At nine Farragut went to sea, the youngest midshipman in the Navy, and his three pounds of uniform and seventy pounds of fight soon (after three days of seasickness) met the challenge. In the course of his career he conquered pirates and the Confederacy (although born a Southerner), yellow fever and malaria, and gained the nickname ""The Old Salamander"" because he could go through fire and live. This highly fictionalized biography gives him credit for professional enthusiasm, facility with languages after a slow start as a scholar, competence as a military strategist. The friend- and guardianship of David Porter, his marriage first to Susan, then to Virginia, the period in Tunis as consul, the bouts in the Caribbean--all are presented in chronic dialogue. Documentation went that aweigh.