The wisdom of the ages in one place Fri, 25 Feb 2011 06:05:50 +0000 en hourly 1 LATELY Fri, 25 Feb 2011 05:59:59 +0000 admin When I was a boy
the world was my dream.

It was
big enough for me.

Forty years on
my dream is the world,

wild surmise vanished
into stillness,

that mysterious world
a setting

for the gestures
of an ancient heart.

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ALL IN ITS PLACE Fri, 25 Feb 2011 05:51:31 +0000 admin
Suburban dandilions,
all weedy,
in rural meadows,
thick strewn
golden stars.

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Tomfoolery and Criminal Negligence Sun, 20 Feb 2011 22:21:19 +0000 admin The United States can’t really claim to be the pre-eminent global power anymore, but any politician who says so to help the nation face reality would be out of a job in a week.

Bad as that is: In this pass, the sort of jobs Americans consider middle class or professional are being thrown to the low-cost global provider.

Unless we face the music, we’re more or less guaranteed to be another Egypt. Even then, we’ve got our work cut out for us.

That may sound less than completely optimistic; but several things cropped up recently that make it hard to reach a different conclusion.

Take, for instance, the recent Deutsche Bourse/New York Stock Exchange deal, which creates the world’s largest public securities exchange. As it happens, it was no merger: The Germans bought 60 percent of the new company and its chairman is likewise German. When the deal passes muster with the regulators, Germany will own the New York Stock Exchange.

Later that same week, The Washington Post published a front-page story proving that as things stand, the interest on the national debt will quadruple in the next decade, soaking up not only most of the Federal budget, but most of the money that would otherwise finance productive job creation in this country.

Worse: Since most US Treasury securities are now owned by foreigners, most of the interest on those Treasuries–interest paid by US taxpayers–will go into overseas pockets.

Even worse: As rates on Treasuries rise, the value of the trillions of dollars in Treasuries bought since 2007 will fall, undermining the reserves of America’s pension funds, bond-based mutual funds, government accounts, and individual holdings. And it won’t just be Treasuries: All bond yields are set by Treasury yields–munis, corporates, mortgage-backed bonds and various derivatives will all be affected.

Icing on this steaming cake: About a week before that news, the International Monetary Fund called for replacing the US Dollar as the world’s reserve currency with Special Drawing Rights, a basket of currencies that it says would be more stable than the Dollar. A big reason for that move: The exploding cost of servicing our national debt. As and when this happens, the Dollar will drop in value like a stone.

Unfortunately for Republicans, they pretty much entirely created that debt.

It’s just facts: As a percentage of GDP, national debt fell under Jimmie Carter, exploded under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, shrank under Bill Clinton, and exploded again under George W. Bush.

It was all part of the right wing strategy to, in Grover Nordquist’s phrase, “Shrink (the government) down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Since it meant more money in their pockets, people bought into the idea, figuring that when push came to shove, it would all be painless.

How did that turn out? Now we’re like Russia–just another big country, feeling our way along, negotiation by negotiation.

We’re witnessing what Nordquist’s boast really meant today. And whether the result is the stronger, more vibrant America the Right expects, or the disaster predicted by the Left, is unimportant: Like it or not, the American People voted for this, the arithmetic is undeniable, and we need to deal with it as a nation and not a clutch of factions.

It’s in this pass that events bigger than we are are really driving things, because as we all know in our hearts, we’re in the midst of a historic transition to a new world, a transition as profound–maybe more profound–than the Industrial Revolution, driven by computers, modern telecommunications, and a unified global economy in which the nation state–any nation state–is economically obsolete.

Paddy Chayefsky put it in a nutshell in his brilliant movie, Network:

“You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples,” says a character. “There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no Third Worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems. One vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petrol dollars, electro dollars, multi dollars. Reichsmarks, rins, roubles, pounds and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today.”

And Network premiered in 1976.

Replacing the world we think we’re still living in is what a brilliant new book, The Global Auction, says is the reality of globalization; a world in which all work–from making flip-flops to defending the computers of global banks from cybercrime–goes to the low-cost provider, and devil take the hindmost.

