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From the days of pirate raids on the Chesapeake to swift-boat actions in Vietnam, the Staffords and their traditional rivals, the Parrishes, struggle with foreign enemies and each other to build a navy and a nation. They march across the deserts of Tripoli, sail into the South Seas to battle the British and dally with the native girls, fight aboard the Merrimac and the Monitor, fly into the battle of Midway, and look into the living faces of all four men on Mount Rushmore.
When Stafford descendant Susan Browne sets out to film a documentary about her famous ancestry, her work sweeps her into the past, to celebrate Stafford victories, mourn their losses, and confront their secrets. Annapolis is William Martin's most ambitious novel, a tale of romance and courage, honor and patriotism, an ode to the men and women who have made the proud traditions of the United States Navy.
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WILLIAM MARTIN, The New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, is best known for his historical fiction, which has chronicled the lives of the great and the anonymous in American history while bringing to life legendary American locations, from Cape Cod to Annapolis to The City of Dreams. His first novel, Back Bay, introduced Boston treasure hunter Peter Fallon, who is still tracking artifacts across the landscape of our national imagination. Martin's subsequent novels, including Harvard Yard, Citizen Washington, and The Lost Constitution have established him, as a "storyteller whose smoothness matches his ambition." (Publishers Weekly) He has also written an award-winning PBS documentary and one of the cheesiest horror movies ever made. Nevertheless, he was the recipient of the 2005 New England Book Award, given to "an author whose body of work stands as a significant contribution to the culture of the region." There are now over three million copies of his books in print. He has three grown children and lives near Boston with his wifeFrom Kirkus Reviews:
A big beach book is on the way with this sturdy, generation- spanning chronicle from Martin (Cape Cod, 1991, etc.), now telling the story of an archetypally American family bound to the US Navy and to its Maryland roots from colonial times to the present. From the start, the Staffords (who arrived in the New World in 1634) went down to the sea in ships and did business in great waters. Settling in both the Patuxent River Valley (to raise tobacco) and Annapolis, the tidewater family prospered. After the US gained independence, scions of the clan were blooded in the nascent Navy's campaign against Barbary Coast pirates and in action against British ships of the line during the War of 1812. Midshipman Jason Stafford survived these close encounters (as well as an idyllic stopover in the South Pacific's Marquesas Islands) to achieve high rank. During the Civil War, his sons served on Union gunboats and on Confederate raiders. Their largely male descendants went on to play supporting roles in the Spanish-American War, the founding of the Naval Academy, the Battle of Midway, and other turning-point events that marked America's emergence as a dominant naval power. Staffords also fought valiantly in the riverine jungles of Vietnam and, flying carrier-based attack planes, in the unfriendly skies over the Persian Gulf. Martin's long story is artfully kept within comprehensible limits by the latter-day activities of a maverick Stafford, liberal journalist Jack, who's writing a painfully detailed account of his family's odyssey, and by a distant cousin assigned to produce a PBS-TV special on the family. Their colloquies and inquiries provide continuity and perspective in a narrative whose serial protagonists are steeped in the tradition of doing violence with honor. A lively, engrossing saga that brings epic chapters of US history out of the archival hold into the bracing air of the quarterdeck. (Literary Guild and Doubleday alternate selection; author tour) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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