AOS Other Non-Fiction

cuttysarkThere are many books written about Merchant Ships, Clippers, Whalers etc. from the Age of Sail. This section lists some of them.

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Bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick's new book tells the story of the Pilgrim fathers who set sail on the Mayflower and the bloody battle they ultimately waged against the Native Americans.Behind the quaint and pious version of the Mayflower story usually taught in American primary schools is a tumultuous and largely untold tale of violence, subterfuge and epic drama.Following the Pilgrims from their perilous journey from England on a battered, leaky ship, through their first bitter North American winter (during which half of them died), to their equally bitter battle against the native Wampanoag tribe fifty years later, Philbrick paints a vivid and compelling picture of conflict, colonialism and a grim determination to survive in an unforgiving and, to the Europeans, dangerously alien environment.Among the litany of hardships, however, are stories of friendship and co-operation among the settlers and indigenous peoples, whose timely assistance on more than one occasion rescued the Pilgrims from otherwise certain death. This delicate and unstable relationship continued until King Philip's war, a terribly bloody conflict which decimated the English population and all but obliterated the Wampanoag. Central to the story of this decisive American battle are a host of marvellous characters, including Benjamin Church, the Plymouth-born frontiersman who used his knowledge of 'Indian ways' to help the British defeat Philip.In capturing the drama and uncertainty of the first fifty years of settlement at Plymouth, Philbrick's fascinating history sets the stage for the later developments that would define the American nation and its inexorable push west.

"Mayflower": A Voyage to War

18th - 19th Century Women at Sea is a lively and entertaining account of the three types of women one would normally find, legally or illegally, on board a ship during this time period—prostitutes, officer's and midshipmen's wives and other female passengers during wartime, and women masquerading as sailors or crewmen. Colorful but true and factual accounts of surprising and certainly, little-known, incidents are drawn from letters written by sailors and other men at sea, from diaries of such figures as Admiral Horatio Nelson, and from autobiographies written in the late 1700s by women, such as Mary Lacy, who took to the sea masquerading as men and lived to tell of their experiences. Noted historians who have published works on the same subject are quoted and referenced. For further study, a list of bibliographical sources is included.

18th - 19th Century Women at Sea

A Brief History of Mutiny: Furious, Savage and Bloody - 400 Years of RebellionPerhaps even more than the waves and weather, sea officers of the past feared the ever-present risk of mutiny. Functioning as a microcosm of dissent in our society at large, the steep hierarchy and deep social divisions between the crew and their commanders, the misery and monotony of very hard work and little sleep, and the constant threat of death from shipwreck, disease, or the enemy often led to an anarchic breakdown of any semblance of stability or order at sea.

The notorious mutiny on the Bounty in 1787 has been elevated to iconic status by Hollywood, yet Richard Woodman describes it here as a mere "pup" among mutinies. Despite the usual portrayal, Captain Bligh was neither tyrant nor sadist--whereas Pigot of the Hermione was both, and his crew was probably justified in throwing him overboard. Woodman brings a seaman's perspective to this compelling history, which stretches from Magellan's successful handling of an uprising that took place on his great voyage of discovery in 1519, to the "sordid crimes" that mutinies had become by the end of the Second World War.

From Stevenson's "Treasure Island" to "Pirates of the Caribbean", the romantic image of pirates in popular culture has long been with us. But pirates are not all as charming as Johnny Depp. In ancient times Thracians, Cilicians and Illyrians terrorised traders in the Mediterranean, while the Barbary pirates of North Africa instilled fear wherever they went from the Holy Lands to the coast of Ireland. It was not until the age of Discovery, when ships began to cross the Atlantic carrying unimaginable riches from the New World that the traditional image of the buccaneering pirate was created. In England, heroes such as Sir Francis Drake were feted for their exploits against the Spanish fleet in which piracy was little more than state-sponsored terrorism. Tom Bowling's lively history explores many of the myths and true stories about the notorious outlaws of the oceans: including Captain Kidd, Blackbeard as well as Mary Read and other famous female pirates.

A Brief History of Pirates and Buccaneers

Author :: Richard Woodman
Format :: Kindle
Date :: 1 August 2016

A Low Set of BlackguardsVolume 1: The Heroic Age 1600-1707

Following his ground-breaking and award-winning five-volume History of the British Merchant Navy, a revised version of which is now published both in e-book and print-on-demand editions by the Endeavour Press, Richard Woodman’s A Low Set of Blackguards tells the neglected and forgotten story of the East India Company’s shipping – its ‘Maritime Service’.

This first of two volumes covers the years during which the original East India Company struggled against the Portuguese and the Dutch to establish a trade with the spice islands of Indonesia, India and the Far East. This was met by mixed fortunes and while the book deals with the complex issues involving the wars and politics of foreign states, it focuses on the many voyages – some successful, some disastrous – made by the Company’s ships and seamen. Among these and the merchants who sailed with them as ‘factors,’ are a rich variety of characters (some blackguards among them) in whose lives originated the English novel as well as that great and contentious outcome – ‘British India’.

Woodman rescues these tremendous early mercantile voyages from obscurity and reminds us that Britain’s rise to global power emerged from mercantile, not naval, seafaring.

In October 1735, James Oglethorpe's Georgia Expedition set sail from London, bound for Georgia. Two hundred and twenty-seven passengers boarded two merchant ships accompanied by a British naval vessel and began a transformative voyage across the Atlantic that would last nearly five months. Chronicling their passage in journals, letters, and other accounts, the migrants described the challenges of physical confinement, the experiences of living closely with people from different regions, religions, and classes, and the multi-faceted character of the ocean itself.

Using their specific journey as his narrative arc, Stephen Berry's A Path in the Mighty Waters tells the broader and hereto underexplored story of how people experienced their crossings to the New World in the eighteenth-century. During this time, hundreds of thousands of Europeans - mainly Irish and German - crossed the Atlantic as part of their martial, mercantile, political, or religious calling. Histories of these migrations, however, have often erased the ocean itself, giving priority to activities performed on solid ground. Reframing these histories, Berry shows how the ocean was more than a backdrop for human events; it actively shaped historical experiences by furnishing a dissociative break from normal patterns of life and a formative stage in travelers' processes of collective identification.

Shipboard life, serving as a profound conversion experience for travelers, both spiritually and culturally, resembled the conditions of a frontier or border zone where the chaos of pure possibility encountered an inner need for stability and continuity, producing permutations on existing beliefs. Drawing on an impressive array of archival collections, Berry's vivid and rich account reveals the crucial role the Atlantic played in history and how it has lingered in American memory as a defining experience.

A Path in the Mighty Waters

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