sea on strategies to best combat Islamic expansion while still maintaining trade. Papal orders, in many cases, conflicted with the maritime commercial wishes of the other members of the naval leagues. Carr concludes by reiterating the role that both the maritime powers of the Aegean and the papacy had in strategies to combat Turkish expansion. Carr does an excellent job of structuring his book in a concise and easy-to-follow manner that covers a wide range of viewpoints, both political and economic, while still maintaining cohesion. His method of following the perspective of certain powers, such as the Venetians, then backtracking to the beginning of his timeline to follow another viewpoint ran the risk of creating confusion, but his ability to reiterate major activities in each chapter insures that the timeline of events is not confused throughout the book. Sources for his book provide a strong foundation from which the main theme derives. Carr pulls sources from Islamic texts, such as Ibn Battuta’s account of travels through the Muslim world, as well as Christian texts, both political and economic, which range from trade license agreements to indulgences granted for crusaders in the Aegean. The wide variety of sources used, and acknowledgment of biases within those sources, ensures the greatest clarity available about the state of the Aegean Sea during the Crusades. Carr’s Merchant Crusaders in the Aegean 1291-1352 is a highly detailed account of the complex political, economic, and military events in the Aegean Sea. His analysis of various Aegean perspectives, with the addition of using a variety of primary sources and secondary research, reinforces his thesis about the way in which the Papacy and maritime powers balanced warfare against a common enemy and maintaining important trade routes to the east. This well written book will provide valuable insight to scholars who seek to understand the Crusades in the Aegean. Tyler Caldwell East Carolina University
  9. The Battle of Lake Champlain: A “Brilliant and Extraordinary Victory” By John H. Schroeder Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015 6-1/4” x 9-1/4”, hardcover, xiii + 164 pages Illustrations, maps, table, notes, bibliography, index. $26.95 ISBN: 9780806146935 The War of 1812 has captivated the minds of British and American citizens alike since it occurred over 200 years ago. Many scholarly works focus on the entirety of the war or the events around New Orleans in 1815. John Schroeder, a professor emeritus at University of Wisconsin-Milwuakee, a student of nineteenth-century America and its military history, successfully discusses a significant battle in the war effort. His work, The Battle of Lake Champlain: A “Brilliant and Extraordinary Victory,” places the events on Lake Champlain and in Plattsburgh, New York in the larger context of the war. Schroeder argues that the roles of the commanders and the strategies allowed for the unexpected American victory and that these events changed the outcome of the war. Schroeder strongly supports his opinion by comparing the American and British effectiveness in the battles on Lake Champlain and in Plattsburgh, the lead up to the battle, and the aftermath of the battle. In examining the commanders of the two sides, Schroeder analyzes their strengths and weaknesses and their impacts on the outcomes of the events on Lake Champlain. The American commander Thomas MacDonough, although young, was able to inspire and rebuild the naval troops on Lake Champlain as well as outsmart the British forces in the battle on September 11, 1814 by working with the other commanding officers of the American forces in the area. On the British side, George Downie led the naval forces as a seasoned naval commander from the Napoleonic Wars, yet he was new to the area during the 1814 campaign season and was unable to work with other British officers. The Americans took advantage of the confusion of the new British officers and their inability to work together. As the battle waged, the British ineffectively implemented their plan, while the Americans effectively took charge through their commanding officers and streaks of luck that played out allowing them to take the day. These same factors further affected the outcomes of the war. As Schroeder effectively describes, the outcome of this battle in the Champlain Valley allowed the Americans to successfully negotiate with a war weary Britain. Schroeder is able to support this thesis so strongly through the use of primary source evidence and battle plans. His analysis relies on the writings of MacDonough, Downie, the American and British forces, writings of the council in Ghent and numerous other sources that aid in recreating the events leading up to the battle, the battle of September 11, 1814 itself, and the results of the American victory in the Champlain Valley. Schroeder uses the appropriate images and maps to represent the battle and those involved. He, however, could have also used more images of the battle itself. Although these images would be artistic in nature, these images would offer striking examples of what the battle could have looked like and further evidence of the impact of the battle on American history. The Battle of Lake Champlain is an excellent work that compellingly argues the role of the battle in the overall position of the War of 1812 and the effect this battle had on ending the war. His use of sources offers a deeper look into the commanders themselves and the strategies that worked or did not work in the battle. Beyond exploring the Battle on Lake Champlain and in Plattsburgh, Schroeder’s work offers the necessary depth of background of the event of the War of 1812 and the complexities of its outcome. This book is a must read for anyone interested in learning about Lake Champlain and its role in the War of 1812. Allyson Ropp Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
  10. Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution By Nathan Perl-Rosenthal Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2015 6” x 9”, hardcover, 372 pages Illustrations, maps, appendix, notes, index. $29.95 ISBN: 9780674286153 The American Revolution was a turbulent time that forever changed the history of the world, and its impacts were far-reaching. While history tends to focus on the experiences of colonists—as both loyalists and patriots—and the British military during the Revolution, scholarship mostly overlooks how sailors and mariners navigated this tumultuous era to gain international recognition as Americans. Nathan Perl-Rosenthal seeks to offer insight into this unique struggle of American seaman piloting global waters in order to provide their fledgling nation with much needed goods, commerce, and international connections. Perl-Rosenthal argues that American seaman held an integral role in shaping the understanding of citizenship in the United States of America and in its role as a sovereign nation that needed to defend these citizens abroad. He elucidates that early American citizenship was highly inclusive as the