Mr. Heatter launches this informal distillation with the dramatic convergence of four complementary talents and their creation, the Sea Witch--but Edward Collins was not its sponsor. Donald McKay was not its builder, and the Sea Witch, in the view of specialists, was not the first clipper. Nat Plamer, credited with the idea of combining the long narrow New England hull with the Southern flat bottom, had successfully promoted it earlier (though not quite as it appears here). All of which capsizes Mr. Heatter's chronicle, which is unfortunate to the extent that much of it is vividly informative. But there are many, many others, especially the full and fully illustrated American Heritage Clipper Ships and Captains and the biographies of McKay (who loses no luster by being divested of the Sea Witch).