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Midwest Book ReviewNo admiral in America's Civil War fought with more distinction than David Glasgow Farragut, the first admiral of the U.S. Navy. Yet despite being considered by historians the most important American naval officer before World War II, no substantial biography of Farragut has been published in more than fifty years. Noted historian Chester Hearn's use of previously untapped family and archival records make Admiral David Glasgow Farragut comprehensive study worth reading.
This history/biography not only fully describes Farragut's extraordinary naval exploits, but also his lifelong involvement with Captain David Porter (his foster father) and David Dixon Porter (his foster brother) making this the most complete and illuminating picture ever assembled of one of America's greatest naval heroes. Focusing primarily on the Civil War, Hearn uses recently discovered family correspondence to detail Farragut's relationships with the elder Porter, who signed up Farragut as a seagoing midshipman in the U.S. Navy at the age of nine, and with Porter's son, the only other full admiral to emerge from the Civil War. Under the senior Porter's tutelage, Farragut by the age of thirteen had participated in more action during the War of 1812 than many of the Navy's senior officers. Farragut's legendary leadership is showcased in Hearn's thrilling description of the Battle of Mobile Bay. The biographer's detailed chronicle of Farragut's command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, crowned by the capture of New Orleans and Port Hudson, reestablishes Farragut's nearly forgotten legacy. Such a fascinating and revealing portrait is certain to restore Farragut's place as the admiral who took more risks and captured more crucial waterways than any other naval leader in the Civil War -- all without the benefit of cooperating infantry, and despite his foster brother's determined efforts to undermine him.
Admiral David Glasgow Farragut is a superb and scholarly contribution to the growing body of Civil War literature and must reading for anyone with an interest in U.S. Naval history.