Off Soundings: Aspects of the Maritime History of Rhode Island, a work of substantial scholarship, is a fascinating narrative by the late Alexander Boyd Hawes, an adoptive Rhode Islander. A richly illustrated historical survey of the colony and state throughout the age of sail, it is "a very useful and important contribution to the field of maritime history, and to Rhode Island history in particular," writes Naval War College Professor John M. Hattendorf in his introduction. The book will be read and used to great advantage in Rhode Island."
Other plaudits came from Senator Claiborne Pell and Senator John Chafee, a former Secretary of the Navy. The historical novelist James L. Nelson, author of the Revolution at Sea novels, calls it "a must-have addition to anyone's library of historical writing." A Providence Journal critic wrote "Do not look for this book on the coffee tables of many of Rhode Island's first families. . . [because] to read it is to gain a new appreciation of why the colony was known as 'Rogue's Island'. . . . Still, this is a hard book to put down, the subject matter is so gripping." The Yale Alumni Magazine called it "absolutely fascinating."
It won two first prizes, for cover and interior design, from Washington Book Publishers, and a John Lyman Award from the North American Society for Oceanic History. The Providence Journal called it a "best read" of the year, and it was recommended by the Massachusetts Historical Society's New England Quarterly.
Designed by Robert Wiser and Kathleen Sims, this is a particularly handsome book as well. The Rhode Island Historical Society exclaimed to its members "Anyone who loves history, who loves the sea, and who loves Rhode Island (or New England) will love Off Soundings…. Buy it, borrow it, read it. You'll not regret it."
Author: Alexander Boyd Hawes
Title: Off Soundings: Aspects of the Maritime History of Rhode Island
First Posterity Press
Date: August 1999