nation sought to secure American maritime crews composed of men from all regions, classes, and—somewhat surprisingly—races. This broad inclusivity of citizenship was meant to protect Americans at sea from imprisonment or impressment while in foreign waters or ports. However, citizenship could be difficult to prove at times, and foreign nations would do everything possible to discredit claims of American citizenship. He also clearly and effectively portrays the complicated nature of citizenship, especially in a newly formed nation that is undergoing political changes. Perl-Rosenthal makes extensive use of a myriad of sources in order to illustrate a complete picture of the American mariner’s struggle of national identity. He travelled the globe collecting sources in order to truly understand the trials and tribulations of American seaman before, during, and after the Revolution. In addition, his international scholarship incorporates the viewpoints of various nations on American sailors. These sources include naval and government records, sailors’ personal accounts, and merchant ship logs, found at the Archives Nationales in France as well as records in England and North American sites. Perl-Rosenthal deftly constructs these fragmented and unorganized personal accounts of American sailors, who travelled to far-flung ports, into a cohesive, insightful description of the struggles of American citizens at sea who had to prove their identity in order to avoid impressment at the hands of a foreign nation. Citizen Sailors is masterfully written in a narrative style that is suitable for the public as well as academics in the field. Perl-Rosenthal currently teaches as an Assistant Professor of Early American and Atlantic History at the University of Southern California with an emphasis on political history. Overall, Perl-Rosenthal succeeds in supporting his argument that American sailors were instrumental in the development of a diverse national model of citizenship, which was more inclusive than the definition of citizenship at later points throughout American history. The success of his argument resides in the use of numerous primary sources and the inclusion of illustrations that allow the reader to step back in time. Elise Twohy East Carolina University
  11. Mad for Glory: A Heart of Darkness in the War of 1812 By Robert Booth Thomaston, Maine: Tilbury House Publishers, 2015 6-1/4” x 9-1/4”, hardcover, 244 pages Illustrations, map, notes, bibliography, index. $24.95 ISBN: 9780884483571 Mad for Glory: A Heart of Darkness in the War of 1812, by Robert Booth, is an informative account of the lives of two historical figures during the War of 1812 and illustrates how delusions of grandeur ultimately led to catastrophic consequences. Captain David Porter is the main character, a deluded yet incredibly ambitious officer in the United States Navy. United States Consul General Joel Roberts Poinsett is a smart and worldly man charged with inciting revolution in South America. They serve as the main characters in a wild and extraordinary journey of two men's lives in the war-torn world of the early nineteenth century. Fantastical, but thoroughly researched for its quality in interpreting the life stories of Porter and Poinsett, it is heavily based on Porter’s journal entries which he eventually published in 1815 as Journal of a Cruise Made to the Pacific Ocean. Poinsett’s own personal accounts are utilized as primary source material, along with a plethora of other firsthand stories and secondary sources. Descriptive in regard to the lives of both men on a larger global conflict scale, the narrative is indicative of the amount of research that Booth undertook to write this book. Booth articulates very well the history of the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain with events leading up to, during, and after the conflict. Though primarily based on accounts of Porter’s and Poinsett’s experience, the book also touches on other broader scale conflicts such as the revolutionary movements in Chile that Poinsett helped but failed to establish. Other major historical events are also explored and woven seamlessly into the focused story of Captain Porter: a man who defied his own government’s orders to pursue an ill-constructed fantasy of fame and fortune. Booth does well to show the depth of character in Captain Porter and his obsession with the Pacific Ocean. This self-serving fantasy drove him into such frivolous madness, leading him and his men into an outlandish and suicidal pursuit of his own desires. This is perhaps the greatest strength of the book. It takes an in-depth and analytical perspective of Porter’s mindset not only as a naval officer, but as an intense, emotional, and unpredictable individual. Porter’s personal journal entries and the author’s interpretation of them do well to explain the anger, frustration, and egotistical tendencies of the captain. Booth is very expressive with his writing. He is able to use cohesive sentences to break down and explain the mental rational of Porter, so much that it makes the narrative engaging and entices the casual reader to continue reading on sentence by sentence till the end of the book. The perspectives of other characters in this book are also equally described, particularly with the sailors on Essex under the command of Porter. Reviewing their accounts gives the reader a sense of physically being there as the sailors’ experiences are explained. This collection of historical narratives reads like adventure story. Well-written and researched, Mad for Glory: A Heart of Darkness in the War of 1812 by Robert Booth is a wonderful book for anyone to enjoy. The title of the book is somewhat is fitting, as it explores the dark corners of the human desires, obsession and their consequences. Paul Gates East Carolina University
  12. Privateering: Patriots & Profits in the War of 1812 By Faye M. Kert Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015 6-1/4” x 9-1/4”, hardcover, viii + 215 pages Illustrations, appendix, notes, essay on sources, index. $55.00 ISBN: 9781421417479 Trimming Yankee Sails (2005) and Prize and Prejudice (1997) are two previous works by Faye Kert on the subject of privateering. A third fascinating work by Kert appeared in 2015 as a treatise on certain aspects behind privateering (both American and British) during the War of 1812. The emphasis of Privateering: Patriots & Profits in the War of 1812 is clearly captured in the title. Kert uses this slender work to discuss the economic ramifications of privateering while also shedding light on the perspective of the privateers themselves. Supplemental emphases Kert places in this work are anecdotal stories discovered via her astounding research, in addition to the motivations for and against privateering as a state-sponsored institution. The introduction of Privateering fully encompasses the book in its entirety. Not only does Kert briefly (in only eight pages) and expertly paint the picture of anti-war supporters, but she also lays a framework for contextualizing privateers