In that world, a good education, highly-developed skills, a perfect CV, or personal connections mean less than what you’ll take in salary, because employers are being driven by institutional investors–themselves driven by actuarial tables and their contractual obligations to pensioners–to maximize profits no matter what and because the world’s supply of perfectly qualified job candidates is enormous.

This relentless phenomenon is already re-forming the cheapest labor markets. Chinese manufacturers, for instance, are shifting their factories from Eastern to Western China, just to widen their operating margins. And as The Global Auction ‘s authors point out, doctors in Singapore are outsourcing their X-Ray interpretation to India–with no loss in quality. This is no surprise, since both sets of doctors went to American universities.

In effect, this means America’s professional class has been atomized like a drop of oil thrown on the ocean. You tell me if the American Dream can stand up to that.

We’re already seeing this at work here. At my local supermarket, one of the part-time workers at the checkout line graduated from Cornell. He has an Ivy League education.

He also has $200,000 in debt, and since even the White House is beginning to admit that by orthodox analysis, it will take at least 5 years to soak up today’s unemployment, he can expect to default on his student loans unless his family pays them, after which he’ll find it hard to get work in a corporate world that runs credit checks on job candidates.

Just to cheer you up: That doesn’t even take into account a hypersonic pace of computer and software development that experts like Ray Kurzwell think will eventually allow machines to perform most every task people now assume can only be performed by humans–surgery, for instance.

If and when that happens, the idea of any human career at all will seem as quaint as earning a living making wagon wheels, taking with it the possibility of, for instance, saving for retirement, or supporting a consumer-based economy.

In other words, since many of the people demonstrating in Tahrir Square had advanced university degrees from Western universities, but no prospect of ever having a real career, what happened in Egypt is a peek at our future,

This is an unstable situation, and I’ll bet you all the money in my pocket against all the money in your pocket that the policy makers in this country know it, and that re-training professionals, pushing for universal education, and all the other nostrums they trot out when they’re forced to talk about this are built on the false premise that the future is going to be like the past, when the employment markets of the past were built on the obsolete idea of nation states and national employment markets. They say this even though they know better–mainly because we’re not prepared to listen.

In fact, we don’t even have a framework today for creating a policy to deal with this, much less a policy. And no politician can even advocate creating one, because it would mean saying out loud that America isn’t top dog anymore, and that our children don’t face a glorious future in which they’ll have a better life than we’ve had. Like I said earlier, any politician saying that out loud will be out of work in about a week.

This is true, even though there are compelling examples of how recognizing reality and acting accordingly can do great things.

For instance, in 1974 Henry Kissinger told Richard Nixon that America would never be stronger vis a vis China, and now was the time to cut a deal. Nixon flew to Beijing and laid the foundations of 40 years of peace and political stability. We may wish China hadn’t prospered quite so splendidly; but the alternative would have been worse, and we’d have had even less to say about it than we have had.

Can we find the wisdom to do something like that again? I don’t know, and I don’t know what the solution is.

I do know that what passes for politics and statesmanship in America today is closer to a Balinese shadow play than anything like the sort of hard-nosed idealism that America displayed after World War II.

And I know that if we keep playing footsie with the enormous forces loose in the world today, instead of acting like adults, we’ll bequeath precious little to our children and our children’s children.

The questions are: Are we grown up enough to face realty and build policy around the facts, or will we keep pretending this is 1955 and we have plenty of time to make attractive choices? And is this really a choice?

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Success, the Arts, and Honey Kassoy Sat, 12 Feb 2011 20:22:37 +0000 admin

 Honey Kassoy turns 94 this week. She’s the most successful artist I know.

 Not everybody’s heard of Honey, or of her late husband, Bernie. Like many truly excellent artists—she’s most importantly a sculptor, he was a painter–the marketplace largely passed them by and never gave either of them the recognition their work deserved.

