An absorbing and comprehensive study of a sea captain and place largely forgotten by history.


The Lost Hero of Cape Cod


An old seafaring world comes to life in this examination of the coastal trade of the mid-1800s.

Capt. Asa Eldridge gazes phlegmatically from the frontispiece of this debut biography by Miles (Boys of the Cloth, 2012). Before the author began researching Eldridge’s career, the old seafarer’s name existed only as a morsel of trivia. In 1854, Eldridge crossed the Atlantic by sail, leaving from New York and arriving in Liverpool 13 days later, establishing a speed record that’s yet to be broken. It would be sufficient if Miles contented himself with telling the story of that single feat, but he’s done far more than that in this thorough yarn. Eldridge was born at the dawn of the 19th century in the town of Yarmouth, Massachusetts, to a family that had been on Cape Cod for 200 years, quite a few of them spent seafaring. Coastal trade among Colonies (and, later, states) proved to be an occupation both profitable and adventuresome. It also taught seamen how to sail very fast: “Customers may not have cared too much about an hour either way on the voyage time, but rival captains most certainly did—especially on those frequent occasions when they decided to turn the coastal run into a race.” Eldridge learned to rig a sail and make seconds count under the tutelage of his uncle and, later, as a captain in his own right, helming ships all the way to India, Russia, and, in pre–Panama Canal days, San Francisco. Miles expertly describes the life of a sea captain in Eldridge’s day, calling his subject a thoughtful and spirited leader “capable of cajoling the thuggish deckhands into giving of their best.” Later, Eldridge became a steamship entrepreneur, redesigning the provisions on his vessels out of “humanitarian interest in improving the lot of those emigrants who could only afford passage in the steerage” and at one point helming a ship for Cornelius Vanderbilt. Readers already curious about the trans-Atlantic trade, the early days of steam shipping, and all that rigging and hauling should learn a lot from this deeply researched book.

An absorbing and comprehensive study of a sea captain and place largely forgotten by history. 

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9625068-8-8

Page Count: 198

Publisher: Historical Society of Old Yarmouth

Review Posted Online: June 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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