and their mentality. For Kert, the final decision many privateers made during their raids was on the basis of, as she puts it, "the bottom line." Was the profit of the prize worth the effort and expected loss of life? If not, then many privateers let it alone. Kert's analysis here is soundly on the basis of economic prosperity. Beyond their interests in supporting the state, privateers put their livelihood front and center. Throughout the five chapters of Privateering, Kert uses her knack for well-written prose to assist in portraying a wealth of primary source research. Included in chapter one is the curious case of the captured ship Marques de Somerueles, which entered the hands of Capt. Frederick Hickey of HMS Atalanta during the summer of 1812. Included in the captured cargo was a wealth of valuable paintings for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In a remarkable and unique court decision, the Admiralty judge, Alexander Croke, ordered the artwork to be returned to the academy. Croke defended his decision by saying, "The arts and sciences are admitted amongst all civilized nations, as forming an exception to the severe right of warfare, and as entitled to favour and protection." That is, the fine arts belong to the whole of civilization and should not be compromised as war booty. This example is just one of many Kert uses in her interesting discussion of Admiralty Courts and the legality of keeping prizes after captured. Negative critiques of Privateering are few and mild. Transitions within chapters could be improved. Another improvement would be to shift the discussion of privateering's origins to the front of the book. This would aid the reader in discerning the difference between a letter of marque ship and a true privateer (both terms used before it was clarified.) The overall readability and profound research make Privateering: Patriots & Profits in the War of 1812 a crucial work for any historian, whether naval-oriented or embracing a focus on the maritime economics of early America and Canada. Jacob T. Parks East Carolina University
  13. Privateers of the Americas: Spanish American Privateering from the United States in the Early Republic By David Head Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2015 6” x 9”, softcover, xv + 201 pages Illustrations, maps, tables, notes, index. $24.95 ISBN: 9780820348643 To understand the historical content and the events that led to privateering in Spanish America, author David Head offers a variety of perspectives from persons representing opposite sides of the conflicts, both on land and at sea. Wherever possible, Head consulted accurate first person account of events leading to the need for national privateering. Throughout, he strives to clarify the interlocking developments in geopolitical struggles around the turn of the nineteenth century that necessitated privateering. As a result, he examines the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 as precursors to the Spanish-American Wars of Independence and the struggle of nations to expand their territories. Head stresses that privateering was a way to represent nations during a time of power struggle. He also mentions that privateering became a larger geopolitical role embedded in every nation wishing to expand their territories. Through several specific examples of privateering case studies, he provides perspectives that justifies the citizens of the United States who found Spanish-American privateering was an attractive option as a profession during a time of great financial instability and inconsistency. During the early 1800s a person’s profession, financial class, and social standings played a large role when making a decision to join a privateering force. His sources incorporate nearly 350 federal court cases concerning Spanish American privateering, as well as statistics from Lloyd’s List, letters from the different crews, commanders, and legal actions of the ship’s owners. For example, the analysis from letters and memoirs of a Captain Chaytors’s decision was presented tactfully. Chaytor had to choose between becoming a privateer for a foreign nation and supporting his family on the proceeds, or declining the opportunity and risking not finding financial stability in his own nation. He chose to risk his life as a privateer for the sake of his family. One critical point developed by Head is that the sea has a logic of its own; only by penetrating that logic can the actions of privateers be understood. While understanding the driving forces behind the mentality of a privateer is the central theme of this book, understanding the sea is also a vital point. Head’s reasoning is that privateers, whether new to the Spanish American territories or not, had to adapt to the geography, currents, and elements of the southern hemisphere to become successful. The ability to adapt, combined with a privateer’s navigational and tactical skills, determined their ultimate success and the success of the nation for which they sailed during this time of expansion and flexing of power. Tyler W. Ball East Carolina University
  14. Torch: North Africa and the Allied Path to Victory By Vincent P. O’Hara Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2015 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, ix + 371 pages Photographs, maps, tables, bibliography, index. $49.95 ISBN: 9781612518237 Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942, was the largest amphibious assault in history to that time and the first such Allied operation against the Axis. Vincent P. O’Hara provides a highly readable account of this important event, drawing on a wide range of sources, including many often overlooked, such as French operational records from the period. The author begins with a broad overview of the strategic and diplomatic situation that led the United States and Great Britain to launch an assault on Vichy France’s North African holdings in November 1942. He then continues by discussing Allied preparations, demonstrating that the Western Allies were unprepared for such a major amphibious operation, due to poor training, lack of critical supplies, inadequate support doctrine, shortage of forces, and inexperienced leadership. He concludes that Operation Torch saved the Allies from embarking on a potentially disastrous early assault on Continental Europe and provided time for training forces and leaders and developing effective amphibious doctrines. O’Hara shines in his description of the details of operations, particularly the naval engagements between French and Allied forces off Oran and Casablanca. The inclusion of his own clear maps and relevant contemporary photographs make for compelling chapters. He is less effective in placing Operation Torch in the larger context of the struggle for Europe, devoting only one brief chapter to an analysis the campaign’s results, most of which addresses only the short-term outcomes in French North Africa. Torch: North Africa and the Allied Path to Victory will probably become the definitive combat study of this invasion, since O’Hara has succeeded in bringing together so much blow-by-blow detail from both sides during the operation. Readers looking for this level of operational analysis will be more than satisfied. Those readers seeking a study placing this operation in a broader strategic context will need to look elsewhere. George Coleman Austin, Texas
