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prmitch

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About prmitch

  • Birthday 07/04/1947

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    Sauquoit, New York, USA
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    Marine engineering, ship modeling, maritime and naval research, sailing

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  1. Toni, Thank you very much for your excellent presentation and round-table demonstration at the recent Conference in New Bedford. I found them most informative and have placed my order for a kit.
  2. Victory Without Peace: The United States Navy in European Waters, 1919-1924 By William N. Still, Jr. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2018 7-1/2” x 10-1/2”, hardcover, xi + 368 pages Photographs, notes, bibliography, index. $68.00 ISBN: 9781682470145 Victory Without Peace is the final volume of William N. Still’s groundbreaking study of the United States Navy’s operations in European waters. By 1919, when this book begins, the “war to end all wars” was over, the United States and its allies were the victors, the country was eagerly awaiting the return of its troops, and there were expectations of an economic “peace dividend” not least from the drawing down of the nation’s armed services. For the Navy, hopes for a rapid return to the routines of peacetime operations were quickly dashed. Allied leaders were determined to prevent the re-emergence of strong states in what had been the Central Powers (Imperial Germany, Austria Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire). During the conflict and in its aftermath in the peace negotiations, prominent politicians, most notably Woodrow Wilson, deliberately (and, most probably, quite cynically) played the card of national self-determination to break up the states of the old Central Powers, encouraging the creation of a string of nation-states from the separate nationalities of these empires. What none of these politicians envisaged were the full ramifications of this ploy. They quickly learned that these various nationalities were not willing to be coerced into forming tidy nation-states that would fulfill the expectations of the Allied powers by containing the rumps of the defeated empires. Instead, national self-determination became the rallying cry for a plethora of ethnic, racial, or cultural groups seeking independence. The consequences were instability, regional conflicts, ethnic cleansings, and genocides. Allied leaders needed to bring this situation under control if their grand plan for European peace were to come to fruition. Military operations were necessary. Naval forces were particularly attractive for these missions because it was much easier to disengage them from situations than to extract ground troops. Thus the United States Navy found itself thrust into “operations short of war” in the eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean, the Adriatic, and even in the Baltic. The numbers were quite small and most vessels were light craft, such as destroyers, but operations were relentless and potentially dangerous. The Navy also took on two other major missions during the period immediately after the war. Much of the organization and administration for shipping home millions of troops fell to it. The massive mining campaigns undertaken mainly in the North Sea, the English Channel, and the mouth of the Adriatic to obstruct the passage of U-boats during wartime now had to be cleared to make these waters safe for merchant shipping. Almost all of this hazardous task was undertaken by the United States and Royal navies, both of which suffered quite noticeable casualties for peacetime in the process. Still’s study of this often-overlooked period of United States naval operations is best described as magisterial. It is a comprehensive, deeply researched, brilliantly expounded, and lucidly presented story whose resonance with the Navy’s missions in the early twenty-first century is unmistakable. Victory Without Peace is a fitting conclusion to Still’s trilogy. Edward Hamilton University of Chicago
  3. Oceans Ventured: Winning the Cold War at SeaBy John Lehman New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2018 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xxix + 330 pages Photographs, notes, bibliography, index. $27.95 ISBN: 97803932542549 On November 9, 1989 the Berlin Wall came down, symbolizing the collapse of the Soviet Union and its defeat in the Cold War. Economic exhaustion precipitated by its strenuous efforts to match and surpass the military prowess of the United States abruptly brought the Soviet Union to its knees, ending a forty-year conflict. John Lehman’s Oceans Ventured tells the story of one of the most important factors in this victory. The United States Navy expanded and updated its forces, developed cutting edge technological solutions, and demonstrated a consistent ability to project overwhelming power forward into waters the Soviet Union regarded as sacrosanct. In response, the Soviet Navy was compelled to demand an ever-increasing share of the nation’s budget to build up its own strength to repel the intrusions. When combined with parallel accretions to its already huge land and missile forces, these expenditures overwhelmed the Soviet Union’s economic resources and led to its collapse. Dr. Lehman’s narrative often reads like a thriller. Because of his background as a frontline naval aviator, he is able to project the tension and excitement of these operations into the