A Seafaring Legacy: The Photographs, Diaries, Letters, and Memorabilia of a Maine Sea Captain and His Wife, 1859-1908
This is a special book whether you are researching family, thinking about traveling the world via the sea, or simply love reading about America’s early coastal families, how they lived and how they traveled.
The Thrilling Account of 19th Century Hell-Ships, Bucko Mates and Masters, and Dangerous Ports-Of-Call from San Francisco
Richard H. Dillon
In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the American Merchant Marine went into a terrible and tragic decline, and sailors were forced to serve under conditions that were little better than serfdom. Seamen were exploited in wholesale fashion, disfranchised of almost all their civil and human rights, and brutally punished for even minor offenses. Successful skippers had turned into slave drivers, cracking down on the sailors, sometimes even murdering their “hands.”
Though captains were legally prohibited from flogging their crews, they did not hesitate to wield belaying pins, marlin spikes, or their bare fists.
The seamen’s lot became so horrible in this period that entire crews frequently jumped ship when a vessel came into port. One result of this was that new crews had to be kidnaped, crimped, or shanghaied from the unsuspecting populace of the ports. These “impressed” or “hobo” crews were still further conspired against. They often had their wages stolen from them; they were poorly fed and clothed. Their lives became “hell afloat and purgatory ashore.”
Captain James H. Blethen, Master Mariner
(The Maritime Heritage Project)
D. A. Blethen-Levy
Captain James Cook: A Biography
Richard Alexander Hough
James Cook, born in 1728, was one of the most celebrated men of his time, the last and the greatest of the romantic navigator/explorers. His voyages in the Royal Navy to the eastern and western seaboards of North America, the North and South Pacific, the Arctic, and the Antarctic brought a new understanding of the worlds geography and of the peoples, flora, and fauna of the lands he discovered.
Richard Hough’s vivid narrative captures all the excitement of this age of discovery and establishes Cook as a link between the vague scientific speculations of the early eighteenth century and the industrial revolution to come. A pioneer in many fields, Cook produced maps of unprecedented accuracy; revolutionized the seaman’s diet, all but eliminating scurvy; and exploded the myth of the Great Southern Continent imagined by earlier geographers and scientists.
Hough consulted numerous archives and traveled in Cook’s wake from Alaska to Tasmania, visiting many of the Pacific islands–including the spot where Cook was stoned to death by cannibals in the Hawaiian archipelago–to produce a comprehensive and immensely readable biography, full of new insights into the life of one of the worlds greatest mariners.
The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty
More than two centuries after Master’s Mate Fletcher Christian led a mutiny against Lieutenant William Bligh on a small, armed transport vessel called Bounty, the true story of this enthralling adventure has become obscured by the legend. Combining vivid characterization and deft storytelling, Caroline Alexander shatters the centuries-old myths surrounding this story.
She shows how, in a desperate attempt to save one man from the gallows and another from ignominy, two powerful families came together and began to create the version of history we know today.
The true story of the mutiny on the Bounty is an epic of duty and heroism, pride and power, and the assassination of a brave man’s honor at the dawn of the Romantic age.
It’s Your Ship:
Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy
D. Michael Abrashoff
The story of Captain D. Michael Abrashoff and his command of USS Benfold has become legendary inside and outside the Navy. Now Abrashoff offers this fascinating tale of top-down change for anyone trying to navigate today’s uncertain business seas. When Captain Abrashoff took over as commander of USS Benfold, a ship armed with every cutting-edge system available, it was like a business that had all the latest technology but only some of the productivity.
Knowing that responsibility for improving performance rested with him, he realized he had to improve his own leadership skills before he could improve his ship. Within months he created a crew of confident and inspired problem-solvers eager to take the initiative and take responsibility for their actions. The slogan on board became “It’s your ship,” and Benfold was soon recognized far and wide as a model of naval efficiency.
How did Abrashoff do it? Against the backdrop of today’s United States Navy, Benfold was a key player in our Persian Gulf fleet. Abrashoff shares his secrets of successful management including:
- See the ship through the eyes of the crew: By soliciting a sailor’s suggestions, Abrashoff drastically reduced tedious chores that provided little additional value.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate: The more Abrashoff communicated the plan, the better the crew’s performance. His crew would eventually call him “Megaphone Mike,” since they heard from him so often.
- Create discipline by focusing on purpose: Discipline skyrocketed when Abrashoff’s crew believed that what they were doing was important.
- Listen aggressively: After learning that many sailors wanted to use the GI Bill, Abrashoff brought a test official aboard the ship-and held the SATs forty miles off the Iraqi coast.
From achieving amazing cost savings to winning the highest gunnery score in the Pacific Fleet, Captain Abrashoff’s extraordinary campaign sent shock waves through the U.S. Navy. It can help you change the course of your ship, no matter where your business battles are fought.
Captain Robert Bully Waterman
(The Maritime Heritage Project)
D. A. Blethen-Levy
Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World
Auckland Island is a godforsaken place in the middle of the Southern Ocean, 285 miles south of New Zealand. With year-round freezing rain and howling winds, it is one of the most forbidding places in the world. To be shipwrecked there means almost certain death.
In 1864 Captain Thomas Musgrave and his crew of four aboard the schooner Grafton wreck on the southern end of the island. Utterly alone in a dense coastal forest, plagued by stinging blowflies and relentless rain, Captain Musgrave—rather than succumb to this dismal fate—inspires his men to take action. With barely more than their bare hands, they build a cabin and, remarkably, a forge, where they manufacture their tools. Under Musgrave’s leadership, they band together and remain civilized through even the darkest and most terrifying days.
Incredibly, at the same time on the opposite end of the island—twenty miles of impassable cliffs and chasms away—the Invercauld wrecks during a horrible storm. Nineteen men stagger ashore. Unlike Captain Musgrave, the captain of the Invercauld falls apart given the same dismal circumstances. His men fight and split up; some die of starvation, others turn to cannibalism. Only three survive. Musgrave and all of his men not only endure for nearly two years, they also plan their own astonishing escape, setting off on one of the most courageous sea voyages in history.
Using the survivors’ journals and historical records, award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett brings this extraordinary untold story to life, a story about leadership and the fine line between order and chaos.
Rough Passage to London: A Sea Captain’s Tale (A Novel)
Lyme, Connecticut, early nineteenth century. Elisha Ely Morgan is a young farm boy who has witnessed firsthand the terror of the War of 1812. Troubled by a tumultuous home life ruled by the fists of their tempestuous father, Ely’s two older brothers have both left their pastoral boyhoods to seek manhood through sailing. One afternoon, the Morgan family receives a letter with the news that one brother is lost at sea; the other is believed to be dead. Scrimping as much savings as a farm boy can muster, Ely spends nearly every penny he has to become a sailor on a square-rigged ship, on a route from New York to London—a route he hopes will lead to his vanished brother, Abraham.
Learning the brutal trade of a sailor, Ely takes quickly to sea-life, but his focus lies with finding Abraham. Following a series of cryptic clues regarding his brother’s fate, Ely becomes entrenched in a mystery deeper than he can imagine. As he feels himself drawing closer to an answer, Ely climbs the ranks to become a captain, experiences romance, faces a mutiny, meets Queen Victoria, and befriends historical legends such as Charles Dickens in his raucous quest.