  15. “No One Avoided Danger”: NAS Kaneohe Bay and the Japanese Attack of 7 December 1941 By J. Michael Wenger, Robert J. Cressman, and John Di Virgilio Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2015 8-3/4” x 11-1/4”, hardcover, xx + 186 pages Photographs, tables, bibliography, index. $34.95 This volume is the first in a series that the Naval Institute Press has launched entitled Pearl Harbor Tactical Studies. No One Avoided Danger covers the attack on the newly-constructed naval air station at Kaneohe Bay on Oahu, the base for the PBY-5 long-range patrol aircraft of Patrol Wing 1. The authors’ approach combines extensive archival documentation research, oral histories and interviews with participants, and a very broad array of photographs to present a very detailed and comprehensive narrative of the events of December 7, 1941, their background, and the outcome. No One Avoided Danger narrates the prewar activities of the Wing’s three squadrons, the two waves of Japanese attacks on the air station, and the aftermath of the virtual destruction of the Wing and heavy damage to its facilities. The two central chapters on the attacks themselves are comprehensive, as is coverage of events in the ensuing hours and days. The real danger of a study that concentrates so intensely of such a short period of time and such a limited location is that it can leave the reader mired in a mass of trivial detail and unable to comprehend the overall picture. The great accomplishment of this august team of authors is that they have completely succeeded in avoiding this trap. Throughout this very readable narrative, the voices of the participants, both American and Japanese, largely carry the story. This perspective brings the entire tale to life. The book’s style is lucid and fluent throughout. Wenger, Cressman, and Di Virgilio have produced an engaging, precise, and tightly-written account of the destruction of Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay and the men and women this event impacted. Mark Meyers New Bern, North Carolina
  16. Hunters and Killers; Volume 1: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1776 to 1943 Volume 2: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1943 By Norman Polmar and Edward Whitman Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2015 & 2016 8-3/4” x 11-1/4”, hardcover, 210 & 254 pages Photographs, figures, sidebars, tables, bibliography, indices. $44.95 & $49.95 ISBN: 9781591146896 & 9781612518978 With these two quite short volumes, Norman Polmar and Edward Whitman set themselves the ambitious goal of covering the entire history of anti-submarine warfare from the origins of submarines to the present. It is a huge task to synthesize the extensive literature of submarine warfare into a clear, analytical, and competent historical summary that can satisfy both general readers and specialists. Overall, the authors do remarkably well. Volume 1 covers the anti-submarine campaigns of both world wars up to the point at which the Battle of the Atlantic turned in favor of the Allies. I and II. Its primary focus is on the efforts by the British and, later, Americans to defeat Germany’s U-boats in the Atlantic and, to a lesser extent, in coastal waters and the Mediterranean. Although they set a start date of 1776, the authors generally devote little effort to the early history of the submarine, nor do they much cover other navies’ submarine or anti-submarine campaigns up to 1943 since, correctly, they view operations against the U-boats as the critical issue. Volume 2 begins by documenting the second phase of World War II: the Allies’ crushing defeat of the U-boats (despite the advent of potentially dangerous submarine types very late in the war), the parallel effectiveness of American anti-submarine operations in the Pacific, and the devastating losses of Japanese merchant shipping at the hands of submarines of the United States Navy. Then the Cold War brought new anti-submarine warfare challenges, in the form of large-scale Soviet exploitation of German electro-boat technology, followed by the rapid adoption of nuclear-powered submarines by all major navies and the creation of ballistic missile submarine forces. The authors shift their focus to the interplay between the submarine and anti-submarine forces of the United States and Soviet Union as both sides contended with the technological challenges these developments brought. Several broad themes emerge from these two volumes. Since submarines throughout the period in general represented the technological cutting edge, an essential component for successful anti-submarine warfare was the application of cutting-edge science and technology. Detection of submarines using sonar, radar, or from their sound emissions, heat signatures, or magnetism all depended on the application of science and technology to the problem. Similarly, weaponry—depth charges, ahead-throwing weapons, homing torpedoes, and so on—all required advances in technological capability. Furthermore, effective use of detection systems and advanced weaponry necessitated scientific research and operator training. A second theme is how often the difference between an effective or an ineffective approach hinged on subtleties. Huge efforts could be expended implementing ideas that did not work, such as the large patrol forces deployed in both world wars. Sometimes effective methods required long periods of development and dedicated training and coordination to work, such as ahead-throwing weapons and sonar or the coordination of surface anti-submarine forces with aircraft. The work’s other very important message relates to scientific and technological advances. There was a dramatic rise in the rate at which successful scientific achievement in anti-submarine warfare increased from early in World War I until towards the end of World War II. Thereafter, there has been a constant race for supremacy between submarine design and countermeasure development, both in research and applied technologies. The authors, at least, are of the opinion that submariners are ahead of those seeking to locate and destroy them at present. Although quite a large part of the material in these two volumes is available in the existing literature, the authors ultimately succeed admirably in achieving their goal. In the process they also bring together this information in a most convenient and accessible format. Paul E. Fontenoy North Carolina Maritime Museum
