JONATHAN EAGLE by Alexander Laing
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JONATHAN EAGLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This -- after ten and more years' gap- brings us back to the Laing of Clipper Ship Men and The Sea Witch (1933). And again he is at his best in writing of the sea, and the men that mastered it. He has taken an earlier period here, with an infant merchant shipping in the building, while the new nation battled to sustain- or destroy- the rights for which the American Revolution had been fought. Adams was in the Presidency; the Federalists, by the Alien and Sedition laws, sought to stem attack, to silence free speech and press. And the new Republicans braved spiteful and sometimes violent opprobrium to hold fast their ideals. Against this conflict of opinion social and political, the foundling Jonathan- self-named Eagle- grew to manhood. And escaping the seaport town of Stonington, Connecticut, he sailed seas that suffered other kinds of maraders:-the Barbary pirates (and there he was prisoner and slave- and learned first what love meant); the untrammeled excesses of the French Revolution and later the autocracy of Buonaparte; revolution- black slaves against white masters, and maroons against both-when St. Domingo burst into revolution; and savage piracy that threatened the seas. Jonathan was again a victim- and again escaped, to the fiercer attacks of his own countrymen, the shaking of the foundations of the ideals he had cherished. How he became first an object of the battle for justice, in a trial for piracy -- and then a force in the cause of securing freedom, as Jefferson and Burr tied an election -- this dual role was played out in his subsequent endeavor to prove for once and all what constituted an American. His own idealism almost defeated his own ends, but he won through to victory- and to a heart at ease. Adventure- history- romance, all here, in a mammoth yarn that might readily have been three separate tales.

Publisher: Little, Brown- Duell, Sloan & Pearce