waters of the Soviet bastion. Simultaneously, his academic, administrative, and policy background enables him to incorporate the critical political and doctrinal components that underlay the development and execution of the United States Navy’s forward power projection mission. In addition, his personal participation as Secretary of the Navy in the process lends particular strength and authority to the narrative. This latter, however, is also a limitation upon Ocean Venture’s ready acceptance as a definitive source. Because of Lehman’s direct involvement in the story, it is both intensely personal and highly political. Lehman can tell an authoritative story but, because much documentation pertinent to the narrative remains classified, he cannot use it to underwrite his thesis and no outsider can access the evidence to validate or discredit him. This cuts to the heart of his proposition that there was a radical change in naval doctrine with the Reagan administration. It may well be true, but the inaccessibility of much of the evidence to support it makes it an assertion rather than a fact. Oceans Ventured vividly and powerfully tells the story of the Navy’s indispensable role in winning the Cold War. It has serious limitations, in part from secrecy restrictions, but it also is a superb starting point for further research and discussion on this very important topic. Patrick Clark Northeastern University
  4. The World of the Battleship: The Design & Careers of Capital Ships of the World’s Navies 1880-1990 Edited by Bruce Taylor Barnsley: Seaforth Publishing, 2018 Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2018 9-3/4” x 10-1/2”, hardcover, 440 pages Photographs, tables, notes, bibliographies, index. $76.95 ISBN: 9781848321786 From the outset The World of the Battleship disconcerts, not least because the subtitle on the dustjacket—The Design & Careers of Capital Ships of the World’s Navies 1880-1990—is markedly different from that in the book itself—The Lives and Careers of Twenty-One Capital Ships from the World’s Navies, 1880-1990. The latter, in fact, far more accurately describes this book’s content than the former. Almost as disconcerting is the realization that it is almost easier to determine what this book is not than to review what it accomplishes. It is not a technical history of capital ships even though it contains a considerable amount of technical data. It is not an operational history despite each of its essays including appreciable coverage of operations. It does not focus on diplomatic, strategic, or procurement policies but devotes quite some space to these concerns. If The World of the Battleship is none of these, what then is it? The shorthand answer is that it is a social history of capital ships that presents the stories of the operators within the context of the technologies, military operations, and national diplomatic, strategic, and procurement objectives pertinent to each of the vessels described in this collection of essays. Editor Bruce Taylor’s accomplishment is that he makes what could have been an incoherent collection of disparate stories into a compelling unified presentation of the maritime world of the capital ship. This is even more remarkable when one realizes that the essays present the perspectives of twenty-one different nations and that less than a quarter of the contributors are native English speakers. Taylor’s introductory essay immediately sets the tone, bringing to the forefront both the international dimension of the capital ship’s technologies and the societal implications (financial, industrial, diplomatic, operational, and personal) of these vessels. The successive essays, even though all have very different perspective, combine to reinforce this presentation of the social history of battleships. One could argue with some of Taylor’s choices. Is Scharnhorst the best platform to tell the Kriegsmarine’s story and one wonders whether Rivadavia might be a more effective representative for Argentina, especially as its rivals Brazil and Chile have dreadnoughts as their storytellers. He also admits the omission of some potential platforms; it is unfortunate that the rare opportunity to tell a part of the Royal Siamese or Royal Portuguese navies’ stories was missed. Nevertheless, The World of the Battleship is a remarkable, innovative, and compelling work whose sum brilliantly succeeds in being greater than its individual parts. Christopher Conlan Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  5. British Blockade Runners in the American Civil War By Joseph McKenna Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2019 7” x 10”, softcover, vii + 209 pages Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $49.95 ISBN: 9781476676791 As there are hundreds of books on American Civil War maritime history and the blockade of the South, one has to question what makes McKenna's book stand out among his colleagues’ writings? The author states in his introduction that he hopes to rectify "little mistakes" made in American writings that have been perpetuated due to the lack of British records. Certainly, McKenna has gone to great lengths to provide new information in his endnotes and to document as much source material as possible. To a degree, his notes are more substantial than the body of his text. For example, and perhaps for the sake of brevity, McKenna tries to oversimplify Lincoln's policies in 1861: "One of the main planks of Lincoln's policy had been the abolition of slavery. For the present, the South needed its slaves." However, according to Doris