  17. The Pieces of Eight: More Archaeology of Pirates Edited by Charles R. Ewen and Russell K. Skowronek Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2016 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xvii + 318 pages Illustrations, maps, tables, notes, references, index. $39.95 ISBN: 97808130615890 A sequel to X Marks the Spot (2007), Pieces of Eight, edited by Charles Ewen and Russell Skowronek, brings together evidence of piracy from around the world from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Ewen, an anthropology professor at East Carolina University, and Skowronek, an anthropology professor at University of Texas-Pan American, have previously worked on sites linked to piracy and previously edited X Marks the Spot. The anthology that Ewen and Skowronek have assembled reflects a variety of methodologies used to understand a group of people who are challenging to identify in the archaeological record. The main theme of the collection focuses on the potential for identifying piracy in the archaeological record, whether that be underwater shipwreck sites or terrestrial landscapes or the liminal space of the coastlines, and comparing real pirates to their Hollywood stereotypes. By providing a common theme of identifying piracy and its role in the world, Ewen and Skowronek provide an engaging account of piracy around the world through the latest discoveries in Panama, the Dominican Republic and Ireland and further research in North Carolina, Jamaica and Madagascar. The editors compiled a variety of different research from all over the known Golden Age of Piracy haunts to discuss the feasibility of identifying pirates in the archaeological record and breaking the Hollywood myths of piracy. The articles flow from one pirate haven to another, focusing on Queen Anne’s Revenge in North Carolina, Fiery Dragon in Madagascar, Ranger in Jamaica, Quedagh Merchant in the Dominican Republic, Morgan’s raiding of Panama, and the multitude of pirates in Ireland. The use of different sites offers a way for the editors to reach their goal of linking piracy together around the world, establishing methodologies for finding piracy in the archaeological record, and providing a means of creating an accurate image of piracy. This image shows that pirates were living in a real world filled with danger and excitement, yet they lived just as every other sailor in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, making them hard to identify in the archaeological record. This image was compared to Hollywood’s version of piracy. Through the chapters focusing on pirates as providers and their indeterminable presence in the archaeological record, the research offers the beginning attempts to break the Hollywood stereotype. The editors complied a well-written body of research. Each article convincingly argues the difficulties in finding the remains of pirates in the archaeological record, whether those be terrestrial or underwater. Unlike its predecessor anthology, this compilation does not divide the research into explicit sections. This lack of explicit division, however, provides a more dynamic read about the intricacies of pirate archaeology through the variety of sites presented in nondiscriminatory manner. By using sites throughout the world in no manner of importance, the editors have created a gripping tale of pirate archaeology. Although, as one author states “it is not possible to discern a definitive artifact pattern for pirate shipwreck,” Ewen and Skowronek have offered up the beginnings for future research into pirates in the archaeological and historical record. Allyson Ropp East Carolina University
  18. Confederate Saboteurs: Building the Hunley and Other Secret Weapons of the Civil War By Mark K. Ragan College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2015 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, 249 pages Illustrations, map, diagrams, notes, bibliography, index. $35.00 ISBN: 9781623492786 The Confederacy often relied on efforts to use technological innovation to counteract gross disparities in manpower and resources. Much of this was the work of the Singer Secret Service Corps, a small skilled team of inventors and investors led by Edgar Collins Singer, set up in early 1863 at Port Lavaca, Texas. Singer had developed a spring loaded detonator for mines (then known as torpedoes) for use both on land and in the water. His group operated across the Confederacy as their services were needed. Their successes included sinking Union vessels (nine were sunk, including five ironclads) but often the mere presence, or even rumor, of Singer torpedoes tended to inhibit Union operations in Southern waters. In late 1863, Singer agents used land torpedoes to derailed eight Union supply trains in Tennessee, but repairs usually were effected very quickly, so these efforts were little more than a nuisance. Singer Secret Service Corps boat and bridge burning operations were more effective, seriously disrupting transportation along the Mississippi. The Singer group also worked on designs for submarines and torpedo boats, most famously the submarine CSS Hunley. Ragan, the Hunley project’s historian, thoroughly covers its design, construction, trials, and ultimate demise after sinking Housatonic at Charleston. He also documents the group’s work on a massive steam-powered ironclad torpedo boat at Buffalo Bayou, near Houston, at the end of the Civil War. Ragan and other researchers have done excellent work in uncovering sources for the Singer group’s activities despite the destruction of so many records (for obvious reasons) late in the war. Surviving Confederate Secret Service documentation is fragmentary, but the author largely succeeds in reconstructing a coherent exposition of this numerically tiny organization’s critical role in defending the South’s ports and waterways. Confederate Saboteurs is a skillfully crafted study that is an important addition to the naval histories of the Civil War. William Kingsman University of North Carolina
  19. A Confederate Biography: The Cruise of the CSS Shenadoah By Dwight Sturtevant Hughes Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2015 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xvii + 239 pages Illustrations, map, diagrams, notes, bibliography, index. $41.95 ISBN: 9781612518411 Over the past decade no fewer than ten books have been written about the Confederate cruiser CSS Shenandoah. These volumes include the published memoirs of 1st Lieutenant William C. Whittle, a biography of the ship’s commander, James Iredell Waddell that focuses almost exclusively on his time aboard Shenandoah, two studies that focus on the ship’s layover in Australia while repairing and refueling, and a handful of more general works relating the story of this most fascinating of Confederate vessels. Perhaps only CSS Alabama has gained more attention from writers and scholars, and quite possibly only because the raider was first, sailing earlier than Shenandoah. Alabama’s captain, Raphael Semmes, was also quite the self-promoter, writing of the ship’s exploits immediately following its destruction by USS Kearsarge in June 1864. Being the only Confederate ship to circumnavigate the globe, Shenandoah is worthy of such attention. However, this reviewer was skeptical when presented with yet another study of this admittedly