In the Wake of Madness: The Murderous Voyage of the Whaleship Sharon

Algonquin Books
2
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The true story of one of history’s most notorious mutinies is revealed in this riveting “nautical murder mystery” (USA Today).
 
In May 1841, the Massachusetts whaleship Sharon set out for the whaling ground of the northwestern Pacific. A year later, while most of the crew was out hunting, Capt. Howes Norris was brutally murdered. When the men in the whaleboats returned to the ship, they found four crew members on board, three of whom were covered in blood, the other screaming from atop the mast.
 
Single-handedly, the third officer launched a surprise attack to recapture the Sharon, killing two of the attackers and subduing the other. An American investigation into the murder was never conducted—even when the Sharon returned home three years later, with only four of the original twenty-nine-man crew on board.
 
Now, an award-winning maritime historian dramatically re-creates the mystery of the ill-fated whaleship—and reveals a voyage filled with savagery under the command of one of the most ruthless captains to sail the high seas.
 
“When the American whaleship Sharon arrived at Sydney in December 1842, the world first heard of the shocking murder of the captain by several Pacific island natives serving on the crew. Chalking it up to the savage nature of the islanders, no one bothered to investigate. Druett, a widely published maritime historian, retells the familiar story of how the mutineers were overcome but delves deeper into the details of the infamous expedition . . . Druett’s account of the incident will appeal to those looking for a good drama, but also to those analytically minded skeptics inclined to ask questions and dig below the surface.” —Booklist
 
“Shocking and very satisfying.” —Richard Zack, author of The Pirate Hunter
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About the author

Native New Zealander Joan Druett is the author of eleven books on maritime history and historical fiction. She has been the recipient of a PEN/Hubert Church Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, and the John Lyman Award for Best Book of American Maritime History. She was a consultant for the award-winning "Seafaring Women" exhibition and has appeared as a guest speaker at maritime museums across the country. While much of her research is carried out in the United States, she lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with her husband, Ron.
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3.5
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Additional Information

Publisher
Algonquin Books
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Published on
Jan 4, 2004
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9781565127562
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Language
English
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Genres
Transportation / Ships & Shipbuilding / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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With her pistols loaded she went aboard
And by her side hung a glittering sword
In her belt two daggers, well armed for war
Was this female smuggler
Was this female smuggler who never feared a scar.
If a "hen frigate" was any ship carrying a captain's wife, then a "she captain" is a bold woman distinguished for courageous enterprise in the history of the sea. "She captains," who infamously possessed the "bodies of women and the souls of men," thrilled and terrorized their shipmates, doing "deeds beyond the valor of women." Some were "bold and crafty pirates with broadsword in hand." Others were sirens, too, like the Valkyria Princess Alfhild, whom the mariners made rover-captain for her beauty. Like their male counterparts, these astonishing women were drawn to the ocean's beauty -- and its danger.
In her inimitable, yarn-spinning style, award-winning historian Joan Druett tells us what life was like for the women who dared to captain ships of their own, don pirates' garb, and perform heroic and hellacious deeds on the high seas. We meet Irish raider Grace "Grania" O'Malley -- sometimes called "the bald Grania" because she cut her hair short like a boy's -- who commanded three galleys and two hundred fighting men. Female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read were wanted by the law. Armed to the teeth with cutlasses and pistols, they inspired awe and admiration as they swaggered about in fancy hats and expensive finery, killing many a man who cowered cravenly before them.
Lovelorn Susan "Put on a jolly sailor's dress/And daubed her hands with tar/To cross the raging sea/On board a man of war" to be near her William. Others disguised themselves for economic reasons. In 1835, Ann Jane Thornton signed on as a ship's steward to earn the fair wage of nine dollars per month. When it was discovered that she was a woman, the captain testified that Jane was a capital sailor, but the crew had been suspicious of her from the start, "because she would not drink her grog like a regular seaman."
In 1838, twenty-two-year-old Grace Darling led the charge to rescue nine castaways from the wreck of the Forfarshire (the Titanic of its day). "I'll save the crew!" she cried, her courageous pledge immortalized in a torrent of books, songs, and poems. Though "she captains" had been sailing for hundreds of years by the turn of the twentieth century, Scotswoman Betsey Miller made headlines by weathering "storms of the deep when many commanders of the other sex have been driven to pieces on the rocks."
From the warrior queens of the sixth century B.C. to the women shipowners influential in opening the Northwest Passage, Druett has assembled a real-life cast of characters whose boldness and bravado will capture popular imagination. Following the arc of maritime history from the female perspective, She Captains' intrepid crew sails forth into a sea of adventure.
“Titanic meets Tom Clancy technology” in this national-bestselling account of the SS Central America’s wreckage and discovery (People).
 
September 1875. With nearly six hundred passengers returning from the California Gold Rush, the side-wheel steamer SS Central America encountered a violent storm and sank two hundred miles off the Carolina coast. More than four hundred lives and twenty-one tons of gold were lost. It was a tragedy lost in legend for more than a century—until a brilliant young engineer named Tommy Thompson set out to find the wreck.
 
Driven by scientific curiosity and resentful of the term “treasure hunt,” Thompson searched the deep-ocean floor using historical accounts, cutting-edge sonar technology, and an underwater robot of his own design. Navigating greedy investors, impatient crewmembers, and a competing salvage team, Thompson finally located the wreck in 1989 and sailed into Norfolk with her recovered treasure: gold coins, bars, nuggets, and dust, plus steamer trunks filled with period clothes, newspapers, books, and journals.
 
A great American adventure story, Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea is also a fascinating account of the science, technology, and engineering that opened Earth’s final frontier, providing “white-knuckle reading, as exciting as anything . . . in The Perfect Storm” (Los Angeles Times Book Review).
 
“A complex, bittersweet history of two centuries of American entrepreneurship, linked by the mad quest for gold.” —Entertainment Weekly
 
“A ripping true tale of danger and discovery at sea.” —The Washington Post
 
“What a yarn! . . . If you sign on for the cruise, go in knowing that you’re going to miss meals and a lot of sleep.” —Newsweek
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