The Admiral and the Ambassador: One Man’s Obsessive Search for the Body of John Paul Jones

Scott Martelle. Chicago Review (IPG, dist.), $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61374-730-8
Journalist Martelle (Detroit: A Biography) tells the fascinating “historical detective story” of how Gen. Horace Porter, United States ambassador to France from 1897 to 1905, directed a long, complicated effort to discover the forgotten final resting place in Paris of the legendary U.S. Navy hero John Paul Jones, who died there in 1792 during the chaos of the French Revolution. Porter saw much combat in the Civil War, receiving a Medal of Honor. He then became an aide de camp to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, following him to the White House to serve as his secretary. After directing—and paying for—the search for Jones’s body, Porter saw to it that the remains were sent back to the U.S. Martelle’s well-written and well-researched narrative focuses on Porter’s complicated five-year quest to find Jones’s burial site and the machinations required to get the body back home. He also covers aspects of Jones’s colorful life, as well as Porter’s eventful life and times, including his service in the Civil War, along with momentous events that took place while he served as U.S. ambassador to France: the Spanish-American War, the assassination of President William McKinley, and the Dreyfus affair. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/03/2014
Release date: 05/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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