famous ship. At what point is saturation reached? Coming in at slightly more than 200 pages, A Confederate Biography offers a well-written, thoroughly documented, and mostly lively account of Shenandoah’s service. Based almost exclusively upon the vast amount of primary sources available, mainly the officers’ diaries and memoirs, as well as the ship’s log, the author picks and chooses his quotes to fit every purpose and make the book come alive. He is also very well-versed in the secondary literature not only on Shenandoah, but on the Union and Confederate navies in general. While this book does not exactly break any new interpretive ground, it tells the story as well as, if not better than, most of the previous works. The pacing of the book is excellent, with most chapters being only ten pages long, allowing readers to digest the book in small chunks if they wish. The author is at his best when relaying human interest stories. He does a wonderful job of bringing each officer’s or petty officer’s personality to the forefront, displaying their strengths, weaknesses, likenesses, and differences. The reader feels as if they know each one by the end of the book. Accounts of the time spent in Australia and on remote Pacific islands are also very well written. Stories of the capture and destruction of each prize are action-packed, keeping the reader engaged throughout. The book includes two very helpful diagrams of the ship and a map of its cruise, as well as a section of photographs, all of which add to the reader’s understanding. While there is little to criticize about this book, a couple of things should be mentioned. The pace of the book slows considerably when the author is covering periods of relative inactivity. Portions of Shenandoah’s cruise were very lackluster, particularly days and weeks that stretched on with no action, and nothing to report save for occasional bad weather. The reader can very much perceive the lag in these portions of the book. Second, the author consistently remarks on the disposition of the ship’s sails throughout the entire book. A reader with solid knowledge of period sailing vessels may find this kind of detail interesting, but the general reader will find this information superfluous. These minor shortcomings aside, A Confederate Biography stacks up well against the aforementioned number of volumes about CSS Shenandoah and its crew. Paired with Angus Curry’s The Officers of the CSS Shenandoah (University Press of Florida, 2006) any reader would learn just about all they care to know about the ship and its famous cruise. This reviewer doubts that there is anything left to write about the subject; saturation has been reached. Andrew Duppstadt North Carolina State Historic Sites
  20. Site Formation Processes of Submerged Shipwrecks Edited by Matthew E. Keith Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2016 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, ix + 276 pages Illustrations, maps, tables, notes, references, index. $79.95 ISBN: 9780813061627 Site Formation Processes of Submerged Shipwrecks is a timely contribution to maritime archaeology scholarship and fieldwork practices. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 2001 guidelines for best practices in the field strongly advocates for in situ site preservation and monitoring as the first management option. The editor, Matthew Keith, has compiled a highly informative and practical combination of current case studies that illustrate the many oceanographic and anthropogenic variables influencing the preservation of a shipwrecks in diverse underwater environments. These range from dynamic beaches and surf zones to more intact deep water sites. Experienced and expert professional practitioners of maritime archaeology qualify and quantify the impacts of factors impacting the integrity and stability of sites including wave action and sand scouring, hull corrosion, bacterial erosion, impacts of trawl nets, offshore developments like oil drilling operations, infrastructure associated with salvage operations such as cranes and winches, shipbreaking and stranding. The case studies include shipwreck categories that are equally diverse geographically and chronologically: Roman vessels in the Aegean and Black Sea, eighteenth-century warships in England, nineteenth-century China traders in Australia, and World War II shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico. While the case studies bring attention to the plethora of phenomena impacting shipwrecks mostly already known to experienced maritime archaeologists, the more substantive contribution of this volume are the discussions about methods and efforts on trial to measure, interpret and predict how, and at what rate, these processes take place. These discussions showcase a new kit of conceptual tools and frameworks that aid stewards and caretakers of this submerged maritime heritage in their mandates. For employees in state and federal historic preservation offices, or in commercial and consultation archaeology positions, there is a renewed recognition of the important need for pro-active management studies and decisions. It is essential not only to understand the immediate and long term impacts of development, but also to provide substantiating data sets to address regulatory compliance recommendations. For example, while it is clear that bottom trawling impacts shipwreck sites, understanding the effects requires documentation of both the extent and intensity of trawling activity spatially and temporarily, and to follow up with repeated site monitoring. In the biological impact assessment, identifying wood tunneling bacteria in wood is the first step, but extending this study to an analysis of which sections or faces of timbers have been covered or uncovered by sediment would add significantly to the overall site assessment. In this respect the case studies vary in content. Some contributions focus on simply identifying and explaining the impacts on shipwrecks, others are more expansive on the applications of interpretive methodologies. The authentic quality of the volume and credentials of the experienced contributing field archaeologists are especially evident in the challenges presented in the call to action to monitor site formation processes. This may include the necessity to include specialists in an archaeological team—such as a geo-archaeologist or geologist to competently detail and interpret sedimentary and fluvial processes. It may be economically unfeasible to return to a site to gather data over time necessary to produce a timeline of change, or for port developers to argue that past dredging has already erased any archaeological record, thus negating the need for further inspection. This is a truly valuable contribution to underwater archaeology scholars, academics teaching submerged maritime historic preservation courses, and new professionals entering the field of compliance archaeology in coastal areas. Lynn B. Harris East Carolina University
