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Give Me a Fast Ship: The Continental Navy and America's Revolution at Sea Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 1, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: NAL (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451416104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451416100
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Give Me a Fast Ship is an exhaustively researched and fluently rendered account of the first incarnation of the American navy.  In telling this fascinating and sprawling tale, Tim McGrath never loses sight of the human dimension of his subject...McGrath has mined archival sources that have been largely neglected in previous histories. The result is a thoroughly readable history of an integral aspect of the campaign for American independence."
--Ian W. Toll, author of Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy
 

McGrath has a seafarer's grasp of tactics and is a good storyteller, particularly as he weaves together the character of ships and the personalities of their captains. But it is in descriptions of the running battles at sea that he really shines, something he proves beyond doubt when recounting the well-known story of John Paul Jones. We all know the outcome, yet McGrath keeps us transfixed on the action even as we await the fiery words we know by heart: "I have not yet begun to fight."
-- Washington Post

Give Me a Fast Ship goes beyond a "spotlight" treatment of major events, offering instead a series of mini-stories that illuminate the nitty-gritty of colonial America's desperate struggle at sea.
-- Modern History Quarterly


"Important themes are woven through the scores of separate stories related by McGrath. One of the most important has to do with the often troublesome working relationships between the Continental Navy captains and their civilian leaders."
--Rear Admiral Joseph F. Callo (Ret.), author of John Paul Jones: America's First Sea Warrior.

"In Tim McGrath's Give Me a Fast Ship, early American naval literature has found a proud new flagship… It is rare for a one-volume work to fill the sails of personalities and battles separated from the modern reader by nearly two centuries, but Give Me a Fast Ship pulls it off beautifully. His descriptions are vivid, his commanders three-dimensional, and he evinces a genuine love of the world of white sails and black powder."  —The Wall Street Journal

"Tim McGrath is a storyteller writ large... This is a delight to read." —The Kansas City Star

"In Give Me a Fast Ship, naval historian Tim McGrath has given us a meticulous, adrenalin-filled account of the earliest days of the Continental Navy, and a John Paul Jones for our times and for the ages." —Laurence Bergreen, New York Times bestselling author of Over the Edge of the World

"[McGrath's] gripping descriptions of pursuit and combat at sea are equal of any fiction, with the added virtue of being entirely true... Solidly researched history presented with verve and gusto." —Kirkus, starred review


 

About the Author

Tim McGrath is the author of the critically acclaimed biography John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail. An avid sailor, McGrath has published articles in Naval History magazine.

Customer Reviews

Very well written.
Bibliophile333
Battle action is fascinating and after all is said and done, you are impressed with the very brave men to sailed into harm's way.
Alan Weiss
This book is a must read for readers of American Revolution and naval history.
Jim Harris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Weitz VINE VOICE on July 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent, well documented, nicely illustrated in color, and superbly written history of the American Navy in the Revolution. There are extensive footnotes, an index, and a useful bibliography for further reading. To do this work justice, and to read the maps, this is best read on a device such as an IPAD where you can expand the maps as you see fit and see the beauty of the illustrations.

One of the more interesting topics covered in this work is the ill-fated Penobscot expedition novelized by Bernard Cornwell in "The Fort" The Fort: A Novel of the Revolutionary WarThis is an excellent replacement for the century-old work by Allen "A NAVAL HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION"A NAVAL HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By F. McCarthy on July 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very informative and entertaining book. Few authors of history books combine these two attributes as well as Tim McGrath has. It is a remarkable story about a handful of dedicated heroes who risked their lives to overcame the obstacles posed by both the imposing and ruthlessly efficient British navy and the embarrassingly inept and corrupt American politicians. I was delighted to learn of the extraordinary exploits of Gustavus Conyngham, a relative unknown who deserves a better publicist and recognition as one of the greatest heroes of the Revolution.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By William Garrison Jr. VINE VOICE on July 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
“Give Me A Fast Ship” by Tim McGrath (July 2014).

[Partial comments from a review by Jonathan Jordan in the July 5-6 “Wall Street J.”): This book “sails smoothly in 13 roughly chronological chapters over the turbulent waters of 1775 to 1783” …. Mr. McGrath’s prose betrays him as an avid fan of sailing adventure novels. Readers will find his dry wit and eye for maritime life reminiscent of the late Patrick O’Brian’s .… In the crew’s living quarters below decks, we learn, “bilge water, livestock, unwashed bodies, smoke and tar created an odor that defied description.” … It is rare for a one-volume work to fill the sails of personalities and battles separated from the modern reader by nearly two centuries, but “Give Me A Fast Ship” pulls it off beautifully.”

[The author details the naval exploits of American ship commanders: John Paul Jones, John Barry, Nicholas Biddle, Richard Dale, Alexander Murray & Edward Preble, amongst lesser-known buccaneers. The author discusses the British attacks upon the colonial Atlantic seaports, reviews American vs. British naval engagements on the high seas, and notes how the naval war was finally taken to the British shore itself.]
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jim Harris on August 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of naval warfare nonfiction and fiction. I have a special affinity for the American Revolution war against England and with France. I have just finished GIVE ME A FAST SHIP by TIM McGRATH (ISBN 978-0451416100, $26.95, hardcover). It was published the summer of 2014. This is non-fiction.

The author gives a blow by blow description of most of the major engagements between American and British warships. He describes the politics and economics of what was going on in England, France, Spain and America regarding America's fledgling Navy. The lives of the major players on both sides of the Atlantic and the Conflict are examined. There are numerous maps of important engagements and paintings showing the men and ships involved. Some heroes such as John Paul Jones the reader will recognize. Others lesser personalities will become more familiar. At the end of the book, McGrath gives additional information about the men and ships into the early 19th Century. The author also provides an extensive bibliography if you desire to read more.

This book is a must read for readers of American Revolution and naval history. There are references to "original sources".

GO! BUY! READ!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul on October 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed McGrath's book very much. It is full of details of ships, their captains, engagements and many details about the Continental navy. I will say that there are a lot of naval terms in the book, some of which I was familiar with from other readings, but several that required the help of Google to determine exactly what was being written, so if you have a limited background in this segment of history, the book will not be an easy venture. but I gave it five stars for the thoroughness of the history, and the vast amount of information.
A few major points from the book: I am introduced to Gustavus Conyngham, the "Dunkirk Pirate" who caused such consternation among the British when he sailed around Ireland, causing a paralysis in shipping and explosion of rates on maritime insurance, and the personage of John Barry. The author has written a great biography of Barry and I fully intend to buy it. Also, while the British had the greatest fleet on the seas, and the Howe brothers had 260 plus ships that came to take Philadelphia, we sometimes think too much that our cause was the great underdog against such might, and to some degree it was, but as you read the book and discover the frigates that were built, you become impressed with our early navy, but more impressed in the numbers of merchant ships that were converted to privateers in order to capture enemy cargoes and take their reward in the spoils of these captures. In a great sense, it was the greed of the Americans to make money that helped facilitate an American presence on the high seas, that was often very successful and profitable. You could even come to the conclusion that the revolution was about not only freedom, but money as well. This is a good work of naval history of the time of wooden ships and the birth of America.
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