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Sea of Glory

Philbrick, Nathaniel

4,979 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 067003231X / ISBN 13: 9780670032310
Published by Viking, 2003
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
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First Edition with full descending number line. Book is in gently read condition. Pages are clean and unmarked but have been creased on top edges. Bookseller Inventory # 01001

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Sea of Glory

Publisher: Viking

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Traces the 1838 discovery voyage that resulted in the western world's survey of 87,000 ocean miles, 280 Pacific islands, numerous zoological discoveries, and the finding of Antarctica; a journey that was marked by tragic deaths, the losses of two ships, and controversial court martials. 250,000 first printing.

Review:

The expeditions of Magellan, Columbus, and Lewis and Clark have been well documented and are instantly familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in world history. But the average person is likely unaware of the U.S. Exploring Expedition or its mercurial leader, Charles Wilkes. This despite the numerous accomplishments and lasting legacy of the massive four-year project that involved six ships and hundreds of men. The "Ex. Ex.," as it came to be known, is credited with the discovery of Antarctica, the first accurate charting of what is now Oregon and Washington, the retrieval of thousands of new species of life, and the foundation of the Smithsonian Institution. Yet when Wilkes returned, instead of being hailed as a great man of science or a national hero, he was shunned by the President, ignored by the press, and was the subject of so much ill will on the part of his men that he was ultimately put on trial for a variety of offenses. In the portrayal presented in Nathaniel Philbrick's Sea of Glory, Wilkes is a passionate man, brash and enthusiastic, driven by seemingly impossible goals, many of which he actually accomplished. But he's also a petty, mean-spirited loner, egotistical enough to unilaterally give himself a promotion in the middle of the expedition. Without Wilkes' singularity of purpose, it's hard to imagine the mission being as successful as it was, but it's also hard to conceive a personality more poorly suited to leadership than the near-universally-despised Wilkes. Philbrick also skillfully reveals the insecurity behind the tyranny in excerpts from letters to Wilkes' wife, Jane. The accounts of the expedition's adventures are at various times exhilarating and tragic as the crew scales the volcanoes of Hawaii, becomes involved in a bloody war with Fijian natives, and struggles merely to stay alive while at the same time not killing Wilkes. Philbrick's compelling narrative and meticulous research provide a vivid picture of the triumphs and hardships of the exploration age. --John Moe

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