 A crime? If anything, that snub by the Soho mob was probably the best thing that could have happened to either Honey or Bernie, because it freed them to bring their visions to the world without compromise. And that, my friends, is true success in art.

 People bamboozled by market success in our celebrity-soaked world may imagine otherwise, of course. To them, success in the arts is all about money, sparkling parties in sparkling lofts, and glowing reviews in The New Yorker.

 As any real artist, critic, or collector will tell you, though, that means nothing. If anything, it’s the opposite of success, because the market forces every human to meet its demands, or else. That compels artists to produce what sells—this week.

 I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with making money by making art. If anything, that’s a great success all by itself. And we all deserve to be paid for our work. But life is short and art is long, and if creating art is about immortality, then artists who produce only for the market are selling their birthright for a mess of pottage.

 In the early 19th Century, for instance, Jacques-Louis David made a fortune celebrating the French Revolution and Napoleon. But who is David today compared with J.M.W. Turner ? David set the tone for a century’s worth of French painters, sure; but it’s not much of a stretch to argue that Turner was art’s passageway from the Renaissance to Modernism. Yet in their day, David was the superstar.

 I’m not arguing that Honey is Turner. If nothing else, that’s history’s call. But Honey, respected by her peers but given a pass by the galleries, spent her life creating art by her own lights. Shakespeare put it best: Her eyes “…glance from heaven to earth/ from earth to heaven/ and, as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, / give to airy nothing a local habitation and a name.” And the same goes for Bernie.

 The result is art that can hold its own against any work I know. Look, for instance, at this sculpture by Honey called “The Women”,

and this untitled oil stick drawing by Bernie.

Do you see anything here that’s unequal to what you’d see at the Metropolitan Museum ? I don’t think so.

 If we’re on Earth for anything, it’s to perfect our selves and to give shape to what’s in us. Certainly, that’s the entire idea for artists. Honey and Bernie, freed from the distortions of the marketplace, gave birth to an entire body of work pure as they could make it, and a life built on creating it.  It’s up to the art world to recognize that, or not. But their work is there for anybody to see, and no one—and nothing—can take that away from them.

 Happy birthday, Honey.

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TAM Fri, 04 Feb 2011 18:25:59 +0000 admin TAM

When God was done with you
I closed your eyes
crossed your arms
and pulled over the sheet.

You would have
done it for me.

Still, you had no right
to leave a breach
that will never heal,
while I betray you
by living.

people trot out
the clichés:
In a better place;
finally at peace.

Lies of course,
but one:

You had to go,
and we are here.

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Click on this link to see my column archive at The Huffington Post Fri, 21 Jan 2011 04:21:35 +0000 admin

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Loosed Upon the Sea Thu, 20 Jan 2011 01:19:09 +0000 admin LOOSED UPON THE SEA

By Andrew Reinbach

On October 27, 1812, three American warships weighed anchor and sailed into history.

They bore fabled names: The 44-gun frigate USS Constitution, Commodore William Bainbridge commanding; the 32-gun frigate USS Essex, Captain David Porter in charge; and the USS Hornet, an 18-gun sloop, Master Commandant James Lawrence on the quarterdeck. The Constitution and the Hornet sailed in company from New York; the Essex sailed from Chesapeake Bay to join them.

Their orders: Attack.

American success in the Naval War of 1812 was at its flood. The British had drawn first blood by taking the 16-gun brig USS Nautilus in July, 1812. But in mid-August Porter and the Essex took the 18-gun HMS Alert; Alert had been hunting the Essex.  Later that August the Constitution, under Captain Isaac Hull, sank the HMS Guerriere, an aging 38-gun frigate. And in October the USS Wasp, the Hornet’s sister ship, took the HMS Frolic, an 18-gun sloop, off Bermuda. The Wasp was almost immediately captured by a 74-gun British ship-of-the-line, but all the Americans—or the British—could remember was that the Frolic had struck her colors.

