THE COURT-MARTIAL OF COMMODORE PERRY by

THE COURT-MARTIAL OF COMMODORE PERRY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Admittedly based on ""a circumstantial framework of fact,"" and told largely by means of fictional conversations, this latest volume by the authors of The Trial of Mary Todd and Johnny tells of the little-known court-martial of an almost forgotten American hero. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry is known to American history for his victory over the British in the naval battle of Lake Eric of 1813, here described at length. According to the authors, however, even before the battle ""a foul conspiracy was at work"" against Perry. Two men hated him and meant to destroy him: Commodore Chauncey, and his benchman, one Lieutenant Elliott, who fought at Lake Erie and, so the authors say, tried to loss the battle to the British. After the battle the villains still pursued Perry, planting a blackguard of an officer, named Heath, in one of his ships, with instructions to lure the hero of Lake Eri into striking him, which would mean court-martial. Although warned of all this, Perry obligingly did what was expected of him, with the hoped-for result. Later Perry was sent by Chauncey to a fever-ridden South American port, where he contracted yellow fever and died; before that, however, with Decatur he had played a part in fighting the Barbary pirates. This book is a fine example of the dangers of fictionized history: true and false facts are so jumbled together that the reader cannot tell which is which, and Perry emerges from a maze of talk as an indecisive officer unable to believe the obvious.

Pub Date: March 6th, 1961
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill