If the subject, and the title, seem familiar, there's good reason: last year John Foster rescued Semmes from obscurity in Rebel Sea Raider (p. 635-J213), a well-provisioned account of the Confederate Admiral's depredations against Northern shipping. Here are the facts--the early sorties on the Sumter, the string of successes on the Alabama--with little detail to rouse interest, with little background to give understanding. The authors tell, they don't show. Semmes remains a shadowy figure, his strong personality and strange contradictions never fully developed. It's a dull hulk, manned by a skeleton crew, serviceable but showing no colors.