America in 1775 was on the verge of revolution—or, more likely, disastrous defeat. After the bloodshed at Lexington and Concord, England’s King George sent hundreds of ships westward to bottle up American harbors and prey on American shipping. Colonists had no force to defend their coastline and waterways until John Adams of Massachusetts proposed a bold solution: The Continental Congress should raise a navy.
The idea was mad. The Royal Navy was the mightiest floating arsenal in history, with a seemingly endless supply of vessels. More than a hundred of these were massive “ships of the line,” bristling with up to a hundred high-powered cannon that could level a city. The British were confident that His Majesty’s warships would quickly bring the rebellious colonials to their knees.
They were wrong. Beginning with five converted merchantmen, America’s sailors became formidable warriors, matching their wits, skills, and courage against the best of the British fleet. Victories off American shores gave the patriots hope—victories led by captains such as John Barry, the fiery Irish-born giant; fearless Nicholas Biddle, who stared down an armed mutineer; and James Nicholson, the underachiever who finally redeemed himself with an inspiring display of coolness and bravery. Meanwhile, along the British coastline, daring raids by handsome, cocksure John Paul Jones and the “Dunkirk Pirate,” Gustavus Conyngham—who was captured and sentenced to hang but tunneled under his cell and escaped to fight again—sent fear throughout England. The adventures of these men and others on both sides of the struggle rival anything from Horatio Hornblower or Lucky Jack Aubrey. In the end, these rebel sailors, from the quarterdeck to the forecastle, contributed greatly to American independence.
Meticulously researched and masterfully told, Give Me a Fast Ship is a rousing, epic tale of war on the high seas—and the definitive history of the American Navy during the Revolutionary War.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 "Rebellious Fanaticks" 1
Chapter 2 "If the Rebels Should Pay Us a Visit..." 30
Chapter 3 "I Fear Nothing" 61
Chapter 4 "That Rebel Is My Brother" 91
Chapter 5 "Heaven Has Succeeded Our Adventures" 119
Chapter 6 "The Gang of Pyrates" 149
Chapter 7 "Under the Vault of Heaven" 184
Chapter 8 "Her Teeth Were Too Many" 217
Chapter 9 "In Harm's Way" 251
Chapter 10 "Diamond Cut Diamond" 283
Chapter 11 "Fresh Gales and Dirty Weather" 315
Chapter 12 "Send That Ship to Sea" 347
Chapter 13 Shubael Gardner 380
What People are Saying About This
“An exhaustively researched and fluently rendered account of the first incarnation of the American navy...A thoroughly readable history of an integral aspect of the campaign for American independence.”—Ian W. Toll, author of Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy
“I’ve seldom enjoyed a work of historical nonfiction as much as Give Me a Fast Ship...After you read it, McGrath will be one of your favorite historians, as he now is of mine.”—Jeff Guinn, New York Times bestselling author of Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson
“[McGrath’s] gripping descriptions of pursuit and combat at sea are the equal of any fiction, with the added virtue of being entirely true…solidly researched and presented with verve and gusto.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“McGrath enhances his position among American Revolution naval war historians with this comprehensive, fast-paced account of the collection of armed merchantmen (non naval vessel) manned by amateurs that took on the world’s greatest naval power.”—Publishers Weekly