Harry Hansen, who wrote the community study Scarsdale (Harper, 1954), writes a companionable colorful biography of the Constitution, the Navy frigate that was launched in Boston in 1797, and has not yet gone to the deep. One of the first Navy frigates, the Constitution was born to cover herself with glory in a succession of famous battles and with a chain of able commanders at her helm. Along with three other frigates, she was built at the threat of French hostility, but as this decreased, her tasks fell in the realm of routing Barbary pirates under Preble, Bainbridge and Decatur, and later, the British in the war of 1812, when one of her greatest victories was the complete destruction of the Guerriere all in the line of duty while patrolling the New England coast under Stewart. War tasks done, the Constitution became a training ship and then a museum piece and can be seen today in Boston. A segment of Navy history, this also outlines the course of empire.