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Posted March 23, 2003
Astonishing is an Understatement
Astonishing revelations fill this book. Perhaps you thought that the American civil war was fought in America and was decided at Gettysburg. The story is not so simple. The English ruling class favored the South so strongly that they flaunted their own laws and found ways for the Confederacy to build and outfit raiders in England. These few raiders destroyed the American whaling fleet and ran insurance rates so high that the American mercantile fleet was driven from the seas (and suffers to this day). The cotton textile industry in England was in disaster. Workers were naked and hungry. The ruling class was on the verge of recognizing the South and forcing an armistice on the two parties. Then the North launched the most effective barrage of the war. Charity in the form of food and clothing came from the North to the unemployed textile workers in England. The English under class, against their own short-term interest made its voice heard, and England remained neutral. Chap 1. Montgomery: Mallory, the Confederacy's Secretary of the Navy selects James Bulloch to build a raider navy in England. Mallory has never met nor heard of Bulloch, but on the recommendation of a mutual friend (Judah Benjamin, the Attorney General) and a brief interview decides Bulloch is the man. It was an excellent choice. Astonishing. Chap 2. Liverpool: Bulloch arrives in Liverpool unexpected and with no credentials. He presents himself to a man he has never met, Charles Prioleau, the managing director of the Confederacy's unofficial English bank, who agrees to fund the venture. Astonishing. Prioleau introduces Bulloch to an English lawyer who sets about gutting English law to allow the building of warships, on the grounds that warships without guns aren't warships. Astonishing. Do these guys know a secret handshake? Chap 3. Number 290: Bulloch contracts the building of warship 290. Obviously a warship, but without weapons, the customs inspector ignores it. Chap 4. Nemesis: American Quaker, Thomas Dudley comes to England to oppose Bulloch. Chap 5. The Enrica: 290 is named Enrica. Dudley and Bulloch vie. Chap 6. The Passmore Affidavit: William Passmore, English able seaman attests that he was recruited to join the 290, with clear understanding that it was a warship for the South. This is clearly against English law. Chap 7. Escape: The English drag their feet and Bulloch barely gets Enrica out of England. Chap 8. Terceira: Enrica receives her guns and supplies in a neutral port. Semmes takes command. The ship becomes CSS Alabama. Chap 9. First Blood: American whalers around Azores are destroyed by Alabama. Chap 10. The Grand Banks: more destruction. Chap 11. Off the Georges Bank: and more destruction. Chap 12. The Pirate Semmes: battle in the press. Chap 13.'An Instance of Sublime Christian Heroism' : England is close to meddling in US affairs. Not so astonishing if you are the biggest baddest nation on the planet. America sends charity to England. The English working class wins one for Lincoln. Astonishing. Chap 14. USS Hatteras: Semmes lures Union gunboat USS Hatteras out into the Gulf of Mexico, sinks it, and rescues survivors. Chap 15. Straws in the Wind: CSS Florida joins the war. Chap 16. Brazil: more ships seized. CSS Georgia joins the battle. Semmes turns a captured ship into his auxiliary vessel. Chap 17. The Laird Rams: At Laird's, Bulloch is build two seagoing ironclad rams that could pulverize the Union Navy's wooden ships, shell Union harbors, and turn the tide of the war. Congress debates whether to authorize a raider war on British mercantile shipping. The British begin to wonder about the beast they unleashed. They need not worry for about half a century. The US cabinet considers sending a squadron of ships to destroy the rams at dock. US envoy Adams informs Lord Russell that there will be war if the rams put to sea. Russell detains the rams. Chap 18. Simon's Bay: CSS Alabama is gettinWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2003
Good stuff here!
Naval history as it should be written. Concise, factual, and as page turning as fiction. Particularly articulates how the success of the Confederacy's surface raiders affected relations between Great Britain and the United States. Personally, I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Naval and/or Civil War history.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.