Kearns Goodwin, in Team of Rivals, in his inaugural address President "Lincoln moved to calm the anxieties of the Southern people…he had ‘no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so.'" While this was disconcerting to many in his abolitionist base, it was not until later that Lincoln publicly provided his policy on ending slavery. While the author's endnotes are quite good, his documentation for the volume of data in his introduction and subsequent chapters go unlisted. While most American Civil War historians understand that the blockade covered over "3,500 miles (5,600km) of Confederate Coastline, with 189 harbors, rivers and inlets," there is no endnote to allow the reader the ability to seek out this data and know if it was pulled from Robert Browning, William N. Still, Jr., or another historian that has written on the blockade. One must also understand that while the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion is a great resource, it too, must be put into the same context as newspapers and other letters; it cannot stand alone. Throughout his book, McKenna makes use of ship manifests and information on their captains and crews to develop an interesting and broader picture of this international venture. The list of vessels in alphabetical order showing builders and runs gives researchers an excellent primer. While he did use reliable sources from archives to assist him, he also quotes the writings of James Sprunt and lectures from the Ladies Memorial Association (now the United Daughters of the Confederacy) which are deeply immersed in Lost Cause rhetoric. While many scholars today shy away from the post-war hyperbole, McKenna weaves it into his encyclopedic entries to add a dash of excitement. McKenna does present new information in a format that is consumable for the average reader. He uses newspapers, archival information, and personal accounts to introduce us to those in Great Britain who built vessels, ran the blockade, and aided the South in the Confederate war effort. For those who have read Clyde Built: Blockade Runners, Cruisers and Armoured Rams of the American Civil War and Masters of the Shoals, British Blockade Runners in the American Civil War will be a good addition to their collection. Lori Sanderlin North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport
  6. Ironclad Captains of the Civil War By Myron J. Smith, Jr. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2018 7” x 10”, softcover, 262 pages Illustrations, maps, bibliography, index. $75.00 ISBN: 9781476666365 Myron J. Smith, Jr., emeritus library director and professor at Tusculum University in Tennessee is best known for the wealth of scholarship he has contributed on the Civil War navies in the western theater. In this, his latest volume, he has produced an excellent reference source for anyone interested in the history of the navies and ironclads of the period. In the Introduction, he acknowledges that his forty-five years of research and eight previous books, especiallyCivil War Biographies from the Western Waters(MacFarland, 2015), established the basis for this most useful encyclopedia. In the foreword, Mark F. Jenkins establishes the importance of this volume, stating “in many ways, these men were at least as interesting as the strange new ships they served aboard,” and “As fascinating as the ironclads themselves undoubtedly are, the men deserve at least as much attention.” Jenkins and Smith both speak to the appeal the ironclads have for both serious scholars and amateur enthusiasts of the war, mainly due to their uniqueness. Over the broad span of naval history, they are a quickly fleeting moment in the evolution of ship design. Bringing into focus the human element helps to put these ships into a broader context. The biographies contained in the volume are typical of this type of work. Each entry includes name, dates of birth and death, service (USN or CSN), the name(s) of the ironclad(s) commanded, and as full a biography as possible. In a useful appendix, Register of Ironclad Captains, the author lists each ship in alphabetical order (Confederate followed by Union), and a list of the commanders for each. The volume is well-illustrated throughout; if there is no image of the person, an image of the ship they commanded is included. Concluding each biography is a list of sources used. One need only look at the extensive bibliography to see how well-researched this book is, and the author gives credit to many institutions in his acknowledgements. While this volume will prove useful to any student of the Civil War navies, the price is likely to be prohibitive. The paperback version is listed at a price of $75, and even the Kindle edition is over $30. Given the cost, many readers will have to look for this volume in their nearest library. Andrew Duppstadt North Carolina Division of State Historic Sites
