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Peter Strickland: New London Shipmaster, Boston Merchant, First Consul to Senegal Paperback – December 15, 2006

5 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Capt. Peter Strickland owes much to author Stephen H. Grant.
--Library of Congress, Center for the Book

This book offers a vivid picture of the unique career of a New Englander who was a pioneer in the diplomatic field in French West Africa.
--Carol Kimball, The Day, New London, Conn.

This is a great new historical source for Senegal, and for 19th century American shipping, trade, and foreign relations.
--L. Rebecca Johnson Melvin, University of Delaware Library

Grant's careful blending of historical hindsight with Strickland's own words brings enormous value to our understanding of U.S. diplomacy. --Aaron Chassy, Foreign Service Journal

Stephen Grant has done a masterful job of weaving the strands and evidence of a multitalented individual's life into a coherent collage with his biography. --Mary-Charlotte Shealy

From the Publisher

This is an ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy Book.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: New Academia Publishing, LLC (December 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978771338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978771331
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,598,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Roberta A. Dunbar on April 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Stephen H. Grant's Peter Strickland. New England Shipmaster, Boston Merchant, and First Consul to Senegal gives us an engaging read and a fresh historical source for the little explored relations between the United States and West Africa during the last half of the nineteenth century. Born in New London, Connecticut in 1837, Peter Strickland first went to sea in 1857,as a nineteen year old man. Later a sea captain and merchant, Strickland served as U. S. consul to Gorée-Dakar Senegal from 1883-1906. He retired to his home in Dorchester, Massachusetts where until his death in 1921, he continued an active life as head of family, concerned citizen, and staunch advocate of the welfare of seamen and of Unites States commercial relations with West Africa. His career as consul is of interest to historians of Africa in its insights into late nineteenth century commerce along the coast from Senegal to Sierra Leone and the impact upon the United States' role of the onset of French colonialism. Through his consular dispatches, correspondence and a journal spanning twenty-five years, he documents the primary imports and exports of Senegal to the U. S., but also the business and social relations among those serving European and American interests from Gorée and Dakar. His knowledgeable and literate dispatches were widely shared within the U. S. Department of State.

Grant's account is objective yet sympathetic to his subject. He reveals a hard-working man, who managed to survive as an entrepreneur despite receiving no salary as consul, despite competition from the colonial powers taking over West Africa, and despite personal tragedy in a troubled marriage and the death of his oldest son by drowning in 1888 as he served as Vice Consul to his father.
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Format: Paperback
The previous reviews and book description cover this fine book quite well. What I can add is: I was interested in this book because I lived for about three years in Dakar, facing the Island of Goree where Peter Strickland's career as first US Consul to Senegal unfolded. Not only did I find the book provided interesting insights into the life and times of the period (late 19th-early 20th century) and the talented, hard-working, somewhat strait-laced sea-captain/diplomat/merchant/writer who was Strickland. But, it was also an entertaining, lively read. I do not remember reading anything that brings to life this period and the reality of living both in West Africa and in New England so well. To think that it all came about because the author (a veteran diplomat) happened to acquire an envelope addressed to Strickland in an on-line auction (E-Bay) is quite an amazing story in itself. After acquiring the envelope addressed to Strickland, one thing led to another until his research, which is so well described as well in a lively, fascinating manner, resulted in this wonderful biography.
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Format: Paperback
Stephen Grant has written a wonderfully readable account of an exceptional personality. As an Africanist I was especially interested in Peter Strickland's activities on Goree island--he was a merchant there before becoming the first U.S. consul to Senegal, an unpaid position he held from 1883-1905--but other aspects of his life are equally interesting. His concern for common sailors in the merchant marine, for example, led him to publish a book to enlighten the public on their mistreatment.

Strickland kept a diary most of his life, and the author includes many excerpts to give us a flavor of his ideas in the context of his times. Along with a discussion of the primary sources on Strickland's life, he leaves us with the intriguing thought that some volumes of Strickland's diary are missing and could still turn up. If they do, they might add some details to his life, but they won't change the picture Stephen Grant has given us of a unique individual
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Format: Paperback
Child of New England, sailor on the high seas, merchant, consul to Senegal, author and memoirist - these are just some of the varied and fascinating aspects of Peter Strickland's life, as detailed in Stephen Grant's engaging story about a Victorian-era shipmaster who spent more than twenty years of his life living on Gorée, an African island fraught with the tragic history of the slave trade.

Grant not only tells a good tale, but he has made excellent use of a significant trove of historical materials in doing so, conducting extensive research on two continents, examining volumes of archival records and poring over Strickland's six decades of personal journals. Through this respected writer, the story of a man who started out as a cabin boy and came to represent the United States in an important outpost overseas is made both entertaining and informative. I highly recommend it to anybody interested in the era and in the twists and turns one's life can take.
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Format: Paperback
This book is not just a biography of Peter Strickland. It is a wonderful analysis of the United States genuine efforts to truly connect with French West Africa both commercially and diplomatically. Most people usually think of Anglophone Africa, in particular Liberia, when they think of the United States early commercial and political interests in the African Continent. In this compelling book Stephen Grant opened the door to the long forgotten or ignored efforts made by the US to truly and genuinely establish sincere diplomatic relations with many countries (although they were colonies)in French Africa. This is an analysis of the efforts which defined the roots of the United States modern diplomatic and economic relations with French West Africa. It is well written and very easy to read. I strongly recommend this book to everybody who is interested in learning about this history of modern US political and economic involvements with that part of the World.
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