American success threw Britain into an uproar. For fifty years, often against great odds, the Royal Navy had swept all before it. It had thrashed French fleets at the Nile, on the Glorious First of June, off Capes Trafalgar and St. Vincent, and in single-ship actions across the world’s oceans. By 1812 the French fleet was bottled up in Marseilles and Toulon in the Mediterranean, and in every French port on the English Channel. In England, it was an article of faith that the arrival of the Royal Navy meant victory.

How, believed the British, could it be otherwise? The American Navy was puny; eleven frigates—two unseaworthy–and 9 sloops and brigs, one of which, the Oneida, was on Lake Ontario. The Royal Navy, over 1,000 ships strong, had 245 frigates and 50-gun ships alone, and if most of the Navy was blockading the French fleet, the nation could certainly spare some ships to teach upstart Americans a lesson. To the typical English mind, it was—or should have been—merely a matter of issuing orders.

But what the American Navy lacked in numbers, it made up in other ways. American officers were the professional equal of their British opposites. American crews were paid volunteers serving limited enlistments; British crews were basically slaves—kidnapped from their hometown streets by press gangs and confined to their ships for eight years, by which time many were dead. And while the typical British frigate, built from traditional designs, carried 38 18-pound cannon, American frigates were superior–bigger, newer, stronger-built, and carrying 44 24-pound guns.

But to the British, these details bore little weight; to them, British naval superiority was a matter of fact. So the string of American naval victories was less a shock to the British mind than it was a challenge to the natural order. Their newspapers were filled with accusations of underhanded American behavior—about what could be expected from a race of mongrel rebels with nary a gentleman amongst them—and demands for revenge, and restoration of national honor. Thus began what amounted to a massive duel between the two officer corps, fought with ships instead of pistols.

The road to the duel was long and circumstantial. There was, for instance, the matter of professional honor. Officers of the Royal Navy certainly loved their country and had every reason for pride in their service, which had a long, storied tradition of service to the Crown, and for twenty years had been ranging the world’s oceans giving battle to Napoleon and Imperial France.

But American officers were just as proud. They had all been raised in post-Revolutionary America. To them, there was no difference between their nation and the cause of liberty, and this truth became more precious as Revolutionary France, which had shared those ideals, veered to anarchy, blood, and terror. Finally, France had accepted an Emperor. Looked at this way, the survival of America meant the survival of republican government and human liberty itself, so that glory or failure on the part of American officers could only reflect on that ideal.

That idea was magnified by the even greater awareness, in their parent’s generation, that they were creating a new thing under the sun; for the Founders, honor or disgrace, achievement or failure, meant the reification of the Revolutionary ideal, or its defeat. In this way, the achievements of Washington, of Adams, of Jefferson and Madison, were all of a piece with the country they had established, so that fame for them meant the persistence of their republic–of the freedom of mankind. Living up to that standard would have been a challenge for anyone; for young men, it must have been a constant spur to their own struggles to become themselves.

But for Bainbridge and Lawrence, it must have been much more; both were sons of Loyalists. Lawrence’s father had even been imprisoned for collaborating with the British, and later emigrated to Canada. James Lawrence had been raised in genteel poverty by his sisters, and later forsook study of the law to seek glory, and possibly redemption, at sea.

There was also the simple matter of national honor. In the 21st Century, honor is a vague, even quaint concept, although many could say otherwise; but in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, honor was a living thing, something that defined and carried one through life, something that could be lost, and must be defended. It was reputation, standing, the idea society held of who you were. Losing honor was very different from embarrassment: In the stratified society of the day, honor meant life itself; if it was lost, so was the life you’d known. And if for individuals losing one’s honor meant losing one’s place, for nations, always playing a rough game, lost honor meant disregard, insult, and, possibly, extinction, since no competitor would scruple to see how far they could go. Sooner or later, every nation had to fight—or else.

But in the years leading up to Madison’s declaration of war on June 18, 1812, America’s honor had been besmirched; France and Great Britain had batted her about like a gazelle chased by leopards. Simply put, America wanted to trade with both sides, but the antagonists wanted to keep supplies out of the hands of their enemies; the result was the sort of prolonged game of diplomatic chess in which both England and France had long experience, but at which Madison, and Jefferson before him, was hopelessly out of his depth. Both had imagined that the antagonists needed American goods more than the considerations of war; both were very wrong.