  7. Florida’s Lost Galleon: The Emanuel Point Shipwreck Edited by Roger C. Smith Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2018 6-1/4” x 9-1/4”, hardcover, xvii + 299 pages Illustrations, diagrams, appendix, references, index. $34.95 ISBN: 9780813056760 The discovery of the Emanuel Point shipwreck in 1992, subsequent field excavation campaigns and field school work, associated historical research, ongoing conservation of recovered artifacts, and public outreach programming all are the substance of this relatively brief and highly readable work. The wreck itself, part of the expedition led by Tristán de Luna to create a settlement in Florida as the starting point for an overland bypass around the treacherous Bahamas Channel, is the earliest to be found to date in the state. The efforts associated with the site also laid the foundations for vibrant subsequent nautical archaeological work undertaken by the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, the University of West Florida, and public projects through the Florida Public Archaeology Network. This compilation, edited by Roger C. Smith, of submissions from practitioners intimately involved in the project is very different from many other archaeological reports. The style is personal without glossing over the necessary technicalities, so that the reader is drawn into the project as it unfolds. The various authors manage to convey a palpable sense of the excitement of working on every aspect of this site without in any way diminishing the academic rigor of the presentation. Despite containing pieces from seven contributors, including several with more than one author, there are virtually no jarring transitions, a tribute to the skill of the editor. The Emanuel Point shipwreck is a very important site, not least because the environmental conditions in Pensacola Bay over the centuries allowed for the survival of an appreciable body of hull structure and a substantial assemblage of artifacts. The hull remains suffice to evidence that this was one of the larger ships of Luna’s fleet, indicate that it was a veteran of the Atlantic passage from Spain to the New World, and demonstrate the drama of the wrecking itself. Archaeologists have recovered more than five thousand objects from the site and the process of conserving and analyzing this assemblage is ongoing. The historical record shows that survivors of the hurricane that struck the fleet salvaged large amounts of materials and cargo for their survival. What was left behind suffices to tell a compelling story of how the mariners, soldiers, and colonists lived aboard, the necessities they brought with them, and even indications of cargoes carried on previous voyages. Equally education al is the discussion of the conservation processes that enabled the survival and analysis of these objects. One of the most exciting aspects of this book is its exposition of the programs created to involve the general public, avocational archaeologists, and students in local schools in participating and learning from the various aspects of the work on the discovery. Florida’s Lost Galleon is a stunning addition to the literature of nautical archaeology. Its combination of accessibility and rigor makes it a model for generating accessible archaeological reportage. Kelly Hanson University of Southern California
  8. Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates By Eric Jay Dolin New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2018 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xxix + 379 pages Illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index. $29.95 ISBN: 9781631492105 As Eric Jay Dolin notes, both in his introduction and in his acknowledgements, there is far from a shortage of books about pirates, let alone about those of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Although publishers probably are little concerned about adding to this number (the public’s fascination with the topic practically guarantees good sales), any new work faces a challenge if it is to be seen as more a positive contribution to our knowledge of the subject rather than just a money-making project. Dolin’s “twist” (as he terms it) is to focus his attention on those pirates “who either operated out of America’s English colonies or plundered ships along the American coast.” This concentration succeeds admirably in bringing a distinctive coherence to the author’s presentation; it enables him to tie together what otherwise could well be disjointed tales of individual pirates and their actions. An even more important outcome of the author’s “twist” is the ease with which it allows him to contextualize these disparate pirate biographies. The single most significant lesson that emerges fromBlack Flags, Blue Watersis that piracy did not occur in a vacuum. Pirates functioned within a larger society. On a practical level, they needed bases from which to draw resources and operate, safe havens in which to refit and recuperate, and markets for their loot. More broadly, even these outlaws needed at least tacit acceptance into American colonial society at large. Dolin succeeds admirably in correlating the rise and fall of piracy in this era with the degree to which the colonies embraced or rejected the pirates. Readers paying attention to Dolin’s avowed geographical focus may wonder why so many of his subjects’ home bases, such as Jamaica and the Bahamas, seem to be outside the limits of this area. One can infer that the author, like contemporary English administrators, viewed England’s American colonies as components of a unitary system, his deliberate decision to focus on the colonial perspective inhibits the ability of many United States readers to comprehend this reality because it is only implied and never explicitly explained. Readers swept along by the narrative pace probably will not notice, but it is an irritant nevertheless. Although Dolin makes some use of primary sources, the bulk of his references are to secondary material, and some of those he considers “impressive” themselves are based very heavily on other secondary sources. The decision to offer only a select bibliography makes life more difficult for those interested in following up on the author’s notes. A substantial number of his sources do not appear in the bibliography so, quite often, finding a specific source can require working back through the notes to the first time it appears. Oddly enough, after discussing the authorship of A General History of the Pyratesand concluding it was not Daniel Defoe, the book itself is listed in both the notes and bibliography under Defoe. Overall,Black Flags, Blue Watersis a first-rate synthesis of writings on its subject told in a compelling voice, and its distinctive emphasis on the American colonial perspective on the topic certainly is fresh and thought-provoking. Caroline Mackenzie University of Tennessee
