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Gray Raiders of the Sea: How Eight Confederate Warships Destroyed the Union's High Seas Commerce Hardcover – October, 1991


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Intl Marine Pub Co (October 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877422796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877422792
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,361,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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50%
4 star
17%
3 star
33%
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See all 6 customer reviews
"Gray Raiders" is a great basic introduction to the privateers of the Confederacy.
Stephen Hammack
I found Gray Raiders of the Sea extremely enjoyable, reading more like a novel than a history tome, and very well organized and paced.
A. C. Lake
For anyone interested in the naval side of the Civil War, this work is both an excellent reference and a good read.
Rodney Carlisle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rodney Carlisle on December 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
Although this book has been criticized for a disorganized presentation, the nature of the subject almost demands that the story of each of the Confederate raiders be told separately. For anyone interested in the naval side of the Civil War, this work is both an excellent reference and a good read. The detailed accounts of the engagements of the eight cruisers, Sumter, Nashville, Florida, Tallahassee, Chickamauga, Alabama, and Shenandoah, are based on a good variety of sources, primarily the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, but also including a range of memoirs, journals, contemporary periodicals, and solid secondary sources. A concise summary of the Alabama claims case, settled between Britain and the United States in 1872, rounds out the story. Hearn makes a good argument that the eight raiders succeeded in driving ships from U.S. registry and U.S. ownership, and in this regard, the book makes an interesting and important contribution that goes beyond the naval side of the Civil War.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Hammack on April 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
This subject is one of the most fascinating in the history of sea power, and the general public has needed a reliable single-volume reference on it for some time. The story of the eight Confederate privateers and their attempt to bring Union trade to a halt seems to break every rule of common sense. How could so few be so successful against so many? The United States, after Great Britain, had the most valuable and extensive import/export trade in the world by the middle of the 19th century. The British themselves were worried since they were in danger of being surpassed in the same manner that their own sea traders had surpassed the Dutch early in the 18th century.

From its founding in 1861, the Confederate States of America realized it had a huge problem since it lacked a navy. It also saw that it couldn't build one, especially after the fall of its biggest port, New Orleans, in 1862. The vast majority of shipbuilders and men with maritime skills lived north of the Mason-Dixon line, in the United States, and mostly in New England. This put an incredible burden on the Confederate Secretary of the Navy, Stephen R. Mallory. When he saw that most of the enemy navy was being used to blockade the thousands of miles of Confederate coasts, however, he saw an opportunity for the use of privateers. Mallory sent Archibald Bulloch, a Georgian and the future maternal grandfather of Theodore Roosevelt, to England to purchase British-made vessels that the Confederacy could send out to prey on Union merchant ships. Bulloch's long experience with the sea enabled him to buy good ships, including the vessels that became the most feared of the Confederate privateers - the Alabama, the Florida, and the Shenandoah.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. C. Lake on July 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I found Gray Raiders of the Sea extremely enjoyable, reading more like a novel than a history tome, and very well organized and paced. Following the careers of commerce raiders like the CSS Alabama and the CSS Florida, as well as other, less famed vessels, separately makes eminent sense, since several Confederate raiders operated at the same time and to trace their depredations simultaneously would have made the book far less readable. Also, given the length of these ships' voyages and the sheer number of prizes captured, Mr. Hearn has done an outstanding job of supplying both necessary and interesting detail, without overburdening the reader with an endless account of facts. An excellent work, recommended for the ordinary reader and student of history alike.
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