- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Children's LiteratureIn this title of the "Leaders of the American Revolution" series, readers can ponder the naval exploits of a young Scotsman who served on several slave ships without compunction, killed one unruly crew member, and had another flogged till he died soon after. Hoping for glory and revenge on Britain for perceived slights suffered by his father, young officer Jones joined the Patriot cause. Ships were scarce in the American navy but when he finally got a command, Jones attempted several dubious raids on British coastal towns, one including the planned capture (unsuccessful) of an earl. As a captain, Jones had trouble controlling his often reluctant sailors, perhaps because under his command, crewmen suffered heavy loss of life; even in achieving his legendary victory over the Serapis, his ship, the Bonhomme Richard, went down. Jones also had a bad habit of abandoning his men in French ports and disappearing for weeks in Paris where he feasted and courted a succession of French women. Though he is revered as the "Father of the American Navy" by the U.S. Naval Academy (some historians would award that title to John Adams), recent research shows that he neither made his famous remark, "I have not yet begun to fight," nor wrote "Qualifications of a Naval Officer," long impressed as a model for American cadets. Teachers might best use Jones's history (and the unattributed illustrations) to spark discussion questions like: "What is a hero?" "Why do we need heroes?" "Is Jones an appropriate role model?" 2006, Chelsea House, Ages 12 to 16.
—Barbara L. Talcroft