  21. USS Constellation on the Dismal Coast: Willie Leonard’s Journal, 1859-1861 Edited by C. Herbert Gilliland Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 2013 6-1/4” x 9-1/4”, hardcover, xii + 413 pages Illustrations, diagrams, maps, notes, bibliography, index. $39.95 ISBN: 9781611172898 Willie Leonard’s journal, carefully and skillfully edited by Gilliland, is a rare account of life aboard ship a nineteenth-century sloop-of-war in the United States Navy. Even more unusual is the fact that Willie Leonard was a common seaman, just one of 304 hands serving aboard the last sail vessel commissioned by the. Navy (in 1854) and dispatched as flagship of the Africa Squadron. Both the Royal Navy and American Navy patrolled the West African coast for illegal slavers, and Leonard describes many meetings and interactions between the American and English vessels. His description of the routine of life aboard ship are speckled with intermittent bouts of excitement in pursuing slave ships, and the expected humorous events of sailors trying to pass the time either between watches or ashore. Gilliland first describes his editing method, noting that nothing has been left out, but that he chose to paragraph the journal entries, providing commentary and context in italics as he sees necessary for the reader. He continues with a brief prologue on young Leonard’s previous experience at sea and his present state when signing papers at the age of twenty-one years. From there the reader has access to each subsequent day in the service, the chapters organized by month. Included are drawings of the ship based on 1859 drawings, two maps portraying the patrol area assigned the Africa Squadron (primarily from the Cape Verde Islands to the Congo River), and more than twenty illustrations or figures of various historic persons, ports, and vessels—all remarked up on by seaman Leonard. Gilliland is careful to correct historical errors made by Leonard when they occur, but these are usually a matter of what ship departed or arrived when and where, the issue usual a matter of a few days. As is always the case when reading primary documents, the reader is often surprised by what historical details can be gleaned. For example, a less informed reader of American naval history might not know what a flag officer was, or that in 1859 it was the highest rank an officer could achieve, effectively being a squadron’s commodore. Both entertaining and surprising is Leonard’s list and description of the forty “kroomen,” all of a local Liberian ethnic group, brought on as temporary hands, paid as ship’s boys, and used to man the boats in the hotter equatorial waters. Multiple such examples abound, from the process of court martial, leave ashore, daily routines of the watch, and of course, “splicing the main brace”. Overall, the work is very well organized by the editor, the modern spelling and paragraphing make it accessible to any reader interested in nineteenth-century naval history, particularly the daily life and observations of a common seaman in the United States Navy. Leonard decommissioned in October 1861, and though we learn of his reenlistment three years later, this account was the only journal he kept of his time at sea. Very insightful, Gilliland’s remarks are informative, though the entries are at times a bit repetitive (life at sea was endless routine) they are also at times very entertaining. At just over 400 pages, it is certainly well worth a read. Daniel M. Brown University of South Carolina
  22. Patroons & Periaguas: Enslaved Watermen and Watercraft of the Lowcountry By Lynn B. Harris Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2014 6-1/4” x 9-1/4”, hardcover, ix + 146 pages Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $24.95 ISBN: 9781611173857 Small watercraft, especially logboats, make wonderful subjects for models (Irwin Schuster’s recent presentations in the Nautical Research Journal illustrate this well). They are simple to build, their size allows for construction at a large scale, and, above all, they are readily identifiable within their cultures. Dr. Harris’s new book is a splendid illustration of the interconnection between material culture—in the form of working watercraft in South Carolina—and the societies that generate it. It is a fascinating combination of archaeological reportage, watercraft documentation, traditional historical documentary research, and iconographic presentation woven together to reveal a totally absorbing account of the complexities of South Carolina’s lowcountry society in the era of slavery. A remarkable feature of this book is the author’s ability to go beyond the traditional historical approach by including a substantial body of very personal narratives from the enslaved watermen of the period. This lends her story a powerful immediacy that is utterly compelling and engaging, and is unusual. Overall, this is a most impressive work. It is occasionally obvious that Dr. Harris’s grasp of the nuances of nautical terminology (or perhaps that of her editor) is a little less than complete (for example, the stern sheets noted on page 97 have nothing to do with sails), but this is a minor point when compared to her achievement. George Mason Raleigh, North Carolina
  23. Matthew Fontaine Maury, Father of Oceanography: A Biography, 1806-1873 By John Grady Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2015 6” x 9”, softcover, viii + 354 pages Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $45.00 ISBN: 9780786478217 Matthew Fontaine Maury is very much an oddity in the pantheon of the United States’s naval heroes. Whereas virtually all such heroes achieved their status as a consequence of their bravery in action, Maury is revered for his scientific accomplishments. In addition, though Maury most certainly actively participated in war, such efforts were reviled during his lifetime and for many years after his death. Finally, while many of his peers who fought for the Confederacy received their due acknowledgement for their services from the nation as a whole quite quickly after the Civil War ended, Maury steadfastly adhered to the Confederate States of America, even in defeat, hindering honoring his accomplishments. This new biography, by John Grady, is a remarkably thorough narrative of his background and life, and is the first new assessment in some thirty years. He comprehensively covers the vicissitudes of his family’s experiences after the Revolution, Maury’s hardscrabble upbringing, and his early naval life. Maury’s seagoing career was halted by injury, and he moved on to undertake the work for which he is most famous: navigation and oceanography. His research, conducted over many years, in determining wind patterns and charting them to make them useful to mariners was revolutionary and contributed mightily to the advance of the American merchant marine in the years before the Civil War. When war came, Maury, without hesitation, opted to serve the Confederacy. His most notable contributions to its cause were working with others to secure orders for ships in Europe and perfecting electrically-detonated mines (then