Admiral Morison has both sailed the seas and written extensively on naval warfare and famous mariners. Here he has taken on a major figure during the period when America was coming of age, and again has produced a definitive biography--exhaustively researched and even somewhat readable. If the Admiral isn't a superb stylist, he at least controls a salty pen that will lure students of 19th century American history, if not the general reader. Perry, of a famous nautical family (and later, through the marriage of his daughter, a progenitor of the August Belmont clan), was an immensely important instrument in the professionalization of the U.S. Navy and played a key role in bringing steam power to it while posted at the Brooklyn navy yard. He later was to make his mark during naval operations in the war with Mexico. Perry's most notable achievement was, of course, in his inducing the Japanese shogunate to open up the nation to trade with the West. As commander of the fleet of black ships, he displayed enormous skill and enterprise in successfully discharging his mission. Morison elaborately tells his story and more firmly secures Perry's stature in his time.