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Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, The U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 Paperback – October 26, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
There were unprecedented logistical tasks in assembling the expedition, which at its start consisted of six ships and 346 men (including nine scientists). Senior officers had trouble putting the expedition together, and the Navy gave the task to the forty-year-old Lieutenant Wilkes. Philbrick writes, "Wilkes was a great man. But he was also vain, impulsive, and often cruel." He took offense easily, and would not be placated by offenders. He remained aloof from his officers. When things went wrong, he was quick to assume that his men had been incompetent or malevolent. Philbrick concludes that a more self-confident and capable leader probably would not have brought the expedition greater success, although it could have brought greater on-board contentment and post-expedition fame.Read more ›
I read this author's In the Heart of the Sea (Excellent!), and became interested in the seafaring genre and can also recommend Batavia's Graveyard (riveting) and the Pirate Hunter.
The book is comprehensive and chronological, starting with the intial concepts of the exploratory expedition which were cooked up by some very whacky people, including one who thought that at the south pole there would be a giant cave entrance to the middle of the earth! The tale then progresses in a manner that mirrors the nation's rise in scientific, technological, and military prowess. The exploratory expedition was itself intended to announce to the world that the U.S. could master the domain of the European powers of the day, specifically the naval power, expansionism, and spirit of discovery enshrined in the voyages of exploration to the last ends of the Earth. The voyage itself spurred the nation to develop the scientific and naval capabilities that helped to solidify the national character.
The voyage was headed by a strong willed, intelligent, but ultimately paranoid and cruel martinet. The contrast between his fortitude to keep the expedition moving forward and his capricious capacity for punishment, as told by the junior officers who had to walk the line between following orders and preventing desertion and mutiny among the ranks, was very interesting and well expressed by the author. This was the backdrop for a years long voyage that was at times both gruelling and exhilirating.Read more ›
"Sea of Glory" is truly a spectacular rendition of events, as Philbrick portrays the deterioration of the relationship between Commander and his men, while journeying through some of most inhospitable seas in the world. Wilkes comes across as a near megalomaniac and odious character (almost immediately after beginning the expedition, he promoted himself Captain!), belittling the achievements of his underlings and inflating his own. It is a miracle that he was succeeded in bringing the expedition home largely unscathed. Nor does the story end there. The final chapters reveal the trials and tribulations of Wilkes (and other members of the expedition) as he realizes that he may be held accountable for his actions. Upon return of the expedition, there were no fewer than 5 court martials involving Wilkes and officers of the vessels comprising the expedition, largely petty incidents raised by Wilkes as revenge for perceived slights by the officers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is amazing. I learned so much that I had never even heard about!Published 17 hours ago by Sue C. Ostergard
I have enjoyed all Philbrick's books and this one is no exception. The story and characters are sharply drawn, excellent prose and the narrative is as engaging as a great novel. Read morePublished 1 month ago by wsk
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book about a period of American history, and an expedition I knew nothing about. Read morePublished 1 month ago by jf861274
A thoroughly enjoyable read. The descriptive writing was so vidid, I felt if I could almost feel the ocean spray and smell the fear of the men battling the roaring sea. Read morePublished 1 month ago by cheryl kell
Excellent writing and well researched. One of my favorite authors. A bit tedious at the end.Published 1 month ago by D. E. West
Non fiction, historical, survival, amazing exciting story. One of my all time favorite books at 63 years old.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
At age 71, a history buff all my life, I thought I knew something about everything really important that happened in America since colonial times. Read morePublished 2 months ago by William E. Adams
Very good story of which the majority of people have never heard of Worth the readPublished 2 months ago by john a parilla
Amazingly researched, just a little dry for a book of the ocean.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer