Sea History 075 - Autumn 1995

Page 40

Old &Rare


Maritime Books

Facing West: Americans and the jockeying for position in the Northwest Opening of the Pacific, by John Curtis was not primarily for land, observing Send for free caLalogues Perry (Praeger, Westport CT & London that " the ocean with its perceptible trade UK, 1994, 367pp, illus, notes, biblio, index, routes was deemed much more imporWe are also eager to purchase old books tant than the still largely unknown conISBN 0-275-94920-6; $65hc, $19.95pb) of all kinds, especially maritime. Professor Perry spreads a broad canvas tinental spaces of North America. " Please call or write. He shows how the theme of reaching to paint his picture of the emergence of the Pacific world from an obscurity in the Orient more expeditiously than via t en pound island book company which the very actors on the scene did not the rough passage around the Cape of 76 Langsford Street., Gloucester, MA 01930 (508) 283-5299 know its full extent, to its present standing Good Hope or the still rougher passage as a focus of international attention and around Cape Hom at the tip of South concern. As he observes at the outset of America was the dominant and consisColumbia Trading C_ompany the story, " the American reach for the tent note sounded in advocacy for what Orient becomes part of a far greater was known as "the Pacific railroad. " NAUTICAL BOOKS New, Used l~I Free Ca talog And he notes the ironic facts that drama, the reemergence of East Asia & Out-of¡Prmt ISi Subscription 352 labor imported from China (often under into world prominence"--the prominence >AX (508) 362~~RB} -ag~~r Credit Cards .504 Rte. 6A , Wesl Bamstah le, Cape Cod, MA 02668 it enjoyed, that is, when the Chinese civi- horrible conditions) helped bui ld the rai llization was the world 's most advanced, road that brought China closer to the and a source of wonder to the people who main commercial and industrial centers eagerly seized on Marco Polo 's account of the US , and that sailing ships, taking of his travels and dealings in what the four months or more to reach San Frani cisco from the iron foundries of PennsylChinese called "The Middle Kingdom ." He also notes that that " American vania, carried the rails that would bring reach ," while it plays a critically impor- cargoes and people across the country in tant role in the development of the Pa- about as many days as the sailing ship cific world, was not planned. "The United took months-thus, within a generation, Route 9, Oceanville , States," he observes , " had no policy for spelling the end for American sai ling NJ 08231 j --- bridging the Pacific," and as result events ships in the Cape Hom trade. Visit our 3,000 , --? , 41 So in the end " the railroad drew the seemed to unfold almost at random. But sq. ft . store or ~ " by focusing in on key trains of events North Atlantic closer to the North Pasend $3 0.-2 and the people who led in bringing them cific," and American involvement in the for brochure about, Perry succeeds-and I believe suc- Pacific world thereafter grew apace, in 609-652-9491 ceeds brilliantly-in following the action war and peace, reaching the unprecon this grand stage and bringing it to life. edented heights we see today in headThe advantages of the broad-brush, lines and in trade statistics. It is good to report that Perry keeps a big-picture approach are evident in Perry 's appreciation of the fact that the sure grasp on the realities of the age he is year 1869 marked the opening of both dealing with as he unfolds his story. He the Suez Canal and the transcontinental does not commit the crime against hurailway across the United States, both manity al l too often found among histoengineering feats designed to facilitate rians today, of speaking from above the steam transportation. It's widely under- battle and beyond reach of the human stood that the Suez opened the Orient to experience of an earlier age-which Captain Joshua Slocum Centennial direct connection with steamships from makes up, after all, the true reality of any Ca le ndar for 1996! England on a far more efficient basis age. So he writes e loquently and accuCelebrate the lOOth Ann iversa ry of th e first solo voyage around the wo rl d. A grea t holiday g ift for than the long and often stormy passage rately of the rigors of the Cape Hom ever sa ilor. $11.95 + $2 S& H 1-800-461-6599 via the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of passage in sailing ship days, and conAfrica-but to thi s reader, at least, it 's cludes hi s observations on this subject indeed news that a faster passage to the with a marvelous bit of outreach in space T he epic '94 voyage of the Orient was a principal motive behind the and time, quoting the Soviet astronaut J eremiah O'Brien "Exci1ing lnie-life adventure story." unprecedented effort that went into build- who from his space craft said he found (SH Summer 1995 review) the Hom "gloomy and forbidding- it ing a railroad across the United States. 590 pp , 230 photos . $32 He demonstrates this point by showing gave me a sense of danger. " A full bibliography adds value to this how , from the first American voyages to Bot h O'Urien books: $55 the Pacific Coast, the impetus was not so book , encouraging further exploration The histo ry of the 0 'Brien much to open and settle the coast, but to in this field to which Professor Perry 1943-1993 . "171is splendid press on to the Far East, specifically in provides , in this work, so engaging and work.. . " (SH Spring 1994) PS the trade in seal and sea otter skins from masterful an introduction. 490 pp , 110 photos. $30 the Pacific Northwest to a Chinese marThe G lcncannon Press ket not at all interested by other Ameri- Terr~a Cognita: The Mental Discover y PO Box 341 Palo Alto CA can products. His narrative reveals that of ALmerica , by Eviatar Zerubavel 94302. Checks/Visa/MC the British, Spanish, Russ ian and US (Rutggers University Press, New Bruns-

at reasonable prices

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