The result for the national honor—not to mention self-esteem–was discouraging and unprofitable. The original tool Madison tried for dealing with the problem—an embargo on the belligerents—was laughed at even by Americans, who continued trading with England even after war was declared. Certainly, a fair reading of the twists and turns on the road to the War of 1812 suggests that America could have as easily declared against France as England. But Madison hated England, so war with England it would be.

That hatred in the Madison’s heart was, in any event, well-earned. And if the Father of the Constitution had ever been in a forgiving mood, the Chesapeake-Leopard affair must have driven it clear away.

In 1807 the 50-gun HMS Leopard, looking for what it claimed were deserters, fired on the 38-gun USS Chesapeake for 12 to 18 minutes, within sight of American shores, then boarded her and took away three men–only one shot was fired in return. This genuine insult to the national dignity had almost ignited war between England and America, although President Jefferson, never a warlike man, allowed the occasion to drift away.

Jefferson’s inaction left American pride aboil. It also lit a slow-burning fuse that led to Stephen Decatur’s duel with Commodore James Barron, who had been court martialled and suspended from the service for his role in the affair. Decatur had been one of the officers who tried Barron.

So by 1812—thanks to the Chesapeake-Leopard affair, and the thousand diplomatic indignities poured upon her by France and Great Britain–America was spoiling for a fight. It was one reason why, the same day the expected news of war reached him, Commodore John Rogers and his squadron sailed without orders. And it was why the nation was so delirious with joy as news of one naval victory after another reached its ears.

So when Commodore Bainbridge and his little squadron sailed into the Atlantic that October morning, British confidence was shaken and anxious for a victory. And American pride was high.

American pride was not disappointed. Bainbridge, Lawrence, and Porter were gloriously victorious. Off Brazil, the Constitution defeated the HMS Java, a new frigate, in a beautifully-fought two-hour battle. The Java was so badly damaged that it had to be burned. And in a separate action fought about the same time, Lawrence and the Hornet sank—sank–the HMS Peacock, a ship of equal force, in 14 minutes.

Porter, meanwhile, missed Bainbridge at every appointed rendezvous, and British ships, searching for the Essex, blocked him from going home. So he sailed around Cape Horn and into the Pacific, where, for two years, he lived off the enemy while destroying the British whaling fleet. Practically as an after-thought, he annexed the Marquesas Islands in the western Pacific, where he’d sailed to re-fit. Finally, two British ships cornered the Essex off Valparaiso, Chile and, together, blew her to bits.

For the American blue-water Navy, the Bainbridge mission was the war’s apogee. By the middle of 1813 Lawrence had died in battle, America’s ocean-going ships were bottled up in harbor, and the naval war was being fought on the Great Lakes. By the time the Constitution and the Hornet managed to slip, individually, back to sea, the war was almost over.

In the years after the 1812 War, in the way life takes us sideways, the paths of Bainbridge and Porter diverged.

Bainbridge was rewarded for his victory; his orders were to build, and command, America’s first 74-gun ship-of-the-line, the USS Independence. He was supposed to have sailed it against the Barbary Pirates in 1815—with Britain and half of Europe in a struggle with Napoleon to the death, piracy had flared again. Decatur was serving beneath him in the frigate USS Ontario. But a series of delays kept Bainbridge in port, and Decatur sailed first. Once in the Mediterranean, Decatur should have waited for Bainbridge, but he didn’t; and Decatur settled the Barbary Pirate’s hash, and harvested the glory.

Thereafter, Bainbridge served most of his days in Washington as the nation’s second most-senior naval officer, and a member of the Naval Board, overseeing the Navy’s day-to-day operations. His reputation was later enshadowed by suspicions that he had encouraged the 1821 duel between Decatur and James Barron; aside from the blot on his name from the Chesapeake/Leopard affair, Barron had been unable—too poor, in fact–to return from Europe to fight in the War of 1812, and for that he’d earned the scorn of the Navy. Barron blamed Decatur for his troubles, and Decatur died that day.

