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The Admiral and the Ambassador: One Man's Obsessive Search for the Body of John Paul Jones Hardcover – May 1, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Publishers Weekly--March 3, 2014
Journalist Martelle (Detroit: A Biography) tells the fascinating "historical detective story" of how Gen. Horace Porter, United States ambassador to France from 1897 to 1905, directed a long, complicated effort to discover the forgotten final resting place in Paris of the legendary U.S. Navy hero John Paul Jones, who died there in 1792. ... Martelle's well-written and well-researched narrative focuses on Porter's complicated five-year quest to find Jones's burial site and the machinations required to get the body back home.

"Well-written and well-researched narrative."  —Publishers Weekly

“Part detective story, part Indiana Jones, Martelle takes readers on a splendid and sometimes macabre journey. . . .” —Matthew Algeo, author of Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure

“A delightfully creative slice of the American history pie.” —Dean King, author of Skeletons on the Zahara and Patrick O’Brian: A Life

“[A] fascinating history. . . .” —Nicholas Nicastro, author of The Eighteenth Captain: A Novel of John Paul Jones

"Martelle’s account of the efforts to find Jones’ body and of the man chiefly responsible for it, is fascinating and thorough.  He manages to incorporate many interesting anecdotes and historical details along the way, all of which add color and texture to the tale, and it’s a tale worth reading." —What Would the Founders Think

"[Martelle] effectively connects the dots between Jones’ naval career and somewhat star-crossed life and Porter’s solid military and political accomplishments. Using a “flashback”-type writing style, Martelle skillfully manages to introduce the reader to both men, giving us an understanding of each others’ strengths, weaknesses, and major life events." —Cannonball



"Really enjoyed the Hell out of this book. A fine read for history buffs and lovers of a good political mystery." —The Mystery Spot



"[W]hat we have is newspaper reporter Scott Martelle’s compact slice of American history wrapped in what newspaper editors like to describe as: “A darn good yarn.” That’s editor shorthand for an insignificant story that is highly entertaining – a good read." —Buffalo News



"A fast paced and engaging story about the discovery of Jones' burial site...Martelle's narrative on the discovery process is informative as is his discussion of Porter's life." —Naval History

From the Author

As a veteran journalist, I've long been drawn to overlooked narratives from the past. In this case, a magazine article questioning the identity of the body sealed up in the John Paul Jones sarcophagus at Annapolis led me to the intriguing story about the search for the admiral's body more than a century ago in Paris.

The frame of the story invariably shows up in the final chapters of Jones biographies. But I was more curious about Ambassador Horace Porter, the man who put his own fortune behind the expensive search to try to find and recover Jones's body (and yes, I believe he found the right one). The lives of Jones and Porter, I realized as I dug into the research, cover large swaths of American history, from the Revolution to the Civil War to the nation's emergence as an industrial power and then a world power with the 1898 Spanish-American War.

But it also is a story involving fascinating characters, from Jones, the Scottish gardener's son who, in some eyes, was the creative force behind the US Navy, to Porter, a Civil War hero who moved among the upper reaches of American industrialism and politics. It touches on presidents Ulysses S. Grant (Porter was an aide in both the war and the White House), William McKinley (Porter raised millions in the campaign to get him elected), and Teddy Roosevelt (under whose administration Jones's body was finally discovered and moved to the US Naval Academy, where it now rests).

I hope you find it as intriguing to read as I found it to write.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; 1St Edition edition (May 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613747306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613747308
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,093,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Find details about author and journalist Scott Martelle, an editorial writer for the Los Angeles Times, at his website, www.scottmartelle.com, where he also occasionally blogs.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chaptal on June 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Finding grave sites of American historical figures, prominent and obscure, are a part of what makes me tick. What happened to Admiral John Paul Jones after he died in Paris is a story that Scott Martelle reveals in his book, The Admiral and the Ambassador: One Man's Obsessive Search for the Body of John Paul Jones. The man who searched for the body is Horace Porter, an American businessman and confidant of many political figures of the day who eventually becomes the U.S Ambassador to France during the Mckinley administration.

Martelle weaves a fascinating mystery the involves the Revolutionary War, Paris during their revolution and advances to the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and the McKinley assassination. All of which had minor and major roles in the burial, disappearance and eventual recovery of the bones of John Paul Jones.

The research is top notch and the story breezes along, like a good mystery should. There's a lot of depth to the main characters involved. You get a real feel for the life Porter had as an Ambassador and the lives diplomats led during that era. The story does not bore, but pulls you in. You know the body is going to be found but how, and when?

Really enjoyed the heck out of this book. A fine read for history buffs and lovers of a good political mystery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joan Marsan Murphine on May 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I chose this rating because I came home from a Book signing featuring Scott Martelle and his latest The Admiral and the Ambassador clutched in my hands. I knew I was in for a good read, but I had no idea how good. An unlikely title with unlikely subject matter. Three hours after my arrival back home I put the book down for the first time. It is over. I don't want to put the book down it is a thriller within a thriller. One man's obsessive search for the body of John Paul Jones sounds simple enough. But don't you believe it. There is so much meat you don't need potatoes. Take time to look at the notes on sourcing on the final pages and pay attention to the Notes. You will want to read the book again.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm well-versed on Admiral Rickover, “Father of the Nuclear Navy” . . . but I'll admit that I was ignorant on the history of the “Father of the American Navy” until I read Scott Martelle’s book . . . a broad yet concise history of John Paul Jones, his body, and Ambassador Horace Porter.
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