Hero of the High Seas: John Paul Jones and the American Revolution


In a marble crypt in Annapolis, Maryland, at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel, lies an American hero. In death, as in life, John Paul Jones commands the deepest affection of his fellow countrymen.

Veteran children's writer Michael Cooper takes a fresh look at one of the most colorful characters of the Revolutionary War period. The war is viewed from Jones's perspective and the reader lives out all the uncertainties, the risks, and the dangers ...

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In a marble crypt in Annapolis, Maryland, at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel, lies an American hero. In death, as in life, John Paul Jones commands the deepest affection of his fellow countrymen.

Veteran children's writer Michael Cooper takes a fresh look at one of the most colorful characters of the Revolutionary War period. The war is viewed from Jones's perspective and the reader lives out all the uncertainties, the risks, and the dangers faced by Jones with each dramatic battle at sea.

A Scots immigrant, John Paul Jones arrived in America on the eve of the War for Independence, and went on to serve in the Continental Navy. The arc of his exciting life's narrative would lead him to deliver the sting of war to the British people.

We follow Jones's seaborne odyssey until his fate is forged in the biggest naval battle of the American Revolution. Jones and his crew aboard the Bonhomme Richard engage the Royal Navy's Serapis and vanquish the world's greatest sea power. The name of John Paul Jones is thereafter etched into the imagination of generations of American schoolboys. Now, Hero of the High Seas gives our generation an original, accurate, and objective historical reference point for one of our country's earliest naval heroes.

In Jones we meet a determined, commanding man who demanded perfection and constantly strove for improvement. Although he remained a well-respected inspirational figure to his men, Jones's fiery temper also led him into several clashes with authority.

Michael Cooper tells the story of this hero of the high seas with an invigorating realism and eye for detail.

This historical biography is generously illustrated with period artwork, and photographs of historical artifacts. Fine National Geographic cartography traces the voyages and ports of call of this American hero.

National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources.
Visit www.natgeoed.org/commoncore for more information. 

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kristy Lyn Sutorius
This long forgotten hero of the American Revolution is finally getting the credit due him. John Paul Jones, originally born John Paul and a native of Scotland, is now considered the father of the United States Marines. Jones's loyalty to his adoptive homeland and a desire to propel himself above his position in society drew him to a career in the military. His success on the seas gained him a reputation as a pirate abroad, despite his efforts to conduct himself in a gentlemanly manner. In beginning Jones's biography with major life events rather than his birth, Cooper creates a few chronological hiccups. It does not, however, detract from this otherwise riveting historical tribute to a very complex individual. The illustrations and maps help ground the story in the reader's imagination, and Senator McCain's foreword properly introduces Jones as a hero who achieved "great things in spite of [his] weaknesses." This stimulating biography is a smart addition to any school or public library.
VOYA - Beth Karpas
Of the two books on John Paul Jones evaluated by this reviewer in the past year, Cooper's work is the better choice. Although a small book, its cover made from maps of the Revolutionary War era quickly catches the eye. Many black-and-white art prints, photos, and maps within, including several two-page spreads, enhance but do not break up the text, as with books for younger readers. Even the text layout is attractive, with plenty of white space that will not scare away reluctant readers, but using normal type size and spacing so as not to offend older students. The text is more detailed than Bruce L. Brager's John Paul Jones: America's Sailor (Morgan Reynolds, 2006/VOYA October 2006) as well. Plentiful quotes from original sources include the resolution creating the U.S. flag, correspondence with Benjamin Franklin, and innumerable quotes from Jones himself. Although Jones might not actually have said "I have not yet begun to fight," he was a prolific letter writer with the ability for a clever turn of phrase. Upon hearing one of his foes had been knighted, Jones wrote, "Let me fight him again and I'll make him a lord." Such quotes, seamlessly woven into Cooper's biography, make it an intriguing and highly educational read accessible to a wide range of abilities. There is only one small quibble in that the font, although elegant, makes the numeral one look like seven, a poor choice given the frequency of numbers and dates in the text.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Cooper charts his subject's life from a scandal-ridden Scottish captain on a trading ship to a man of self-invention who came to the American colonies to start a new life and became a naval hero. Jones is presented as a loyal captain, an arrogant leader, a determined sailor, and a flagrant social climber. The narrative style will appeal to reluctant readers, for it reads like a chronicle of thrilling naval adventures; facts about military strategy, weaponry, and sailing are cleverly interwoven into detailed descriptions of battles with enemy ships and incidents of mutiny. The text is clear and understandable, even in view of the possibly unfamiliar nautical terminology. No mention is made of Jones's original livelihood as a third mate on a slave ship and his initial indifference toward the cruelties of chattel slavery. Archival reproductions, maps, naval antiques, and battle-plan diagrams appear throughout. Additionally, there is a foreword by Senator John McCain, a time line of Jones's life and Colonial American history, a sailing glossary, and suggestions for further reading and places to visit. This is a solid purchase for libraries in need of exciting nonfiction titles as opposed to routine biographies for assignments.-Michael Santangelo, Brooklyn Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After killing a sailor in Tobago, Captain John Paul took the name John Jones (and later John Paul Jones) and fled to Virginia, where he planned on becoming an aristocrat like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Tracing the parallel stories of the colonies' road to independence and Jones's road to heroism, Cooper writes with clear and lively prose, effectively incorporating quotations for dramatic effect. Maps and photographs of period artwork and historical artifacts enliven the text. Source notes are solid, a suggestion for further reading includes a small but excellent set of works for young readers and a list of places to visit will support those who wish to learn more. Though the final pages compress many years and much history, this is an excellent portrait of a character with many flaws, demonstrating, as Senator John McCain says in the foreword, "the ability to achieve great things in spite of our weaknesses." (timeline, words and expressions from the historical era, index) (Nonfiction. 10+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792255482
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 9/12/2006
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Cooper is the award-winning author of numerous nonfiction titles for young readers. Cooper's book Dust to Eat: Drought and Depression in the 1930s, won the 2004 Golden Kite Award. He lives in Washington, D.C., and regularly speaks to schoolchildren about American history.

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