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Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842by Nathaniel Philbrick
Theodore Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize
New York Times Notable Book
Boston Globe Best Book of the Year 2003
LA Times Best Book of the Year 2003
Synopses & Reviews
In 1838, the U.S. government launched the largest discovery voyage the Western world had ever seen — 6 sailing vessels and 346 men bound for the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Four years later, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, or Ex. Ex. as it was known, returned with an astounding array of accomplishments and discoveries: 87,000 miles logged, 280 Pacific islands surveyed, 4,000 zoological specimens collected, including 2,000 new species, and the discovery of the continent of Antarctica. And yet at a human level, the project was a disaster — not only had 28 men died and 2 ships been lost, but a series of sensational courts-martial had also ensued that pitted the expedition's controversial leader, Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, against almost every officer under his command.
Though comparable in importance and breadth of success to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Ex. Ex. has been largely forgotten. Now, the celebrated Nathaniel Philbrick re-creates this chapter of American maritime history in all its triumph and scandal.
Like the award-winning In the Heart of the Sea, Sea of Glory combines meticulous history with spellbinding human drama as it circles the globe from the palm-fringed beaches of the South Pacific to the treacherous waters off Antarctica and to the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and, finally, to a court-martial aboard a ship of the line anchored off New York City.
"The story of this expedition is by definition a big one, in terms of both its objectives and accomplishments, and it is rendered here in all its largeness. Couched in the author's fluid prose style, it cannot fail to absorb readers in all of its detail." Booklist
"A breathtaking account of one of history?s greatest adventures." Entertainment Weekly
"A worthy successor to In the Heart of the Sea." The Wall Street Journal
"[A] grand saga of scientific and nautical accomplishment." Newsweek
"Fascinating and meticulous." The New York Times Book Review
Like the award-winning In the Heart of the Sea, Sea of Glory combines meticulous history with spellbinding human drama as it circles the globe from the palm-fringed beaches of the South Pacific to the treacherous waters off Antarctica and to the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and, finally, to a court-martial aboard a ship anchored off New York City.
Nathaniel Philbrick, the bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Mayflower, brings his prodigious talents to the story of the Boston battle that ignited the American Revolution.
Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residentsand#160; have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord.and#160; In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists.
Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. He finds new characters, and new facets to familiar ones. The real work of choreographing rebellion falls to a thirty-three year old physician named Joseph Warren who emerges as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and is fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others in the cast include Paul Revere, Warrenandrsquo;s fiancandeacute; the poet Mercy Scollay, a newly recruited George Washington, the reluctant British combatant General Thomas Gage and his more bellicose successor William Howe, who leads the three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a nervy game of brinkmanship for control.
With passion and insight, Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscapeandmdash;geographic and ideologicalandmdash;in a mesmerizing narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.
America?s first frontier was not the West; it was the sea?and no one writes more eloquently about that watery wilderness than Nathaniel Philbrick. In his bestselling In the Heart of the Sea Philbrick probed the nightmarish dangers of the vast Pacific. Now, in an epic sea adventure, he writes about one of the most ambitious voyages of discovery the Western world has ever seen?the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838? 1842. On a scale that dwarfed the journey of Lewis and Clark, six magnificent sailing vessels and a crew of hundreds set out to map the entire Pacific Ocean?and ended up naming the newly discovered continent of Antarctica, collecting what would become the basis of the Smithsonian Institution, and much more.
About the Author
Nathaniel Philbrick, author of the National Book Award-winning bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, is director of the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies and a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association. He is a leading authority on the history of Nantucket and a champion sailboat racer.
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Preface: Young Ambition
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