Thursday, October 3, 2013

An Interesting Book - Confederate Commerce Raider Shenandoah

I have been listening to the Audio Book of John Baldwin's "Last Flag Down" about the CSS Shenandoah. The Shenandoah was a commerce raider that was secretly launched in 1864 and was the last Confederate ship operating at the end of the war in 1865. The book is based off of the officer's log books and diaries of the men who served on her as well as corroborating evidence from outside sources.

The book has proved to be interesting to listen to but a bit dry. Much of it is direct quotations from Lieutenant Wittle's logs. Since the ship was a commerce raider and not a proper ship of war, the captures of Union flagged vessels, so far at least, has been a bit on the slow side - action wise. On the plus side, this has been a book that has not prompted me to rush out to buy figures in order to try to replicate it. :)

I am just over a third of the way through the book so far. I am mainly listening on the way too and from work so it is taking me longer to get through this than other books.

What the book does offer is an interesting insights into daily operations and maintenance of sailing ships. From caulking decks and other maintenance chores it paints a vivid picture of how hazardous sea duty really was. The description of passing Africa around the Cape of Good Hope and the violent seas that the ship encountered made me appreciate the toughness of the mariners of the days of sail.

Anyway, it is worth getting from the library and giving it a good listen/read once. This will not be one of those books I will go back to at a later date. But still worth reading.

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