After the War Porter was sent to put down piracy in the Caribbean. He excelled, as he always did; but in his zeal he also invaded Puerto Rico–to chastise a village that had insulted some of his men–and he was court martialled for it. Since his actions threatened negotiations over Florida between Spain and the United States, a court martial was inevitable, whether Porter was justified or not. He resigned his commission, served awhile as Admiral of the Mexican Navy, and was eventually re-instated. Finally, he served for many years as Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, and died in his villa overlooking the Bosphorus.

It was Lawrence who fared best. Dying young and gloriously in battle, and uttering what became the Navy’s motto—“Don’t give up the ship”—Lawrence’s legend, unsullied by  the missteps life leads us to, grew with his country, until he became the beau ideal of the American naval officer. By 1847, his reputation had so enlarged that when his headstone in Trinity Churchyard, New York, eroded, a flood of donations paid for one of the largest tombs in that mellow and gracious plot. It lies just south of the main doors, surrounded by cannon. So does death favor those of us who remain always young and covered in glory.

The War of 1812 was no triumph for America. Many historians say it was the only war she ever lost, and certainly, the United States barely emerged intact; by the end of the war, Great Britain had annexed northern Maine, held the Northwest Territories, and held the entire American coast under blockade. New England was on the verge of secession.

The original casus belli—free trade, and an end to British impressment of American sailors—weren’t even mentioned in the Treaty of Ghent. The only reason Great Britain didn’t press the war following Napoleon’s defeat was because, offered overall command, the Duke of Wellington declined–he thought the United States was too thinly-settled to re-conquer. And there was the fact that England, after 20 years of world war, was exhausted and didn’t need the distraction. So the final settlement returned matters to the status quo ante bellum.

But for a brief, glorious moment, Bainbridge, Porter, Lawrence, their fellow officers, and the men of the United States Navy bloodied the nose of the world’s greatest naval power, and drove their former colonial masters to distraction. While they did so, they showed the world that America would—and could—fight. America’s honor was redeemed. And the nation sailed to its destiny.



LOOSED UPON THE SEA: The US Navy’s greatest mission in the Age of Fighting Sail.

  1. Preface sketches overall story.
  2. Prologue—In 1805, the US Navy fights the Barbary Pirates off Tripoli, commanded by Edward Preble; Preble sets the tone for the US Navy’s officer corps. The surrender and subsequent burning of the frigate USS Philadelphia joins William Bainbridge, James Lawrence and David Porter by fate; Eaton’s march on Tripoli.
  3. Biographical sketches of these men leading up to the War:

A. William Bainbridge.

B. James Lawrence

C. David Porter

  1. Road to War of 1812; America between the wars, Jefferson’s abandonment of the Navy, how Madison lurched into war after the maneuvering of England and France during the Napoleonic Wars. The resurrection of the US Navy in the years leading up to 1812, and after the USS Chesapeake/HMS Leopard incident.
  2. Descriptions and discussion of USS Constitution, USS Essex, USS Hornet, including construction, armaments, and what it was like aboard them. The life of sailors in the Age of Sail.
  3. War of 1812 begins.
    1. Comparison of US and Royal Navy—US ships bigger with more guns; US crews paid volunteers, British crews largely pressed men (slaves); officer corps comparable.
    2. Early US Navy successes: USS Essex v. HMS Alert; USS Constitution v HMS Guerriere; USS United States v. HMS Macedonian; USS Enterprize v. HMS Boxer; USS Wasp v. HMS Frolic.
    3. Bainbridge and Charles Stewart lobby Secretary of the Navy, Madison, and the Cabinet, and reverse Navy’s original defensive strategy—keeping the Navy in harbor as defense–in favor of cruising squadrons, attacking the British.
    4. Bainbridge receives orders from Hamilton.

