Sea History 106 - Winter 2003-2004

Page 46

REVIEWS The Global Schooner: Origin, Development, Design and Construction, by Karl H einz Marquardr (Conway Maririme Press, London, 2003 , 239pp, illus, nores, appen, biblio, index, ISBN 0-85 177-93 01; $5 6h c) Ifa reader wa nrs ro know all about schooners, down ro the las t detail, he sho uld read this book. Orhers simply fascinared by the lore of sailing ships will find this work intriguing ro peruse-ir is a coffee-table type of book. D o nor be deceived, however, by its appearance; it is quite technical. T he author describes rigging details and other aspects of how schooners were built. The quami ty of drawings and phorographs, so me of ship models, complemenr th e text well. Readers will revel in descriprions of seafaring lore as rigging, anchors, binnacles-even capstans and windlasses-are described in great derail. Those persons disposed ro getting down ro specifics abo ut schooners will especially appreciare rhis book. The reader should ar rhe very leas r be familiar wirh such rerms as scarf, gu nwale, keelson, and pinde as rhe author ass umes rhe reader will know even rhe most obscure rerms of naurical nomencl at ure. T he book is most informative bur does require concentrarion. There are only 216 pages plus ap pendices, bur rhere is a grear deal ro digesr in it. ARTHUR D. KELLNER Roseland, New Jersey

able acco unr of rhis naval icon. Well-researched, clearly and compellingly written, rhis book purs us on rhe quarrerdeck wirh a man who proved himself fearless in barde, became a celebrity in Paris, and made borh friends and enemies in high places as he fo ughr for rhe rank and recognition he felr he was roo ofren deni ed. Despire his service ro rhe fledgling Un ired Srares, he died on foreign so il , forgotten by rhe narion he served, only ro be resurrected and lirerally dug up a cenrury larer robe broughr home and enshrined as America's Nelson. JERRY ROBERTS New York, New York

Diary of a Contraband: The Civil war Passage of a Black Sailor, by Wi lliam

B. Gould IV (Sranford University Press, Sranford, CA, 2002, 373pp, illus, maps, appe n, nores, ind ex, ISBN 0-8047-4708-3; $24.95 pb) On a rainy nighr in September 1861, eight slaves escaped Wilmingron, NC and m ade rheir way ro rhe USS Cambridge, a blockading vessel station ed off the Cape Fear River. One of the men was W illiam Benjamin Go uld . Gould was nor a srereotyp ical slave-he was an educated arrisan, and for rh e nexr rhree years he fairhfully kepr a diary of his warrime service. His diary porrrays rhe typical experience of a Civil Wa r sailor, significan tly rhro ugh rhe eyes of an African American. He served o n th e Cambridge for blockad e duty, spenr john Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of rime on receiving ships awairing new asthe American Navy, by Evan T homas (Si- signmenrs, and later rransferred ro rhe Nimon & Schuster, New York, 2004, 400pp, agara, which rook srarion in Europe lookillus, nores, biblio, index, ISBN 0-74325- ing for Confederare wars hips being built 804-5; $ 14 pb) in France and England . Within its pages John Paul Jo nes is a legendary figure are Go uld's co nfrontation with boredom, in American naval hisrory, yer few know privation, and momenrs of terror and the more than his name and his famo us quore, ship's barrle wirh rhe elemenrs . T he diary "I have nor yer begun ro fi ght. " Anyone also treats us ro his views on racism and wirh even rhe slightesr inrerest in naval parnonsm. warfare during rhe age of sail should get His family discovered rhe diary in an ro kn ow rhis imperfecr hero who almost attic in 1958, and Gould's grear-grandsingle-handedly upheld rhe honor of rhe son, an accomplished lawyer, academic, yo ung American Navy. Born a Scorsman, and former C hairm an of rhe Na rional Jones adopred rhe American cause and rhe Labor Relario ns Board, edired ir-lerring formarion of a US Navy as his own per- his grear-grandfather rel! his srory wirhsonal crusade, as well as an opportunity for out inrerruprio n. William B. Gould (rhe rhe fame and glory rhis complex characrer younger) also added o rher wrirings of rhis seemed ro cover above all orh er rhings. remarkable C ivi l War vereran , as well as a Evan Thomas has delivered a very read- family hisrory and rheir generations of ser-


vice ro rhis counrry. We can thank both Go ulds for Diary of a Contraband. Ir is a significanr co nrr iburion ro borh Civil War and African American literature. ROBERT M. BROWNING, J R. Dumfries, Virginia

Thomas Macdonough, Master of Command in the Early U.S. Navy, by David Curtis Skaggs (Naval Insriture Press, Annapolis, MD, 2003 , 25 7pp, illus, nores, biblio, index, ISB N 1-55750-839-9; $37 .50hc) Mr. Skaggs has underrake n ro immo rralize one of America's naval heroes, rhe man who made his name on Lake Champlain in Seprember 1814 by defearing a Brirish squadron and rhus assuring Am erican conrrol of rhe lake for the rest of the war. This conrrol was crucial ro avo id a British march down the Hudson Valley srraighr ro New York City, which would have caused the war and , more imporranrly, the peace nego tiations underway ar G hent, to take a quite different rum. Unforru nately, the author has made a number of errors, which combine ro creare a disappoinring result. Probably mosr signifi cant of th ese is that he views nineteenrh-cenrury actions, mindset, and morals nor rhrough the standards of rhe period, but through the discorted vision of rwenty-firsr cenrury eyes. C learly, roday's srandards differ in almost every way from those exranr during the early 1800s. Less sign ificant, bur also disrracring, is Mr. Skaggs use of secondary or even rerriary sources as his reference materi al. Ir is common for writers of biographies of historical people ro romamicize th eir subjects with exaggerated and unsubsranriared facts, and Macdonough's biographer has unwittingly fallen inro rhe sam e trap. Skaggs admirs his lack of "seafaring" knowledge; it is appa renr in his effort here. T his reviewer "heard" a vo ice repeating what others had said with ou t the author understanding the words. Factual errors result from both this lack and poor research; an example is his placement of the Chesapeake/Shannon barrle of 1June 18 13 off Cape May, New Jersey rather than off Cape Ann, Massachusetts, where it, in facr, rook place. A rhorough ed iror might have caughr that error, but good editing