The Macedonian first went to sea under British colors in 1809. Captured in the War of 1812, it became a mainstay of the U.S. Navy for another half century. It fought only one pitched battle, against the United States in 1812, but showed the flags of its countries from Tunis to Japan in an era when gunboat diplomacy was a literal concept. De Kay masterfully reconstructs the dynamics of life on board a sailing warship at a time when spending months beyond sight of land was the norm. Ship's companies became ship's communities, whose captains set the tone. During its working life, the Macedonian was commanded by embezzlers, martinets and eccentrics, by a British aristocrat and by an American Jew who earned his rank in an era when the U.S. Navy was virulently anti-Semitic. Their stories enliven a vivid, well-written volume that will be welcomed by readers interested in maritime subjects. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/03/1995 Release date: 07/01/1995 Genre: Nonfiction
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