SEA DANGERS: The Affair of the Somers by Philip McFarland

SEA DANGERS: The Affair of the Somers

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A young officer, Philip Spencer, the son of the Secretary of War, was hung. As were two other young seamen aboard a brig called The Somers. It was America in the 1840s, a country at peace. The three were charged with planning a mutiny and with conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. To some, the actions taken seemed justified; to others, a bit premature; to still others, criminal and requiring harsh retribution. Sea Dangers is a frightening, fast-moving, thoroughly-enthralling tale of men at sea, their quest for power and the maddening urges that that quest is forced to nurture and feed. Tightly-written and well paced, Sea Dangers moves like a ship at sea--from the deaths at the end of a hard rope to the follow-up naval inquiry--and the court martial of the Somers commanding officer, Alexander Slidell MacKenzie. While weaving the intricate fabric of trials and accusations, it paints an all-too-colorful picture of the era: the time of Herman Melville, Richard Henry Dana and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Each of these writers were deeply affected by what happened on that ship on that day when three young men met their fate. As disturbing as The Bounty Trilogy, as provocative as The Caine Mutiny, as telling as anything this side of Melville, it is that rare breed of sea saga--a four-sails-to-the-wind, can't-put-down piece of naval history.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Schocken