  9. The U.S. Navy against the Axis: Surface Combat 1941-1945 By Vincent P. O’Hara Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2017 6” x 9”, softcover, xvi + 364 pages Photographs, maps, tables, appendix, notes, bibliography, index. $24.95 ISBN: 9781682471852 InThe U.S. Navy Against the Axis: Surface Combat, 1941-1945, Vincent O’Harapresents an excellent analysis of the United States Navy’s surface engagements during World War II. He argues that some historians have been too quick to give full credit for the American naval victory in the Pacific to the advent of naval air power and submarine warfare. O’Hara does not deny that those aspects of the naval war were crucial components of the American success, but he vehemently argues that the surface fleet also played a vital role in securing victory. He argues further that it was the Solomons Campaign’s many surface engagements that decided the outcome of the war in the Pacific, allowing the American surface fleet to develop the confidence and tactical understanding necessary to win the war. O’Hara provides a brief introduction to the major themes and considerations of surface combat in World War II. For those unfamiliar with the field, this material enables adequate comprehension of the author’s arguments. The bulk of the book is organized into twelve chronological chapters, each comprised primarily of individual battle narratives that chronicle every major American surface engagement of the war. This format allows O’Hara to demonstrate the evolution of surface battle doctrine and technique over the course of the war. The history is based primarily in operational reports and logs, allowing detailed accounts of even minor engagements. When possible, he resolves or addresses contradictions between American and Japanese accounts, often bringing a sense of clarity to the uncertainty faced by participants. O’Hara presents readers with undeniable evidence that the air and submarine power of the Japanese and American navies did not render the surface fleet obsolete. In fact, he demonstrates that it was surface vessels that often played decisive roles in key battles, accomplishing objectives that air power could not handle alone. O’Hara does not merely ignore the contributions of carriers and submarines. Rather, he demonstrates that carriers needed fire support from battleships, cruisers, and destroyers on several occasions and shows that it was in times of collaboration between surface vessels and carriers that some of the most impressive victories were accomplished. O’Hara has included numerous engagement maps and tables showing battle and ship statistic, as well as a useful section of photographs from the period. These resources offer a means to mentally follow the battle narratives, which are often filled with complex tactical maneuvers. O’Hara has documented his research in extensive notes, leaving academic readers with a valuable bibliographic resource for further study. The book also includes a concise but adequate index that makes it a useful resource for both researchers and readers searching for mention of a particular topic. The U.S. Navy Against the Axis: Surface Combat, 1941-1945 is a thoroughly researched work that fills a crucial gap in the understanding of the naval victory in World War II. Its organization is both logical and methodical, weaving an overarching narrative between the magnified explorations of specific engagements. O’Hara’s narrative brings character and definition to the cold facts of naval engagements. This volume stands out as a defining work on American surface warfare in World War II. Noah S. Shuler East Carolina University
  10. Joseph Brown and His Civil War Ironclads: The USS Chillicothe, Indianolaand Tuscumbia By Myron J. Smith, Jr. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2017 7” x 10”, softcover, x + 384 pages Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $49.95 ISBN: 9780786495764 InJoseph Brown and His Civil War Ironclads: the USS Chillicothe, Indianola and Tuscumbia, Myron J. Smith, Jr. provides a thorough analysis of one man’s contribution to the Civil War. The author gives the story of Joseph Brown’s life as one of the most successful but virtually unknown contractors of the war. He also describes the construction of each of the three ironclads built by Brown, telling of their strengths, weaknesses, and participation in various river actions. Finally, the author endeavors to clarify a part of the story of fighting on the Western rivers that was not addressed in some of his previous works. Smith makes excellent use of primary sources throughout his work despite the fact that Brown himself did not leave any personal papers. Instead, Smith pieces together the details of Brown’s life using numerous newspaper articles and the writings of other prominent individuals. He begins the book with an account of Brown’s life before the war as a local politician, steamboat captain, and