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Rebels at Sea
- Privateering in the American Revolution
- Narrated by: Eric Jason Martin
- Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
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The heroic story of the founding of the US Navy during the Revolution has been told many times, yet largely missing from maritime histories of America's first war is the ragtag fleet of private vessels that truly revealed the new nation's character—above all, its ambition and entrepreneurial ethos.
In Rebels at Sea, Eric Jay Dolin corrects that significant omission, and contends that privateers, as they were called, were in fact critical to the American victory. Privateers were privately owned vessels that were granted permission by the new government to seize British merchantmen and men of war. As Dolin stirringly demonstrates, at a time when the young Continental Navy numbered no more than about sixty vessels, privateers rushed to fill the gaps. Nearly 2,000 set sail over the course of the war, with tens of thousands of Americans serving on them and capturing some 1,800 British ships.
Some Americans viewed these men as cynical opportunists whose only aim was loot. Yet Dolin shows that privateersmen were as patriotic as their fellow Americans, and moreover that they greatly contributed to the war's success: diverting critical British resources to protecting their shipping, providing much-needed supplies at home, and bolstering the new nation's confidence that it might actually defeat the most powerful military force in the world.
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- Bill Robinson
This is part of the history of the revolution I’d not really known. This was a great book.
- Toby Everett
If you can get over the narrator...
I almost stopped listening after suffering a minute or two of the narration. Over enunciation is a pox upon otherwise good audio books. I got over it enough to listen to the whole book, though I remain on guard against suffering through another similar performance. The story itself is a good general account of privateering in the American Revolution - but not great. Apparently there is not enough information in archives to be able to really flesh out the story so the writer tosses in a few examples from 1812 and even the American Civil War. If you already have some knowledge of this subject you might want to skip this as it is about as shallow as a Discovery Channel documentary.