often called torpedoes). This latter work, especially when he applied it for defense against attack on land, generated considerable opprobrium, since it was considered an underhand tactic. After the Confederacy’s defeat, Maury essentially exiled himself, largely because he was very uncertain he would be granted amnesty if he returned to the United States. He involved himself in schemes to resettle disaffected southerners in Mexico in conjunction with the French ambitions (that ultimately failed disastrously) to establish Emperor Maximilian there. He finally returned to the United States in 1868 to a new career in academia. The depth of Grady’s research is amply demonstrated by the very comprehensive bibliography. This effort pays off in his exhaustive detailing of the events of Maury’s life. This detail, however, seems to this reviewer to mask Grady’s limited analysis of his material; he does not go beyond the bald statements of fact to explore Maury’s motivations and assess his impact more completely. Nevertheless, this biography is a major contribution to the study of this remarkable naval officer. William Emerson San Diego, California
  24. Home Squadron: The U.S. Navy on the North Atlantic Station By James C. Rentfrow Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2014 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xi + 218 pages Photographs, notes, bibliography, index. $54.95 ISBN: 9781612514475 Historians have long dated the rise of the modern United States Navy to the twenty-five years between the 1883 Naval Appropriations Bill that was the genesis of the New Steel Navy and the 1907-1909 cruise of the Great White Fleet. This period witnessed a total transformation of the materiel of the Navy from wooden steam-powered cruising ships with full sail rigs to armored steel battleships and cruisers wholly dependent on their engines for mobility. These technical changes were so profound that, to a very great extent, historians have concentrated most of their efforts on researching, analyzing, and describing them as explaining the transition of the United States Navy from a third-rate force to a fleet of the first rank. In Home Squadron, however, Commander Rentfrow makes the case for a far more important transformation within the Navy that occurred simultaneously. The Old Navy was a force whose missions were coast defense, showing the flag around the world, and commerce raiding in wartime. The materiel of the New Navy could fulfil those missions, but creating a world-class force required developing a new operational doctrine of concentrated fleet operations that could contend with the battlefleets of the European powers. Rentfrow identifies the great changes in the operational perspectives of the North Atlantic (or Home) Squadron in the years just prior to the Spanish-American War as the foundation for those of the modern fleet. Even though the equipment of the squadron reflected the Navy’s transition from wooden vessels to steel warships, it was not until the late 1880s that even ad hoc concentrations of its units occurred for training and exercises. Then, between 1895 and 1897, the Home Squadron became essentially a permanently unified combat force that developed the foundational operational concepts that underlay American successes in 1898, admittedly against a less well-organized opponent. Stephen B. Luce and John G. Walker were the two intellectual luminaries who, more than most, drove this change. Rentfrow’s analysis of the intellectual currents of the time form an essential component of his argument. It is surprising that Home Squadron should represent such a transformation of the historiography of the modern United States Navy. Nevertheless, Rentfrow’s book accomplishes this feat. It illuminates the importance of coherent doctrine for military prowess and, as such, is a welcome antidote to the seduction of technological brilliance. Michael O’Brien Tampa, Florida
  25. The Battle for Britain: Interservice Rivalry between the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, 1909-1940 By Anthony J. Cumming Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2015 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xii + 224 pages Photographs, notes, bibliography, index. $39.95 ISBN: 9781612518343 The creation of the Royal Air Force on April 1, 1918 was largely a wartime expedient intended to unify the sometimes competing aviation interests of the Royal Navy and the British Army in the cause of defeating Germany at a critical juncture during World War I. Its subsequent evolution during the inter-war period never adequately resolved the tensions between the Air Force’s doctrinal commitment to the supremacy of independent aerial operations and the Navy’s requirement for an air arm integrated within the fleet in order to fulfil its operational requirements. On the basis of his own in-depth research and much recent published work, Anthony Cumming paints a very different picture of Britain’s wartime successes and failures up to the end of 1940. His perspectives on the campaign in Norway, the evacuation from Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, and the collapse of German plans for a cross-Channel invasion are markedly at odds with conventional wisdom on these topics. At the heart of Cumming’s thesis is his analysis of the efficacy of the combatants’ air power doctrines, especially as they pertain to naval operations. He contends (and the evidence he presents supports him) that air power—as deployed by the Royal Air Force, the Luftwaffe, and the Regia Aeronautica—was largely ineffective against warships, even in narrow waters. Off Norway and in the Mediterranean, where the Royal Navy operated with minimal air cover, its losses to air attack were very small. Even at Dunkirk, where large numbers of vessels were lost to air attack, the vast majority were non-combatants, unarmed and too slow to take effective evasive action. By way of contrast, he points out that, even at the time, it was obvious that, while the Air Force’s bombers were largely ineffective in sinking German invasion craft, the Royal Navy’s light forces (cruisers, destroyers, and motor torpedo boats) wrought havoc against them, even inside the French ports, and it was this success, rather than the outcome of the Battle of Britain, that ended the invasion threat. Cumming also emphasizes the doctrinal corollary of successful air power integrated with the fleet. Although German stukas at this time generally were failures for anti-shipping operations, the Royal Navy’s dive bombers successfully sank the cruiser Königsberg in the defended Norwegian port of Bergen. Seven months later, twenty-one naval torpedo bombers launched from the carrier Illustrious sank three Italian battleships inside the Regia Marina’s principal base at Taranto. The contrast could not be starker. The Battle for Britain challenges conventional wisdom and asks us to re-examine long-held beliefs about air power in a different way. It is a very important contribution to the history of World War II. Steven Fitzgerald Wilmington, Delaware