1. Bainbridge’s intentions—letters to and from William Jones (friend)

  1. Bainbridge and Lawrence sail from New York, cruise off Brazil.
  2. Porter sails from Chesapeake Bay, misses Bainbridge in the Atlantic.
  3. Bainbridge, Lawrence, and HMS Bon Citoyenne, which carried $2.5 million in silver. Bon Citoyenne’s captain refuses to fight, gives various excuses.        
  4. Bainbridge sails away to remove the excuses of Bon Citoyenne’s captain, and give Lawrence a chance at an even fight (not to mention the silver and the prize money) with that ship. Bainbridge encounters and sinks HMS Java in a 2-hour fight, sails for New York.
  5. Forced to abandon Bon Citoyenne, Lawrence cruises the Brazilian coast, encounters HMS Peacock, and sinks her in 14 minutes. Sails for New York.

A. Lawrence praised by his prisoners, lionized in NYC, assigned to Constitution, then re-assigned to the bad-luck ship of the Navy, the USS Chesapeake.

B. Bainbridge lionized in NYC, given Navy’s first 74-gun ship-of-the-line to build and then command. This takes the rest of the War..

  1. Porter, pursued by British Navy in South Atlantic, sails into Pacific; in two years, living off the enemy, destroys British whaling fleet; annexes Marquesas; finally cornered by two Royal Navy ships, and Essex destroyed, in Valpariso. Returns to NYC in late 1814. Lionized.
  2. Back in the US, the US Navy is bottled up in harbor by the Royal Navy’s blockade of the US coast. After mid-1813, there are no significant US actions on the ocean until the war is near its end, although there are great and decisive US victories on Lake Erie (Perry) and Lake Champlain (MacDonough).
  3. War settled in Ghent; Wellington declines command because, he says, the War is not winnable; but basically, after 20 years fighting Napoleon, the British had better things to do than keep fighting us.
  4. Sequels;
    1. Lawrence killed off Boston in fight with HMS Shannon; buried with full military honors (wraped in his flag, and with his sword) by British in Halifax; Lawrence’s body returns to US, buried in Salem, Mass.; body then returned to NYC, buried in Trinity Churchyard; massive new tomb raised in 1847.
    2. Bainbridge sent to Mediterranean to finally defeat the Barbary Pirates, but delayed by friends of Decatur, who gets there first and gets the credit for defeating the Barbary States. Falling out of former friends. Possible complicity of Bainbridge in Decatur’s death in a duel with Capt. James Barron. Serves most of his life in Washington as a senior officer.
    3. Porter sent to Key West to fight Caribbean pirates. Court martialled over a punishment mission in Puerto Rico (Spanish territory). Resigns US commission, takes command of Mexican Navy. Eventually restored to rank, named US Ambassador to Ottoman Empire, and serves there rest of his life.

     XVI. Epilogue.



This is a book about naval warfare in the Age of Sail–more specifically, in its most romantic phase, the Napoleonic Wars. 

Age of Sail books are a strong niche market, best represented in fiction by Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series and C.S. Forester’s Hornblower books. There’s also plenty of non-fiction books that have sold well, including Ian Toll’s SIX FRIGATES (recently issued in paperback), not to mention a long list of biographies issued by The Naval Institute.

 In my opinion, the strongest marketing strategy would be to sell this book to the US Navy and Naval buffs.


 Total US Navy:  5.5 million


Active Duty:  331,974
Ready Reserve:  119,735
Selected Reserves:  67,334
Individual Ready Reserves:  52,401

 RETIRED NAVAL PERSONNEL (Source: Veteran’s Administration)



279 ships in US Navy


Members of other English-speaking Navies.

Readers of Hornblower and Aubrey/Maturin (Patrick O’Brian) series, also Bolitho and Captain Hazard series. (Totals a trade secret)

The best proxy for total realistic sales is probably the sales of SEVEN FRIGATES by Ian Toll (Trade secret), and/or the membership of the US Naval Institute.

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