THE FATE OF THE MAINE by John Edward Weems


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KIRKUS REVIEW a biography of that ill-fated ship, a disappointment from the time of its launching in 1890 to its final and fatal misfortune in Havana Harbor in January 1898. The reconstruction of events before, during and after the explosion and sinking is drawn from eyewitness reports, numerous documents and the court inquiry record. The Maine as part of the naval expansion program begun in the early 1880's, was the first U.S. warship designed by naval architects and built in a government shipyard. Less than two hours after the ship went out on her own in November 1895 she was disabled, and this was followed by a series of mishaps. But because of its prestige, the Maine was summoned to Havana supposedly to protect American citizens there. The decision of the U.S. Sampson court of inquiry, investigating the sinking, coincided with the inflamed feeling of the nation and supported the view that the explosion was caused externally. But, of course, all logic and the temperance of hindsight made this extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, the Maine incident served its purpose, became the cause of what would, subsequently, have happened anyway. The elucidation here is most able, includes a plethora of detail which even devotees would prefer to skip, such as the ship's log and a listing of all officers and crew of the Maine.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1958
ISBN: 0890965013
Publisher: Holt