Popular history frequently makes up for its superficiality with facile prose. Unfortunately this collective account of some eleven American ports--Portsmouth, Salem, Baltimore, Charleston, New York, etc.--possesses not even a modicum of style and barely rises above superficiality of content. The narration begins with the establishment of these ports, usually in the 17th or 18th centuries, and ends with the beginning of the 19th century. A colorful period, filled with discoveries and high adventure, pirates and traders and the ubiquitous seamen, the author has failed to convey either the history or the atmosphere of the age. In large part this may be attributed to his limiting each port to some twenty pages even though he may be dealing with several hundred years.