The Voyage of the Catalpa: A Perilous Journey and Six Irish Rebels' Escape to Freedom

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9780786709748: The Voyage of the Catalpa: A Perilous Journey and Six Irish Rebels' Escape to Freedom
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The whaling ship Catalpa set out from New Bedford, Massachusetts, on the morning of April 29, 1875, to undertake a daring yearlong mission of international rescue. American captain George Anthony risked his career as a whaler—and his life—to rescue a group of British-soldiers-turned-Irish-rebels known as “The Fremantle Six” from their prison in Australia. With the help of the prison chaplain, the six men escaped to the coast where Anthony was waiting with a small whaleboat that would take them to the Catalpa. The resistance they overcame, both from armed British vessels and a furious sea storm, made their escape the stuff of legend. In what Britain considered a near act of war, the Catalpa outran the Royal Navy and deposited its politically dangerous cargo in New York Harbor in August 1876. Fast-paced, compelling, and meticulously researched, this saga of American, Irish, British, and Australian history is the first full telling of the Catalpa’s voyage. The expedition was embraced by Irish and Irish-Americans as the very symbol of defiance against Great Britain and would loom large in the revolutionary rhetoric of Michael Collins. Though Captain Anthony would never again sail into international waters for fear of arrest by the British government, his rescue voyage, made mostly without the use of a functioning chronometer, is one of the greatest feats of seamanship in nautical annals and one of the most daring deeds performed by an American in the name of Irish independence. Included are eight pages of black-and-white photographs.

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About the Author:

Peter Stevens is a correspondent for the BOSTON IRISH REPORTER. His articles appear regularly in AMERICAN HERITAGE, AMERICAN HISTORY, YANKEE, CIVIL WAR TIMES, MILITARY HISTORY, and TRUE WEST.

From Publishers Weekly:

Truth may routinely be stranger than fiction, but seldom is it as suspenseful as this story of the 1876 rescue of six Irish rebels from Britain's infamous prison colony in Fremantle, Australia, by the American whaling ship Catalpa. Despite its title, the book covers far more than just the rescue ship's voyage, bringing to life the web of political interests and conflicts among Ireland, England and the U.S. toward the end of the 19th century. In his fast-moving narrative, journalist Stevens (The Mayflower Murderer and Other Forgotten Firsts in American History) tells how the six Irish members of the British Armed Forces were recruited and then arrested for treachery because of their allegiance to the rebellious Fenian movement for Irish independence. He describes the ordeal of the Irishmen in prison, as well as the plotting of the clandestine rescue mission, which launched from New Bedford, Mass., and took a year to complete in the face of hostile British forces. The writing is solid if workmanlike. Stevens doesn't shrink from getting into the heads of his subjects, and takes some liberties in reconstructing their thoughts and actions in minute, novelistic detail. The freewheeling approach may trouble some readers, especially as Stevens doesn't cite sources (he's based much of the book on the firsthand account of Catalpa captain George Anthony). Ultimately, however, the action-packed international intrigue and Stevens's keen sense of pacing carry the book; readers who can put aside their skepticism will be riveted.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780786711307: The Voyage of the Catalpa: A Perilous Journey and Six Irish Rebels' Escape to Freedom

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ISBN 10:  0786711302 ISBN 13:  9780786711307
Publisher: Basic Books, 2003
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9781842126516: The Voyage of the Catalpa : A Perilous Journey and Six Irish Rebels' Escape to Freedom

WEIDEN..., 2003
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