A Rage for Glory: The Life of Commodore Stephen Decatur, USN

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Overview

Stephen Decatur was one of the most awe-inspiring officers of the entire Age of Fighting Sail. A real-life American naval hero in the early nineteenth century, he led an astonishing life, and his remarkable acts of courage in combat made him one of the most celebrated figures of his era.

Decatur's dazzling exploits in the Barbary Wars propelled him to national prominence at the age of twenty-five. His dramatic capture of HMS Macedonian in the War of 1812, and his subsequent ...

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A Rage for Glory: The Life of Commodore Stephen Decatur, USN

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Overview

Stephen Decatur was one of the most awe-inspiring officers of the entire Age of Fighting Sail. A real-life American naval hero in the early nineteenth century, he led an astonishing life, and his remarkable acts of courage in combat made him one of the most celebrated figures of his era.

Decatur's dazzling exploits in the Barbary Wars propelled him to national prominence at the age of twenty-five. His dramatic capture of HMS Macedonian in the War of 1812, and his subsequent naval and diplomatic triumphs in the Mediterranean, secured his permanent place in the hearts of his countrymen. Handsome, dashing, and fearless, his crews worshipped him, presidents lionized him, and an adoring public heaped fresh honors on him with each new achievement.

James Tertius de Kay is one of our foremost naval historians. In A Rage for Glory, the first new biography of Decatur in almost seventy years, he recounts Decatur's life in vivid colors. Drawing on material unavailable to previous biographers, he traces the origins of Decatur's fierce patriotism ("My country...right or wrong!"), chronicles Decatur's passionate love affair with Susan Wheeler, and provides new details of Decatur's tragic death in a senseless duel of honor, secretly instigated by the backroom machinations of jealous fellow officers determined to ruin him. His death left official Washington in such shock that his funeral became a state occasion, attended by friends who included former President James Madison, current President James Monroe, Chief Justice John Marshall, and ten thousand more.

Decatur's short but crowded life was an astonishing epic of hubris, romance, and high achievement. Only a handful of Americans since his time have ever come close to matching his extraordinary glamour and brilliance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
John E. Ferling author of A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic James de Kay, an acclaimed naval historian, has written a wonderful life history of Stephen Decatur, America's first great naval hero after John Paul Jones. Readers will find plenty of action, as Decatur and the Navy waged hot and cold wars against France, Great Britain, and the Barbary pirates between 1798 and 1815. Readers will discover how naval battles were fought and the seemingly never-ending hazards faced by those who manned the ships. Clearly and concisely, de Kay chronicles life in the nation's early navy, with its special rules, varied duties, and strange language. He provides an especially fascinating look at the Navy's swaggering officers and their combustible sense of honor. This is good history that will be enjoyed by all who are interested in the early United States and its struggle to survive and be truly independent.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416568315
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 6/27/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

James Tertius de Kay is the author of numerous naval histories, including The Rebel Raiders, Monitor, and Chronicles of the Frigate Macedonian. He lives in Pawcatuck, Connecticut.

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Table of Contents

Contents

One

Washington City

Two

Philadelphia

Three

Mr. Midshipman Decatur

Four

Honor

Five

Glory

Six

Legend

Seven

Susan

Eight

The Leopard-Chesapeake Affair

Nine

Court-Martial

Ten

Atlantic Tensions

Eleven

29° N x 29° 30' W 113

Twelve

"Of Equal Force"

Thirteen

Gales Ferry

Fourteen

USS President and HMS Endymion

Fifteen

"Dove Mi Piace!"

Sixteen

The Navy Board

Seventeen

Barron Returns

Eighteen

The Challenge

Nineteen

Bladensburg

Twenty

Afterwards

Acknowledgments

Bibliography

Notes and Comments

Index

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