CAPTAIN PAUL by  Edward Ellsberg
Kirkus Star


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John Paul Jones is a glamorous and dramatic figure in America's history, and this is the best novel built around his story that I have happened to read. Wisely enough, Commander Elisberg has resisted the temptation to make him the central figure, but has need him as fell for his story teller, a Nantucket lad, whose fates cast him for a role aboard a ship, while his inclinations turn towards a career as a printer such as his cousin Benjamin Franklin. A good third of the story tells of his mis-adventures aboard a whaler; then -- in the barber at Tobago, be meets the man who is to be his hero through life. John Paul, part owner of a vessel, and in dire straits. From that time on, their paths cross and recross, while John Paul, under an assumed name, Paul Jones, lives a checkered and brilliantly erratic career, -- as privateer, as beach comber, as junior officer in the infant country's hardly won navy, as petitioner in foreign courts for a ship of the line, as victorious advocate of a cause again and again emperilled. And always, the Nantucket youth, Tom Folger, is his staunch adherent, and chronicler. Through the pattern of adventure and victory and defeat and misunderstandings, runs a slender thread of romance, but this is secondary to the story of a strange bit of naval history in the making. Elisberg has made the most of a story full of conflict and contradiction; more important still, he has brought Captain Paul alive. He has a keen nose for history; and an adroit skill as tale spinner. As selection for June Literary Guide, this title has once more been pushed forward. Sorry we are so late in reporting it. But don't miss it. Good man's tale, particularly.

Pub Date: May 20th, 1941
Publisher: Dodd, Mead