businessman, emphasizing the federal connections that would later help him land the contracts for his ironclads. Smith then delves into the intricate process by which each ship was built, mentioning the various subcontractors and naval personalities and listing the contributions of each person. Smith also foreshadows the problems that each ironclad would eventually encounter by describing the many design flaws and scheduling problems that occurred. After dealing with Brown and his ironclads, Smith describes the service of each of the three ships during the war. In doing so, he provides an in-depth look at several battles that took place during the 1863 Vicksburg campaign. The Chillicothe, Indianola, and Tuscumbiawere all involved in this campaign to some extent. The organization of this section of the book is strictly chronological, helping to relieve the confusion caused by such a detailed analysis of the battles. The author does an excellent job of relating each little aspect of numerous small river actions to the overall context of both the fighting on the Western rivers and the Civil War as a whole. He does this, in part, by including the tactics that various commanders used to determine the ways in which ships would be utilized. After telling the story of each ironclad and the people who manned them, Smith relates the story of Brown’s life after the war as an influential St. Louis politician and businessman. Smith delves into Brown’s personal life, business transactions, and political policies in exhaustive detail. He thus adds more dimension to the short biography given in the beginning of the book. Overall, this book is extremely well-researched, with extensive use and quotation of primary sources. It is also logically organized into coherent sections, each containing a variety of maps and illustrations. Smith successfully creates a balanced and nuanced portrait of Joseph Brown, the ironclads that he built, and their contributions to the Western river fighting of the Civil War. Emily Dibiase East Carolina University This review is provided courtesy of the Nautical Research Guild.
  11. John Banister of Newport: The Life and Accounts of a Colonial Merchant By Marian Mathison Desrosiers Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2017 7” x 10”, softcover, xii + 234 pages Illustrations, appendices, notes, bibliography, index. $49.95 ISBN: 9781476669328 Marian Desrosiers interprets a qualitative assessment of newly found ledgers in John Banister of Newport. These ledgers detail everyday expenditures for one of the most active merchants of Newport, Rhode Island between 1746–1749 CE. Meticulous entries denote quantities, purchasing and selling prices, origins and destinations, along with specific ships used for the import or export of goods. Luxuries, everyday necessities, food staples, naval stores, cloth, building supplies, and enslaved persons are shown in these ledgers. The entries provide an assessment of shipments through Rhode Island during this period of economic expansion. Desrosiers demonstrates the shrewdness of Banister as a merchant, arguing that Banister was a philanthropist, who diversified his holdings, quickly learned from contentious investments, and became an economic force through employing many residents to expand and shape Newport in ways still evident today. Moreover, the expenditures of the Banister family are within these ledgers and reflect the lifestyle of a merchant rising in social standing. In an ironic twist, Desrosiers argues that, despite being an accomplished international producer, Banister was concomitantly a major consumer. Banister made several donations to his church, orphans, the community, and educational institutions, impacting the community more than himself. Public records show Banister built and rented properties, a shipyard, and a wharf. After low returns on investments in privateer and Letter of Marque ships, he abandoned future ventures. A transition from businessman to the gentry lifestyle can be seen when he buys and moves into a countryside manor. Additionally, family expenditures reflect opulence, luxury goods common to the social elite, and a Harvard education for one of his sons. Many of the arguments put forth by Desrosiers are logical and transparent in historical records. The ledgers themselves show a drastic increase in net worth for those years. Social networking through marriages and business partnerships placed Banister in the presence of wealthy social elites, many of whom consumed his goods or elicited his services to export theirs. On the topic of slavery and the slave trade, it appears Desrosiers tries to address the topic but not condemn Banister’s participation. To denigrate Banister is contrary to Desrosiers’ aim to applaud him and his accomplishments. Avoidance serves only to vitiate the discussion of how influential and pivotal icons that participated in enslavement should be perceived. Overall, this book provides insight into everyday transactions of colonial merchants. Research covers the entire life, business, and legacy of John Banister with a focus on the 1746–1749 CE ledgers. The statistics are straightforward and contain just enough detail to show relevance but not affect readability. Notes, bibliography, and index are thorough and resourceful. Page and print size are large, a pleasant deterrent to eye strain. Desrosiers’ writing style is best summarized as congenial and reflect his distinguished writing of history. Stephen Lacy East Carolina University This review is provided courtesy of the Nautical Research Guild.
