George Washington's Secret Navy: How the American Revolution Went to Sea

George Washington's Secret Navy: How the American Revolution Went to Sea

by James Nelson
     
 

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In 1775 General George Washington secretly armed a handful of small ships and sent them to sea against the world's mightiest navy.

From the author of the critically acclaimed Benedict Arnold's Navy, here is the story of how America's first commander-in-chief—whose previous military experience had been entirely on land—nursed the fledgling

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Overview

In 1775 General George Washington secretly armed a handful of small ships and sent them to sea against the world's mightiest navy.

From the author of the critically acclaimed Benedict Arnold's Navy, here is the story of how America's first commander-in-chief—whose previous military experience had been entirely on land—nursed the fledgling American Revolution through a season of stalemate by sending troops to sea. Mining previously overlooked sources, James L. Nelson's swiftly moving narrative shows that George Washington deliberately withheld knowledge of his tiny navy from the Continental Congress for more than two critical months, and that he did so precisely because he knew Congress would not approve.

Mr. Nelson has taken an episode that occupies no more than a few paragraphs in other histories of the Revolution and, with convincing research and vivid narrative style, turned it into an important, marvelously readable book."
—Thomas Fleming, author of The Perils of Peace: America's Struggle to Survive after Yorktown

"A gripping and fascinating book about the daring and heroic mariners who helped George Washington change the course of history and create a nation. Nelson wonderfully brings to life a largely forgotten but critically important piece of America's past."
—Eric Jay Dolin, author of Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America

"The political machinations are as exciting as the blood-stirring ship actions in this meticulously researched story of the shadowy beginnings of American might on the seas."
—John Druett, author of Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

In focusing on an event that otherwise would have remained a footnote in the history of the American Revolution, Nelson (Benedict Arnold's Navy) brings to light an intriguing part of this country's fight for independence. Told in readable narrative style, this is the story of the confusing period following the Battle of Bunker Hill, when the question of independence was as yet undecided by the Continental Congress even as a band of over 10,000 armed but untrained men besieged the British in Boston. Congress had an army but would not agree to create a navy-a fact George Washington knew and took great pains to circumvent. He kept secret his having sent out armed merchant vessels with orders to prevent the British from being reprovisioned in Boston and the surrounding areas. Nelson recounts the struggle over Noodle Island and the valiant patriots at Machias, ME, both places blockaded to prevent the British from accessing timber there. His authorial voice puts the reader on the scene and offers a worthy addition to our understanding of the early phases of the Revolution, when Britain ruled the seas and George Washington sought to challenge its dominance. Recommended.
—David Lee Poremba

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780071493895
Publisher:
McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date:
04/21/2008
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,150,964
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

James L. Nelson is the author of Benedict Arnold’s Navy, as well as several novels that take place during the age of the sailing navies. His first book of nonfiction was Reign of Iron: The Story of the First Battling Ironclads.

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