  12. Shipmates: The Men of LCS 52in World War II By Gary Burns Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2016 6” x 9”, softcover, x + 197 pages Photographs, appendices, notes, bibliography, index. $39.95 ISBN: 9781476666877 Gary Burns’ Shipmates: The Men ofLCS 52 in World War II is an atypical monograph on the subject of naval operations in the Second World War. Burns provides background detail and emphasis on the events that led to conflict in the 1930s and 40s, in addition to focusing on the Pacific Theatre by turning a lens on the individual. The main focus of Shipmatescenters around constructing an interconnected narrative of the crewmembers of LCS 52 and their diverse yet similar backgrounds. To Burns, the men of LCS 52serve as a collective micro-history of a band of brothers who were similar amongst themselves, yet unique and often times extraordinary from other servicemen in WWII. Shipmatesfamiliarizes readers with the Landing Craft Support (LCS) ships that were vital in the American war effort, especially in the Pacific. These ships, nick-named “Mighty Midgets,” were fitted with an arsenal of weaponry and shallow drafts to enable close encounters during the island hopping of World War II. Chapters 1 and 2 serve to give readers an introduction to Burns’ methodology and writing: seeking to understand the training and enlistment motivations of diverse individuals. The historical actors of Shipmatesinclude Lt. Harper, master navigator-turned-captain of the LCS 52, and Muscco C. Holland. Holland was a sailor with previous service on the USS Kearney, a ship that Germans attacked before the United States officially declared war. Also included is the story of Ulysses Johnson, the only African-American sailor who served on the LCS 52. Gary Burns accomplishes his thesis by placing these individuals in their own separate cultural contexts, while also paying careful attention to the similarities (such as enlistment motivations, family life, and education) that connected many of the men of the LCS 52. Researchers should use Shipmatesto rethink their approach to dissecting and constructing individual servicemen and women during wartime. With his discussion of enlistment motivations, Burns’ flowing writing style lets readers ponder issues such as the economic difficulties resulting from the Great Depression, race relations in America and the exploitation of African American soldiers, and the importance of documenting WWII veterans via oral histories. Readers should be cautioned that some of Burns’ citations are a bit light, seeming not to fully represent the detailed narrative that Burns constructs. Despite this drawback,Shipmatesis a well written, refreshing look at wartime service in WWII. Hopefully, other researchers will learn from Burns and continue with this tradition of turning the focus toward the individual. Jacob Parks East Carolina University This review is provided courtesy of the Nautical Research Guild.
  13. Rough Waters: Sovereignty and the American Merchant Flag By Rodney Carlisle Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2017 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xii + 278 pages Photographs, tables, notes, bibliography, index. $31.95 ISBN: 9781682470091 In Rough Waters, Rodney P. Carlisle studies the emotional symbolism attached to the United States flag and its merchant marine fleet. According to the author, American naval and political figures adhered to an eighteenth century gentleman’s honor code. As a result, the language, rhetoric, and values associated with the gentleman’s honor code frame the government’s approach to national and international politics. Carlisle argues that the United States flag, as an extension of American identity, embodies the emotional, symbolic, and cultural values of the nation. Consequently, the treatment of merchant ships operating under the United States flag abroad is considered a matter of national honor. Merchant vessels occasionally ignite conflict between the United States and other global powers. The appropriate response to the insult of the flag’s honor, as per the gentleman’s honor code regarding duels, is a display of force. Nevertheless, Carlisle argues, since 1939 the United States has avoided participation in a war to defend national honor due to the change in nationality of flags on American-owned merchant vessels. In his analysis of post-Revolutionary and Antebellum maritime history, Carlisle fails to account for the other contributing political, societal, and economic factors that led to historical maritime events and military confrontations. While the argument regarding the flag and its ties to national honor as instigators of maritime conflict is compelling, the intervention of the American military in the examples used by Carlisle can be described as a nation protecting its economic interests. As is, Carlisle’s exclusion of the numerous political, economic, and societal issues that influenced maritime events and conflicts makes his examination of post-Revolutionary and Antebellum history one-dimensional. Additionally, Carlisle argues that the United States was able to remain neutral at the beginning of World War II because merchant ships owned by American corporations began to fly foreign flags. As a consequence of the flag change and transfer in registries, the American flag and national honor were not at risk at sea. It was then unnecessary for the United States to interfere when American-owned foreign-flagged ships carrying cargo to the Allies were attacked. Nonetheless, as Carlisle states, there were government officials who saw the transfer of flags and registry of ships transporting cargo for the Allies as a violation of the intent of the neutrality law, and, therefore, dishonorable. The politicians who disagreed with the decision to transfer ship registries to Panama contradict Carlisle’s argument. Thus, the United States’ maritime policies regarding trade with warring nations between 1939 and 1941 betray the gentleman’s code of honor that Carlisle describes. Despite these weaknesses, Carlisle presents a thought-provoking argument regarding the symbolism and national honor of the American merchant flag in connection to maritime conflicts. The text’s most noteworthy contribution to present scholarly literature is its discussion of maritime law and the “flight” of the flag. Carlisle’s book is a comprehensive analysis of the legal basis for today’s shipping industry and registry system. His discussion of the reasons and timing for the change in national flags onboard American merchant vessels is undoubtedly useful. Rough Waters, although flawed, is a valuable addition to current scholarship dedicated to the legal side of maritime history. Anna D’Jernes East Carolina University This review is provided courtesy of the Nautical Research Guild.
  14. Priestley’s Progress: The Life of Sir Raymond Priestley, Antarctic Explorer, Scientist, Soldier, Academician By Mike Bullock Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2017 7” x 10”, softcover, ix + 259 pages Photographs, notes, bibliography, index. $39.95 ISBN: 9780786478057 Priestley’s Progress, by Mike Bullock, is an examination of Sir Raymond Priestley’s eclectic life, from his early childhood to numerous expeditions and World War I service, all lending to life examples he brought to his teachings throughout his academic career. Targeted towards academics, explorers, and historians, Bullock presents the book in a chronological context that aims to provide examples of the impact made by Priestley in the areas of exploration, science, and academia during the early twentieth century. Born in Tewkesbury, England in 1886, Raymond Priestly grew up amongst many siblings with educated parents, his father being a headmaster. Striving towards a similar goal, Priestley attended University College, Bristol during which he was sought after by Sir Ernest Shackleton, an explorer based in London. With some hesitation, Priestley agreed and began his career as an Antarctic explorer, during which time he would have many life endangering experiences full of adventure and excitement. From 1907 to 1909, Raymond Priestley traveled on Nimrod, studying geographical features of the Antarctic. During this exploration, the crew was plagued by lack of food, extreme temperatures, and loss of navigation, making their goal of reaching the pole an initial failure. In 1910, Priestley began his second exploration, this time aboard Terra Novaalongside Robert Scott, and was met by many more successes. Priestley also had accomplishments during his military career. Entering World War I in the British Army Signal Service, Priestley joined the Cambridge University Officers Training Corps in 1913. Here, he utilized the first wireless telegraph set to communicate until the end of his career in 1919, during which he was presented with a Military Cross for gallantry. After the war, Priestley returned to London and began a more narrowed focus on academia, teaching at Cambridge, Melbourne, and Birmingham; however, the passion for exploration ignited once again during his retirement. Priestley traveled on Wyandotwith the Duke of Edinburgh for the American Deep Freeze IV Expedition in 1958 and his work there nominated him to become the President of the Royal Geographic Society. Priestly passed away of natural causes on June 24, 1974 at the age of eighty-eight. Bullock’s biographical depiction of Priestley’s life is one of the first representations of this extraordinary man and his achievements.Priestley’s Progress presents a chronological outline of this explorer’s life, while Bullock condenses vast knowledge into a format that both informs readers and provokes curiosity for further detail. While the overall timeline is impressive, the book is filled with short descriptions of events and sporadic reminders of dates, time frames, and ages for Priestley during his adventures. Furthermore, the Preface references accounts and direct testimonies made by friends and family that would lend immensely to the appeal of a biographical work, yet citations remain sparse throughout the text and leave readers wanting to know more of the background story to Priestley’s accomplishments. Overall, Bullock offers a biographical exploration of Raymond Priestley that encompasses his full lifetime in a concise manner. The book is enjoyable and thought provoking, and may well encourage readers to seekadditional material on both Priestly and the exploration of Antarctica. Kelsey Dwyer East Carolina University This review is provided courtesy of the Nautical Research Guild.

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